Wildflowering L.A. is a native wildflower seed sowing initiative throughout Los Angeles County by artist Fritz Haeg.

Fifty highly visible sites are sown in fall 2013 to bloom in spring 2014, culminating in a public exhibition and event in early summer. The project is presented by LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division) in partnership with the Theodore Payne Foundation.

What’s Next: Study and Action As Seasons Shift

Late June brings an official shift of season, as the sun is at its highest point of the year on the Summer Solstice.  Many of your meadows may still be dotted with a few bright orange poppies, blazing pink farewell-to-spring, or powder-purple globe gilias; others may have completely browned up and gone to seed by now. 

As we launch into summer, and signs are deinstalled, the question for many is: “What’s next?”  This hiatus in the growing cycle is the perfect opportunity to prepare for fall planting and sowing.  The preparation has two parts: Study and Action.

Part I, Study: How about relaxing in a favorite chair on a shady porch with a book on native plants?  (California Native Plants for the Garden by Carol Bornstein, David Fross, and Bart O’Brien is a comprehensive, full-color, and easy-to-navigate option). Consider the plants that appeal to you, and which will do well with your climate, sun exposure, and soil type.  Want birds and butterflies?  Color and fragrance?   Summer shade?  Drought tolerance?   A truly amazing palette of native plants and wildflowers awaits your discovery.  Theodore Payne Foundation’s Native Plant Library, an online wiki database,  also has particulars on more than 1,000 CA native plants.  Or, get an early start on the heat of the morning on Saturday, July 19 to attend the California Native Plant Horticulture Class, taught by Lili Singer at the Theodore Payne Foundation Education Center, which will offer the basics on gardening with California flora: why natives are valuable, about plant communities, plus planting techniques, establishment, irrigation, pruning and ongoing maintenance.  This class is recommended for beginners.

Part II, Action: Over the course of the past eight months, many sites dealt with the emergence of weeds on their sites.  The hottest months of the year can be utilized to address that issue by preparing the ground for fall planting and sowing.  One way to diminish next year’s weed crop is to solarize areas in full sun.  This is a method wherein plastic sheeting is applied in order to heat-kill weed seeds in the soil bank.  We at Theodore Payne Foundation are going to conduct this technique on our Site 21 Wildflowering L.A. meadow toward the end of July (stay tuned for a post with photos from the day and more details on the process of solarization – and feel free to stop by to watch!).  To learn more about this and other methods for preparing your soil and planning your garden, consider signing up for Lili Singer’s Look Ma, No Lawn! class on the afternoon of Saturday, July 5. 

As we adjust to the heat and enjoy the fun activities of a Southern California summer, we also look ahead to fall in anticipation of the future plans of so many Wildflowering L.A. sites!

Posted by Genny Arnold, Theodore Payne Foundation 

Wildflowering L.A.+UCLA: A Seed Collecting Workshop and MOCAtv Screening

On Sunday, June 15th from 2-4pm Los Angeles Nomadic Division (LAND) hosts the final spring event of Fritz Haeg‘s Wildflowering L.A., a countywide native seed sowing initiative taking place from October 2013-Summer 2014! 

As the growing season has now concluded, we invite you to witness the tail end of the bloom at one of the Wildflowering L.A. sites - Site #32 at UCLA on Sage Hill. It is Father’s Day, so bring your garden-loving dads! 

A screening of MOCAtv’s Wildflowering L.A. short video – part of their Artist’s Studio series – will take place in the UCLA Department of Geography. Please join us to explore the site, collect seeds to take a bit of the project home, and learn about the habitat of SAGE HILL UCLA, a last bit of native land that is extant on the UCLA campus and in the urban Westwood area. Project posters and official project seed mixes will be available. 

RSVP on Facebook.

MOCAtv is an online video channel dedicated to contemporary art, with programming and content developed by MOCA, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

This program is made possible in part by a grant from the City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs

Seed Collecting

What do Wildflowering L.A. sites look like as they go to seed, as all sites are right now? Join us to collect some seeds and take a bit of the project home at the final event in the Wildflowering L.A. project cycle at Site #32, on the UCLA Campus at Sage Hill on Sunday, June 15th from 2-4pm.

Yes, that’s Father’s Day – so bring your gardening-loving dad to collect seeds and participate in the screening of the MOCA TV short documentary on about Wildflowering L.A., tracing the project from its planting through to its seasonal conclusion.  

A sampling with images is below to help you distinguish and collect onsite, contributed by Theodore Payne Foundation’s Genny Arnold.  For even more information, check out this handout with tips on seed collecting.

1_globe gilia in seed

Gilia capitata (Globe Gilia) – This member of the Polemoniaceae, or phlox family, forms capsules as it goes to seed.  Each section of the inflorescence contains up to three seeds. 

2_lupine in seed

Lupinus truncatus (Collared Annual Lupine) – This member of the Fabaceae, or legume family, produces a pod-style fruit.  Upon ripening, the pods open to release the seed.  A helpful hint for harvesting seed of lupines– a short stocking may be carefully tied over the ripening fruits so that when the pod opens the seed is captured (the aerated material of a stocking is appropriate because it will not cause anaerobic situation wherein mold might form). 

3_clarkia in flower and in seed

Clarkia unguiculata (Elegant Clarkia)  – This member of the Onagraceae, or evening primrose family, forms capsules up and down the length of its stem where the flowers once were.  Upon ripening, the capsules will be tan and dry and will open slightly at the top, as pictured in the horizontal branch.  If the capsules are green, as pictured in the vertical branch, they are not ready for harvest. 

4_poppy capsules, green

Eschscholzia californica (California Poppy)  – Members of the Papaveraceae, or poppy family, form seed capsules. In this photo, the elongated capsules are still very green and therefore not ripe.  When ripe, they will turn tan and become crisp; upon maturity, the pop open and release the seeds.

5_lacy phacelia in seed

Phacelia tanacetifolia (Lacy Phacelia) – This member of the Boraginaceae, or waterleaf family, turns completely brown when its seed capsules are ripe.  If you harvest this one, please wear gloves; it has micro-hairs that can cause mild contact dermatitis. 

Spring Into Summer

Well WFLA’ers, it is mid-May and we find ourselves in that slightly confusing “is it spring or summer in Los Angeles?” stage of weather. May usually feels like a transitional month between the two seasons, and this year is no exception.  Some days are predicted to be in the upper 90s this month, while other days are currently forecast at a pleasant 75 degrees. 

The annual wildflowers in your meadow are feeling the same way – you’ve probably noticed that some early blooming species took a cue from the summer-like heat and have already gone to seed (tidy tips and lupines, for example) or are starting to brown up, while others are still in spring bloom (probably including clarkias and farewell-to-spring, some poppies, and globe gilias).  As your meadow transitions with the season, you may wonder what to do next in terms of maintenance. 

If you leave the spent flower heads in place for a while, the birds will consume some of the seed (which is always fun to observe) and some of the seed will go into the soil bank where it will rest until it receives its germination cues next fall.  Should you wish to help the seed scattering process along a bit, you can shake the spent flowers directly over your ground. 

Some gardeners enjoy harvesting the seed and storing it for sowing in the fall or for sharing with friends and neighbors (I’m sure many of you have had ooh’s and aah’s over showy wildflowers from passers-by).  In general, seed is ripe when the flower head is tan or brown and slightly crunchy without being too dried out and “fried to a crisp”.   Take a paper bag and place spent flower stalks in upside down so that the seed can dehisce (discharge seeds) on its own.  Place the bag in a cool, aerated, and dry area up off the ground and protected from rodents for a couple weeks.  After that drying and dehiscing period, you should find that some seed has dropped to the bottom of the bag.  That seed can then be labeled and placed in a jar, and then stashed in cool, dark, dry closet or cupboard until next fall.  

Perhaps you are intending to clear and prepare your ground over the summer in preparation for planting native perennials in the fall – an exciting prospect!  Should you wish to remove the dried flower stalks entirely after leaving them a while for the birds to enjoy, they do pull up easily and can then be added to compost bins; this way, any seed remaining within the plant material has an increased chance of regenerating.  The removal of dry plant material might be the option appropriate for sites in wild land interface areas that are fire-sensitive.  This process can be done gradually so that the flowers still in bloom remain and the dried individuals are removed.  

This phase of the native wildflower meadow is an especially intriguing one – as bright blooms give way to the muted tones of next year’s seed bank, we are reminded that each phase of the cycle continues to provide habitat essential to the survival of local animal and insect species and is beautiful in its own way. 

Posted by Genny Arnold, Theodore Payne Foundation

Conversations Now Online

If you missed the chance to attend the two-day Wildflowering L.A. Spring Exhibition on April 26-27, you are in luck. Listen here to the conversations conducted by Fritz Haeg and live broadcast by KCHUNG.

Posted by LAND

Wildflowering L.A. Spring Exhibition, April 26-27

A culminating exhibition of Fritz Haeg’s Wildflowering L.A. project, commissioned and organized by LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division) will take place on Saturday, April 26 and Sunday, April 27, 2014 at THE SHED: Pasadena’s emerging space for urban agriculture, planning, permaculture, and land use by La Loma Development Company.  

The exhibition will feature flower cuttings and photos fresh from the project sites presented on a vast Los Angeles County map, along with project archives, artist-designed posters, educational activities for all ages, conversations with experts including representatives from the Theodore Payne Foundation and project participants, a live broadcast by KCHUNG, music by Pawing at the Ceiling, seasonal refreshments by Thank You For Coming and Gypsy Eats, and more. Be sure to check the project’s website, www.wildflowering.org, for  ongoing project updatesbackground informationwildflower resources, the map of all 50 sites, and streaming #wildfloweringla updates from Twitter and Instagram. 

THE SHED is located at 1355 Lincoln Avenue in Pasadena, 91103.  

Public hours will be from 12pm-6pm daily.

The exhibition will include:

-Large-scale map installation by Fritz Haeg to visually depict the expanse of the 50 Wildflowering L.A. sites across Los Angeles County with clippings from project participants, projections of site photos, archival materials, and artist-designed posters for ongoing viewing

-Receptions at 4:30pm daily

-Educational/family activities from 12pm-5pm for kids (but great for all ages and adults) including sensory stations, flower pressing, seed treasures, printmaking, exquisite corpse, a somatic creative movement class with Maya Gingery, and more

-Music by Pawing at the Ceiling (Roman Jaster and Nicole Jaffe) on Saturday from 1-1:30pm

-Conversations at 2pm, 3pm, and 4pm daily with experts, including representatives from the Theodore Payne Foundation and project participants

Conversations Schedule – Saturday, April 26th

  • 2pm: Andy Wilcox, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture, Cal Poly Pomona, Sites #37: Cal Poly Pomona and #38: York Blvd.
  • 3pm: Richard Schulhof, Director, Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, Site #22: LA Arboretum
  • 4pm: Leigh Adams, Sites #13: Westridge School, #14: Pasadena Casting Pond, and #22: LA Arboretum

Conversations ScheduleSunday, April 27th

  • 2pm: Joan M. Leong, Professor, Biological Sciences Graduate Program, Cal Poly Pomona  Pollinators Study
  • 3pm: Joshua Link, Landscape Architect, Ecotone Studios, Site #47: Eagle Rock Post Office
  • 4pm: Genny Arnold, Theodore Payne Foundation, Site #21

Posted by LAND

de LaB April 10th Site Visit

de LaB, or design east of La Brea, is organizing a visit to Wildflowering L.A. Site #44 in Lincoln Heights on April 10th at 6pm. 

Info from their webpage announcement:

We’ll begin our tour at Wildflowering L.A. Site #44 and will be touring two additional sites in the Northeast LA area. These locations will be selected the week of the event based on what’s blooming. The sites will all be within a few miles of this first location, and will be drivable or bikeable. After the site visits, we’ll be ending at a bar in the area to talk more about the project—this location will also be announced the week of the event, so be sure to RSVP to get more information via email.

de LaB is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that celebrates and supports local creatives in their efforts to enlighten, improve and engage the city. Through events that are educational, inspirational, and interactive, de LaB unites an enthusiastic community of local residents who are invested in the future of L.A.

Posted by Fritz Haeg


Our Wildflowering L.A. spring show/installation/event has just been confirmed for Saturday, April 26th and Sunday, April 27th from Noon to 6pm at THE SHED (1355 Lincoln Avenue, Pasadena 91103), hosted by La Loma Development. More details coming soon! 

Posted by Fritz Haeg


Over the past few weeks we have been receiving reports from our 50 participating Wildflowering L.A. sites across the county. Our first accounts of flowers – mostly Tidy Tips and Lupine – came in January. But with our early spring Southern California heat and sun kicking in, we have many sites experiencing their first wave of dramatic blooms. This will continue in secessional waves through June with various species coming up, flowering, and then receding as others take the stage. The most abundant blooms at the moment seem to be the Clarkia and Phacelia. Participants have been sending their ‘bloom ratings,’ their estimates of when their wildflower site might peak, some current snapshots, and general anecdotes about their experiences with the project. I have been compiling this information and adding it to our map page, which will continue to be updated through June. We have also just officially announced the public viewing/touring phase of the project. See the full announcement on my blog and go here to view the press release from LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division).

Posted by Fritz Haeg