The High Country Conservancy and volunteers celebrated California Poppy Day April 6, by weeding the field of native California poppies on the east side of the Little Red Schoolhouse in Anza. Conservancy founder and Secretary Marea Stinnett supplied and helped install composite edging for around the garden.
The California State Legislature adopted the California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica) as the official California state flower March 2, 1903. In 1973, the law was amended to designate April 6 of each year as California Poppy Day. Of course, this coincides with the bloom time of the petite yellow and orange flowers all over the state.
The poppy field is thriving and the plants are in bloom. The garden was spearheaded by Annika Knoppel of the Conservancy and she developed the area in a precise manner. Cardboard boxes, donated by Bob Giffin, Eve Cannella, Bahb Woolley and Knoppel herself, were flattened and put on the moistened ground in the garden. This encouraged any seeds and weeds to grow underneath the cardboard where they die off due to lack of light. Then a thick layer of topsoil (donated by Russell Kitchen) and wood chips were laid on top of the cardboard. The whole bed was then inoculated with a quarter pound of native poppy seeds donated by Knoppel.
Knoppel loves to educate.
“A wildflower area for the park just makes sense. The High Country Conservancy saw an opportunity to show how effective and beautiful it can be to go native,” she said. “We chose the California poppy for it’s familiarity and good looks. Knowing the water situation at Minor Park can be sketchy, we wanted to be water-wise. With minimal care poppies will act like a perennial and self-seed for next year.”
Knoppel said that a traditional lawn can be expensive to maintain. Mowing, fertilizing, weeding and watering take time and money and lawns aren’t eco-friendly.
“Mowing burns gasoline and spews fumes; pesticide and fertilizer runoff pollutes our groundwater,” she explained. “A wildflower meadow, on the other hand, needs no fertilizing, and little or no supplemental water once established. Planting it at the park means the whole community can enjoy and learn from the experience.”
The High Country Conservancy is the caretaker of this plot of land. Their mission is to promote the wise use of land and water resources that lead to sustainable outcomes for preservation of habitat, cultural values, farmland and quality of life.
For more information on the High Country Conservancy, visit www.thccanza.org/.