After a rather dismal spring wildflower season for 2012, I began awaiting the arrival of some of my favorite late season blooms. This year has had sparse rainfall, and precious few sunny days during spring, which really seemed to curtail the blooming of the open meadow varieties. The melancholy conditions made it a disappointing season for me compared to past years, and that in turn made for some boring and disappointing hikes. I began looking forward toward the end of spring when I could then begin to seek out the early summer offerings, which seem relatively unaffected by less than optimal conditions of spring.
Mariposa Lilies began showing up in early June. I have many favorite spots to look for those, but Henry Coe tops my list for Mariposas mainly for the variety of the colors (photoset here) . During the past few weeks I have been hunting around for another post-spring favorite. I’ve been looking in some familiar places where I expect to see them, and also searching out new possibilities as well, but week after week only seeing the un-bloomed pods of sleeping tigers. Tiger Lilies have an unmistakable leaf structure which makes them noticeable even before they begin to show their colors. After spotting the sprouting plants with their characteristic blade-like leaves in radius around tall stalks, they soon begin to droop over and show pods. But for weeks they slept and slept. Now they are just beginning to awaken to display their vivid ornamentation. They like the moist areas around creeks and marshy areas with filtered light from high trees, and have a knack for displaying in precarious places. I usually carry some water shoes to get photos, but they can be found in many areas near trails as well. My most recent photos are from Pescadero Creek, in the county park of the same name, and from Opal Creek in Big Basin. These are just a couple of places where I have found them before. They make a good excuse for some hiking around the right kind of riparian areas and now is a great time to find some. The tiger photoset also had some other findings.