People around the country have been abuzz about this spring’s super bloom, particularly that in Southern California, that has arisen from a particularly rainy winter.  If you’ve visiting San Diego, a 2-hour trip to our local desert areas = particularly Anza Borrego, may not work with your schedule or your tolerance for crowds. But you can still catch the blooms without going so far afield.  Here are some options for enjoying not just the wildflowers, but several of San Diego’s blooming gardens in all their finery.

Balboa Park
40-minute walk | 8-minute drive from Alcazar Court
The gardens of Balboa Park are world famous. At this time of year the Japanese Friendship Garden, with a newly installed spectacular water feature as well as blooming cherry trees, is lush and inviting.  The award-winning Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden has just begun blooming and features 130 varieties that will continue to bloom through May. The network of trails that surround the Park are also full of wildflowers and lush green grasses, perfect for spring walking. Don’t forget the Botanical Building and the Alcazar Garden, our namesake, along the Prado within the Park.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
20-minute drive from Alcazar Court
Although you’ll find amazing sea views through the 1,500 acres of this natural preserve, the Guy Fleming Trail currently features the greatest variety of wildflowers.  There are also yucca plants in bloom, with their stunning spires of white and cream flowers at the Yucca Point Overlook.  Follow the Razor Point Trail of Beach Trail to reach the Overlook, or explore the miles of trails that intertwine throughout the reserve for more wildflower surprises.

Cabrillo National Monument
27-minute drive from Alcazar Court
The grounds of the monument feature spectacular sea views and loads of flora. For help in identifying the wildflowers in the area, download the National Park Service’s phone app at www.nps.gov/cabr.

The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch
33-minute drive from Alcazar Court
This 50-acre range features field upon field of vibrant cultivated blooms, with flowers peaking through mid-April.  The fields will be open through May 12. Learn more at www.theflowerfields.com.

Anza-Borrego Desert
2-hour+ drive from Alcazar Court depending on traffic
Although there are still some localized areas where desert annuals are still in bloom, the wildflower explosion has begun to fade.  If you’d still like to make the trip, there’s good news:  many desert shrubs, ocotillo, and cactus have begun their own blooming season.  Find blooms for barrel, fishhook, beavertail and hedgehog cactus in the lower elevations around Borrego Springs with some of the best blooms being found along the Yaqui Wells Trail and in Glorietta Canyon. Learn more at the BorregoBlooms website.