For years I’ve been trying to replace the noxious weeds in the field across our lane with native flowers. Every spring and summer I dutifully whack down as much of the Italian thistle, wild wheat and mustard as I can, and every fall I seed with golden poppies (Eschscholzia californica), desert bluebells (Phacelia campanularia) and tidy tips (Layia platyglossa).

And every spring that follows the weeds return.

This year, however, it might be different. Winter started wet but went dry for most of the season so all of those weeds got their start, but then died back (I whacked some too). In late February and early March we got a good amount of rain and suddenly, the native began to show. The poppies are just beginning to flower and the tidy tips, while not flowering yet look to have a number plants coming up behind. The bluebells are small and shy, but I hope they’ll show as well.

There’s still patches of wheat and thistle, but barely a mustard plant to be found. Maybe this is the year the natives finally get the upper leaf. I certainly hope so anyway. The noxious weeds aren’t just nasty, they’re also fuel for fire in the summer and fall.

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