WHERE THE WILD ONES GROW; A SPRING CAROL HERALDS A SEASON OF WILDFLOWERS

Winter has teased us, luring us with false summer days and then dousing our feverish delusions with cold spells and downpours. Wildflowers, though, herald a true spring. Their insistent presence sprouts across the generous expanse of vineyards and mountain slopes, even in the spare soil of sidewalk crevices and median strips.

Like bees and butterflies, humans flock to these petaled beauties, sometimes in guided events, such as April on the Mountain or the wildflower trains in Niles and Rio Vista. Mount Diablo offers a staggering floral diversity, other places specialize in a select few.

To help with the wildflower hunt, we’ve borrowed a melody more familiar in chillier climes to give clues on where the wildflowers grow. For a key, and a list of related events, see Page 2.

On the first day of springtime, a train chugs by to see

a goldfield in a prairie.

On the second day of springtime, in the wild Ohlone

two bird’s eyes

and a goldfield in a prairie.

On the third day of springtime, turning wine to gold alchemy

three mustards,

two bird’s eyes

and a goldfield in a prairie.

On the fourth day of springtime, peaking with deviltry

four (lupine) doves,

three mustards,

two bird’s eyes

and a goldfield in a prairie.

On the fifth day of springtime, along coal mines empty

five goldenbush,

four (lupine) doves,

three mustards,

two bird’s eyes

and a goldfield in a prairie.

On the sixth day of springtime, near a surge of energy

six goose-a-berryin’,

five goldenbush,

four (lupine) doves,

three mustards,

two bird’s eyes

and a goldfield in a prairie.

On the seventh day of springtime, o’er hills of coyotes

seven poppies popping,

six goose-a-berryin’,

five goldenbush,

four (lupine) doves,

three mustards,

two bird’s eyes

and a goldfield in a prairie.

On the eighth day of springtime, near grades gridlocked with SUVs

eight milkmaids milking,

seven poppies popping,

six goose-a-berryin’,

five goldenbush,

four (lupine) doves,

three mustards,

two bird’s eyes

and a goldfield in a prairie.

On the ninth day of springtime, in a garden of Berkeley

nine lady’s mantles,

eight milkmaids milking,

seven poppies popping,

six goose-a-berryin’,

five goldenbush,

four (lupine) doves,

three mustards,

two bird’s eyes

and a goldfield in a prairie.

On the tenth day of springtime, high up Marin County

ten lupines looping,

nine lady’s mantles,

eight milkmaids milking,

seven poppies popping,

six goose-a-berryin’,

five goldenbush,

four (lupine) doves,

three mustards,

two bird’s eyes

and a goldfield in a prairie.

On the eleventh day of springtime, by the Reliez Valley

eleven fiddlenecks a fiddlin’,

ten lupines loopin’,

nine lady’s mantles,

eight milkmaids milking,

seven poppies popping,

six goose-a-berryin’,

five goldenbush,

four (lupine) doves,

three mustards,

two bird’s eyes

and a goldfield in a prairie.

On the twelfth day of springtime, while sun rays shine on seas

twelve Indians brush paintin’,

eleven fiddlenecks a fiddlin’,

ten lupines loopin’,

nine lady’s mantles,

eight milkmaids milking,

seven poppies popping,

six goose-a-berryin’,

Five goldenbush,

four (lupine) doves,

three mustards,

two bird’s eyes

and a goldfield in a prairie.

ANSWER KEY

  1. Western Railway Museum through the Jepson Prairie, Suisun. 2. Sunol-Ohlone Wilderness. 3. Napa Valley. 4. Mount Diablo. 5. Mines Road, Livermore. 6. Livermore (Lab). 7. Coyote Hills Regional Wilderness, Fremont. 8. Sunol (grade). 9. UC Botanical Garden, Berkeley. 10. Mount Tamalpais. 11. Briones Regional Park, Martinez (off Reliez Valley Road) and Lafayette. 12. Point Reyes National Seashore.

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