Scenes of Spring Blossoms in Santa Clara Valley

branch in bloom

Agricultural Blooms

The Santa Clara Valley, previously know as the Valley of Hearts Delight, was a destination point for Spring blooms starting with the Saratoga Blossom Festival in March. People came from all over Northern California and beyond to see the orchards in bloom. This year spring has arrived a little early and many of our fruit trees have already begun to bloom.

Saratoga will be reliving its blossom fest days in the Saratoga Heritage Orchard and Civic Center Area on March 19th. You can also still catch a glimpse of San José's former agricultural state as the Garden City at Emma Prusch Farm Park. The Prusch High Density Farm Orchard is maintained by our local Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County. UCCE Master Gardener Rebecca Jepsen writes a monthly column on a range of topics for the San José Mercury News for those who want to do some gardening of their own.

close up of blooms

Wildflower Blooms

The valley has lost its wealth of blooming orchards, however we have a vast array of parks and open spaces where wildflower season is beginning. Solid winter rains have led to an abundance of blooms this season. California has more variety of plant life than any other state in the U.S., many of which can only be found here. At the same time our state is the second most at risk to species loss.

"Together we have endeavored to interest people in the unparalleled beauty and charm of of our native flowers, and the importance of conserving them as valuable assets of civilized communities."

-B. M. R.

The date, April 24, 1915, was proclaimed California Wild Flower Day, by California Governor Hiram Johnson at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. This was initiated by Bertha Marguerite Rice, (1872-1962), the sister of our former mayor Charles W. Davison.

A dedicated philanthropist, Mrs. Rice was devoted to the preservation of native plants and natural resources. She founded the local Audubon Society; the Santa Clara Historical Society in 1906; the California Wildflower Conservation League in 1919; and the Saratoga Boys Outing Farm. She gave lectures and supervised programs for the protection of wild life throughout her life, championing the movement for National Wild Flower Protection Day.

Roland Rice wildflower guide
Hand Colored photographs of California Wildflowers, vol. 1 by Roland Rice, 1894-1962

Things to Do

Take a short stroll or a strenuous hike along one of our trails and open spaces or simply drive along the Monterey Highway and see the non-native mustard plant (Brassica rapa) in bloom on the foothills and California Poppies (Eschscholzia californica) starting to come up in fields and along the side of the roads.

The Santa Clara Valley chapter of the California Native Plant Society offers field trips, talks and native plant sales throughout the year. This year they are celebrating California Native Plant Week from April 16 - 24th. There are a number of Spring Native Plant events to look out for.

The Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority offers interpretive hikes and educational events to the public. They manage the Open Space Preserves in the County which offer an extensive number of trails as well as urban open spaces that connect with San José's trail network.

Come to a library presentation and learn about the plants and animals in our Open Space Preserves. Learn about upcoming spring programs and where you can arrange to come see these amazing sights with your family and friends.

Join this year's Wildflower Celebrations at Ulistac Natural Area on April 16th, a partnership with the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority, City of Santa Clara and others. Ulistac is the only natural open space in the City of Santa Clara. Visit and read all the interpretive signs regarding the history of the 40 acre Open Space. The signs are about the Guadalupe River, Ohlone life, flora, fauna and urban history as a Rancho, Golf Course, and now a natural area for everyone to enjoy.

Try Nature Journaling, you can take notes, draw pictures or write a poem to keep a record of what you observe when you are out and about. Close observation can lead to new discoveries. Coming back to the same place each season can be a completely different experience. You can try it out on your own, with a group, a class or as a family. There are some wonderful guides to get you started; try out some drawing techniques offered by expert John Muir Laws; or contribute to the Open World Field Guide.

Roland Rice wildflower guide

Hand Colored photographs of California Wildflowers, vol. 3 by Roland Rice, 1894-1962

Learn More

Follow these links to learn more about wildflowers and native plants:

Read More

Read more about it at the Library:

Explore the California Room

Check out these items in the California Room:

Marin Journal 1917
Marin Journal, Farm Section, Thursday, March 15, 1917.
BLOSSOM DAY in the Santa Clara Valley and its celebration at the picturesque little town of Saratoga which nestles in the foothills of the mountains which mark the western boundary of this "Valley of Heart's Delight," as it has sometimes been called, is welcomed each year by those whose homes are located in Santa Clara county not only but by thousands from other sections of the state, who come to view the panorama of white prune blossoms which extend as far as the eye can reach, and to join in the blossom day festivities.


Absolutely inspirational blog. Every link leads to something to do, someplace to explore or another research project. Especially loved the link to nature journaling. Not sure if I have time to explore all the wild flower ranges in Santa Clara County especially with the heavy rain, but this will be on my list of things to do for a long time.

John Muir Laws is a wonderful local resource for Nature Journaling. He has done a tremendous amount of work in making resources available to make it easy to get started! -Erin

Sure want to see those Roland Rice colored wildflower photos in the CA History Room.

Come on in, The California Room is open Tuesday - Saturday 1pm-6pm, we have the photos as well as a wildflower book he illustrated for his mother. I've also posted larger versions of the images on our SJPL Flickr stream if you are out of our area. -Erin

The blooms just keep on coming. Thank you for all the great links.

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