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Wildflowers are popping into view all over Northern California

Please note that outdoor eventsare subject to weather conditionsand may change without notice.Visitors should call ahead. Note alsothat parks and other sites maycharge entrance or parking fees,and groups may charge for guidedtours.

Events

Wildflower Weekend

10 a.m.-4 p.m. April 16-17

Crawford's Barn, 2715 Tiber Drive, Sacramento

Details: See wildflower displays from various plant communities of California, including prairie, chaparral, freshwater marsh, oak woodland and more. Plants, seeds, gifts and refreshments will be available. Sponsored by the Sacramento Valley chapter of the California Native Plants Society.

Information: www.sacvalleycnps.org

Wildflower Day

9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. April 2

Pacheco State Park, east of Hollister in Merced County

Details: Enjoy nature hikes, both self-guided and led by docents, on this former ranch

Information: (209) 826-1196; www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=560

Wildflower Show

10 a.m.-4 p.m. April 23-24

Mission College, Hospitality Management Building, 3000 Mission College Blvd., Santa Clara

Details: A two-day showcase of more than 400 species of wildflowers and other native plants of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. Seeds and wildflower-related gifts on sale. Organized by the Santa Clara Valley Chapter of the California Native Plant Society.

Information: (650) 691-9749; www.cnps-scv.org, gstigall@aol.com

Walks

Sierra Club hikes: The Mother Lode chapter offers several hikes that focus on wildflowers, including trips through South Yuba River State Park, Upper Cache Creek and Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve. They vary in location, length, difficulty, meeting place and contact information. View the full schedule at motherlode.sierraclub.org/outings.html.

California Native Plants Society hikes: The Napa chapter will host wildflower hikes in Solano and Napa counties on Saturdays through June 4. Each hike explores a different area and has a different coordinator and starting time. Visit www.sacbee.com/wildflowers for more information. To find a CNPS chapter in your area, visit www.cnps.org.

Pine Hill Preserve

7 a.m. to noon April 16 and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 7 (Cameron Park unit), April 23 (Pine Hill unit), April 30 and May 14 (Salmon Falls unit).

This preserve centers on Green Valley Road in western El Dorado County.

Details: The April 16 tour will feature birds and the May 14 tour will focus on geology. The preserve covers nearly 4,000 acres, and its "gabbro" soil nourishes a wide variety of plants.

Information: (916) 985-4474; www.pinehillpreserve.org

Lake Berryessa

10 a.m. April 9 and 30

The lake is 70 miles northeast of San Francisco and 40 miles west of Sacramento. Nearest towns: Napa and Winters.

Details: Tours meet at the trail-head, two miles north of the visitors center at 5520 Knoxville Road.

Information: (707) 966-2111, ext. 112

Mount Diablo State Park

10 a.m. to about 2 p.m. April 9

The park is near Danville in the East Bay.

Details: Take a leisurely, four-mile walk along Mitchell Creek to see wildflowers. Parking costs $3.

Information: (925) 945-6068; www.mdia.org

Muir Woods National Monument

10 a.m.-2 p.m. March 26 and April 9

The monument is north of the Golden Gate Bridge on Highway 1.

Details: A somewhat strenuous, five-mile wildflower hike in the redwood preserve in Mill Valley. Meets at the Visitor Center. Reservations required.

Information: (415) 388-2595, www.nps.gov/muwo

Mount Tamalpais State Park

9:30 a.m. April 2, 16, 30

The park is in Marin County north of San Francisco.

Details: Wildflower walks in this park are moderately paced, cover five to seven miles and may have up to a 1,500-foot elevation gain. The April 2 walk will include botanist guides and the April 16 walk will be more leisurely. Bring lunch and water.

Information: (415) 258-2410; www.mttam.net

Point Reyes National Seashore

9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. March 26 (Kehoe Beach and Abbotts Lagoon); 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 9, 16 and 23 (Point Reyes Headlands)

Point Reyes is 22 miles north of San Francisco on Highway 1.

Details: Explore the wildflowers of Kehoe Beach and Abbotts Lagoon on a three-mile walk March 26, or check out the flora of the bluffs, slopes and dunes during the April hikes. $55, $53 for nonmembers; $47, $44 for members.

Information: (415) 663-1200; www.ptreyes.org/field/fsnat.html

Edgewood County Park

10 a.m. to about 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through June 12

The park is in Redwood City between Interstate 280, Edgewood Road and the Emerald Hills neighborhood.

Details: Wildflower walks through the serpentine grasslands cover less than three miles at a slow-to-medium pace with frequent stops.

Information: (650) 368-6283, (866) 463-3439, www.friendsofedgewood.org

Henry W. Coe State Park

11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sundays through the end of May

The park is east of Morgan Hill, which is about 15 miles south of San Jose on Highway 101.

Details: Park volunteers lead leisurely wildflower strolls that cover less than two miles and last about two hours.

Information: (408) 779-2728, www.coepark.org

Places

Daffodil Hill: OK, so they aren't exactly wild, but this display of sunny spring flowers puts some gold in Gold Country. The daffodil and tulip bulbs planted on the McLaughlin family farm produce about 300,000 blooms a year, usually between mid-March and mid-April. About 12 miles from Sutter Creek in Amador County. Free. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information: (209)296-7048; www.amadorcountychamber.com/OnlineVisitorsGuide/FlowerFarms.html

Sutter Buttes: The Middle Mountain Foundation offers wildflower and plant hikes through the buttes. The hikes now scheduled for April and May are wait-list only; visit www.middlemountain.org or call (530) 671-6116 for information on future hikes. The cost is $35 for hikes that run from 8:30 a.m. to about 3:30 p.m.

Bear Valley Ranch, Colusa: Along with the familiar lupine and poppy, wildflowers such as owlclover, cat's ear and tidytip can be enjoyed from Bear Valley Road and other public byways. The ranch itself is closed to the public. Keep an eye out for the rare adobe lily.

Local ranch owner Jim Keegan offers wildflower tours. For more information: (707) 998-4471; www.rangelandtrust.org/Bear%20Valley%202.htm.

The Mother Lode chapter of the Sierra Club will sponsor a wildflower photography car tour of Bear Valley April 2. All levels of photography experience are welcome. The group meets at 7:30 a.m. at 11th and P streets. For more information: (916) 455-3190 or e-mail RonMaertz@sbcglobal.net.

Yosemite National Park: The park hosts many wildflower-related events throughout the spring and summer, including seminars, hikes for journal-keepers and photographers and tours of specific areas of the park. They range from $80-$225. For more information: (209) 379-2646; www.yosemite.org

The Jepson Herbarium: The University of California, Berkeley, conducts seminars for those with a scientific bent, with botanical programs held in the field as well as flower macrophotography and painting classes. For more information: ucjeps.berkeley.edu/workshop_toc_5.html.

Other parks: Many local, state and national parks offer guided walks and hikes for wildflower enthusiasts. Check out www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=23380 for a list of wildflower attractions and events in state parks.

The National Parks Service maintains a "Celebrating Wildflowers" site (www.nps.gov/plants/cw). Links to national parks in California can be found at data2.itc.nps.gov/parksearch/state.cfm?st=ca.

Regional parks in the East Bay offer several wildflower walks throughout the spring. Check out www.ebparks.org/activities/wildflower_hikes.htm.

Regional parks in Sonoma County will host a series of wildflower walks on Saturdays through June. Dates, locations, times and meeting places vary. For more information: (707) 565-2041; www.sonoma-county.org/parks.


For more information

California Native Plants Society: www.cnps.org

Sierra Club, Mother Lode Chapter: motherlode.sierraclub.org

California Native Plants Society, Sacramento Valley Chapter Hotline: (916) 737-WILD (9453)

Wildflower season starts later in the mountains. Visit www.sequoiahistory.org for wildflower seminars starting in late April at Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks.

Heavy rains in Southern California this winter gave way to a spectacular season for wildflowers. If you're headed that way, you'll find wildflower updates from the Theodore Payne Foundation (www.theodorepayne.org/hotline.html, 818-768-3533) and guides to the flora of Kern, Inyo and Tulare counties from "Nature Ali" (www.natureali.org/2005_wildflower_report.htm).

Those traveling even farther afield can check out a calendar of wildflower events nationwide at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Web site, www.wildflower.org.

The Native Plants Information Network (www.wildflower2.org) offers a wealth of resources: databases, pictures, bibliographies, organizations and more.

Call to readers

Share the flowers

If you know of other special places to enjoy wildflower blooms, please share them (including photos) at www.sacbee.com/wildflowers.

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