I come from a place where the Spring flowers are “the snow drops” (yes, that’s the name of a little, white, bell shaped flower that usually comes up while the snow is still covering the ground!), crocuses (they also often come up while there is still snow on the ground), narcissus and tulips. Oh, yes, and hyacinths! Latvia is a cold place and the long winters and snow make us appreciate our first little spring flowers very, very much. So, to see the hillside of my back yard here literally covered in California golden poppies and know that they are the messengers of Spring is a bit unusual… But I do live in California now and definitely consider myself one of the many admirers of the California State Flower – the golden poppy. In 1890 the California Floral Society chose (overwhelmingly!) California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica) to be the state flower over the Mariposa Lily (genus Calochortus) and the Matilija Poppy (Romneya coulteri). The legislature made it official in 1903 – the golden flower was deemed fit to represent the state. Gold, of course, is a major theme in everything californian – even the very nickname of our state has gold in it, the state colors are blue and gold, and the official mineral of the state is gold, too. California even has a special day “set aside” for our golden poppies – April 6th is the California Poppy Day!
I admit that just looking at the this beautiful silky textured plant fills me with gratitude and makes me smile. I enjoy witnessing how wisely the poppies close their 4 petals when the Sun goes down and then open their “faces” up again in the morning (though sometimes they remain closed during the overcast, windy or rainy days).
California Poppy, because of its orange color, is associated with the Second Chakra. Orange is the color of success, passions, sexuality, creativity and is an emotional stimulant. And yes, there definitely is something magical about that little plant with the very bright orange colored bloom! The California Poppies are so special that even after the many decades of “snow drops” in my life, I am happy and thankful to see these golden beauties as the signs of spring – and am grateful that (using the the words of John Thomas Howell (author of “Marin Flora”)): “…so rare a flower is so common!.” The full quote is even more telling: “No poet has yet sung the full beauty of our poppy. No painter has successfully portrayed the satiny sheen of its lustrous petals. In its abundance, this colorful plant should not be slighted: cherish it and be ever thankful that so rare a flower is common.”
Photo Contributed by Phil Strong, article by Indra Strong.