The dark side of beauty…seasonal allergy at its worst!

I have been humbled.

In my last post I very enthusiastically shared about early signs of spring with photos of showy, colorful flowers and grasses from my weekly trips to a local garden.

Maybe I had a heightened sense of “good for me”–I’m enjoying spring!

That wasn’t my intention, but now that I’m suffering from seasonal allergies, which, by the way, have hit me with symptoms beyond any I’ve experienced in quite some time, I’m thinking that spring has a down side. Pollen counts are very high in my area.

Did you know there is an actual PollenCast website that offers pollen count alerts? f If you’re suffering as I am, click HERE to get an accurate local pollen count for your community.

So I’m on temporary hold for garden tours.

But I can still admire the beauty of our state flower, the California Poppy, which, as a side note, despite being my favorite wildflower, is listed as a known contributor to the seasonal pollen count. Seems a little ironic.

Henry Evans linoleum block print

This colorful California Poppy is a linoleum block print, part of a current Huntington Library exhibit devoted to the appreciation of California’s wildflowers. This Henry Evans print (1918-1990) is part of the more than 300 drawings, paintings and herbarium specimens on display.

The exhibit is called “When They Were Wild,” inspired by specimen-gathering artists collecting wildflowers that at the time weren’t even in domestication, then documenting their findings with artful illustration.

On show were beautiful works of art representing many different wildflowers, but I paid particular attention to my favorite, the bright orange California Poppy. It is such a happy flower!

This is a colorful and really interesting exhibit for anyone interested in learning a bit more about our native botanicals.

As a collaboration between The Huntington, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont and Theodore Payne Foundation, the heritage of wildflower illustrations from the late 19th century to mid 20th century  showcases the fieldwork contributions of wildflower enthusiasts. Field studies served as valuable research with the artist’s illustrations often accompanying a pressed flower or gathering of seeds that were of historical value to horticultural societies.

One goal of the exhibit is to inspire people to consider adding more wildflowers or other native plants to their home landscaping. The exhibit is spotlighting the wildflowers best suited for gardens within a 50-mile radius of the Huntington.

The Huntington has many wildflower related events right now, but I’m at least temporarily sidelined. I may need to steer clear.

The editor of the Pacific Horticulture magazine was quoted in today’s Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times stating gardeners are attracted to wildflowers because they are “pollen and nectar rich and valuable for sustaining pollinators, which have taken such a hit in the modern world.”

It’s the pollen part of the equation that’s giving me a hard time.

So while I’m taking a brief garden break, maybe it’s time for me to share about some outings I’ve had on the back burner.

Where is this?

Here’s where we’re going next. Any ideas? It’s not as beautiful as the wildflowers, but you may find it much more interesting. Many do…and it’s very unlikely to produce any allergic reactions.

Curious? Feel free to share your guess!