Erika’s Poppies

Photographer Erika St. John captured these images on the south margin of the park. They illustrate some of the diversity of this familiar flower. There are pale, cream-colored ones, pink ones, the common orange ones, and two tones of a deep orange-red.

California Poppies grace many a garden these days, but they remain rare in the park. There’s just a few spots where they’ve established themselves. The reason they’re not blanketing the meadows here, the way they can do if given a chance, is that our Ground Squirrels find the baby poppy sprouts wildly delicious and irresistible. With the help of Cal students, Chavez Park Conservancy volunteers planted hundreds of poppy seeds in a strip along the southeast edge of the park (“Seeds of Beauty,” Oct. 26 2019) and they sprouted vigorously, but the squirrels chewed them right down to the ground. Only one made it to the flowering stage in that area a week ago, and then Parks maintenance came along and mowed it down.

Thanks for sharing these images, Erika!

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