It’s rare to find over 400 types of plants and wildflowers all in place, but attendees at Mission College’s 41st Annual Wildflower Show on the weekend of April 27-28 found just that. An estimated 500-700 people attended the event, hosted by the California Native Plant Society’s Santa Clara Valley Chapter and the Mission College Biological Sciences Department.
“One of the objectives of having this show is so that people can know what they could find if they were to go into the hills and look at the wildflowers,” says David Chapman, chairman for this year’s show. “Another objective is to give people appreciation of the wide variety of plants and wildflowers we have here. Our broader goal is to convince people of the value of native plants so they can help preserve them.”
“Some of the [plants and wildflowers] come from the Mount Hamilton range,” Chapman says. “Some of them come from the Santa Cruz Mountains. Some of them come from the coast. We have a few from all around the state from members’ yards.”
A member of the plant society brought in a collection of dudleya, which are succulent plants that can grow in the cracks of rocks. According to Chapman, the dudleya are also marked by their thick leaves. A wide variety of these plants come from the same genus; they are like brothers and sisters.
Other native plants at the show included wild onions, Mariposa lilies, and brodiaea – bulbs that would bloom in the next few weeks. Chapman was also enthusiastic about the display of California poppies and the Clarkia, a spring wildflower named for the Lewis and Clark expedition.
“The lupine plant is blooming right now,” says Toni Gregorio-Bunch, a volunteer for the plant society, as she points to some flowers with little purple blossoms.
Visitors to the show admired the paintings of artist Trevlyn Williams, a former high school biology teacher who is now an environmental educator.
“I want to replicate the beauty of the natural environment in my art,” Williams says. “People like roses, and that’s great, but we also need to appreciate our natural environment [where there are other species besides roses].”
Another lover of the natural environment is Emily Chin, owner of Floral Creations. At the show, Chin was selling pretty cards, coasters, bookmarks, and framed art; all items were made from real flowers.
“All the flowers pressed into the cards came from my yard,” says Chin, a former molecular geneticist. “There were no chemicals used to make any of my products.
Show visitors attended classes on a variety of topics, including wildflower identification, gardening native plants, and photographing wildflowers. A table was also set aside for children to do art projects with themes related to nature.
According to Chapman, the California Native Plant Society’s Santa Clara Valley Chapter hosts lectures every month on gardening native plants. The group also goes on hikes and other field trips. Visit www.cnps-scv.org for more information or call 650-260-3450 to find out about future events.