All the rain this winter here in Los Angeles has made for a very wonderful wildflower season. Every roadside and hillside is colored by yellow mustard grass, daisies, coreopsis, and others. I've taken all the photos in this post unless otherwise noted.

Above and below: Locally, at the wet lands near Marina Del Rey.

Above: Alex Katz, Goldenrod, 1955 

Above: Detail of the swaths of blooms at Lake Hollywood, reminding me of this painting by Maureen Gallace, Backyard, June 24th 2015. Gallace has a show on currently at PS1 in Long Island City.

Above: Lois Dodd (b. 1927), Jerusalem Artichokes, 2015. There's a nice piece about this show here.

Above: Judy Collins released this album in1967, 50 years ago, the Summer of Love. Such a great album...includes the songs Michael from Mountains, Since You Asked, Both Sides Now, and Hey That's No Way to Say Goodbye.

Above: Santa Monica hillside

Above: Fairfield Porter (1907-1975), Primroses, 1962.

Above: Christopher Farr Cloth, "Field", designed by Tord Boontje

Above: Marthe Armitage wallpaper "Bamboo"

Above: Liberty fabrics, Tana Lawn "Field Flowers"  

Above: John Samuel Raven (1829-1877), Study for "Saintfoin in Bloom: View near Cobham in Kent", 1857, Detail. Collection Tate Museum.

Above: Odilon Redon (1840-1916), Portrait of Yseult Fayet, 1908.

Above: Detail from Botticelli's Primavera. Apparently there are almost 200 types of plants included in this painting.

Above: Gustav Klimt (1862-1918), Poppy Meadow, 1907

Above: Gustav Klimt (1862-1918), Blumengarten, 1907

Recently we were in Tomales Bay. The flowers hadn't sprung up completely yet but they were beginning to show, scattered through the green against the blue ocean and sky.

Above: California Poppies 

Above: My husband Steven's sketch of me taking pictures in Tomales Bay.

Above: John Gamble (1863-1957), Flowering Lupine on a Coastal Hillside, 1904

Every April out in the Antelope Valley California Poppies cover endless hills. Some pictures I took a few years ago...I'm sure they're even more abundant this year.

Above and below: A classic image of California from the 1930s is borne out in the photo I took above. This painting is by Granville Redmond (1871-1935). These poppy fields were the inspiration for the poppies in the Wizard of Oz. Redmond was an actor as well as a painter, a friend of Charlie Chaplin.

I love the lyrics in the Talking Head's song "Nothing But Flowers", describing a world being taken back to nature, all cities and civilization overgrown and eroded by flowers and rivers.

Above: Dandelion leaves below a marble step and cast acanthus leaves.

Above: Chamomile in the cracks of stone pavers.

Above: Michael Landy (b. 1963), Creeping Buttercup, 2002. Landy made a series of etchings in his portfolio "Nourishment". The etchings are life sized drawings of street flowers. I share his admiration for these hardy plants. He describes them as "marvelous optimistic things" "they occupy an urban landscape which is very hostile and they have to be adaptable and find little bits of soil to prosper". Landy took some of these plants back to his studio, potted and studied them in order to make his drawings.

Above: Michael Landy "Annual Wall Rocket", 2002

Above: Morning Glory at the edge of an alley, Ocean Park.

Photo by Steven Baker

Above: Bougainvillea draped over a corrugated metal fence, downtown LA. 

Above: Nasturtium crawling out from a garden, San Francisco

Above: Nasturtium pods on a black ceramic dish

Above: Here, a neglected lot has a tree weighed down with oranges that can't be reached to be picked. Without human care the tree and the wild grasses are flourishing.

Above: On abandoned train tracks in Oregon these daisies took over an old train car,

Above: This is what the Highline looked like before it was made into a park.

Above: A detail of the Highline, after renovation. One of the important ideas that makes this landscaping so successful is the way they've kept the sense of the random wildness in places, leaving the tracks and planting them to appear unplanned.

Above: In Oregon I came across this car in the woods, being devoured by vines.

Above: Photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre have focused on photographing abandoned places. This is taken in Gunkanjima, aka Hashima, an abandoned island lying about 9 miles from Nagasaki. 

Photo by Andy Philip

Above: Found online, Vallone dei Mulini, near Sorrento in Italy is disappearing into green. 

Photo from Boeri web site

Above: Bosco Verticale, Milan. Architect Stefano Boeri designed a vertical garden tower, which was built in Milan. The idea has been so successful that he's been commissioned to design more of these towers in Antwerp, Nanjing, Liuzhou, and a hotel in Guizhou. Vallone dei Mulini above seems as though it may have been an element in inspiring this design. 

Above: Lois Dodd, View Across the Ditch, 1967

Above: Lois Dodd, Apple Tree, 1966

Above: Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Flight of Blackbirds at Dawn, 1916.

Above: Japanese ceramic, Edo period, Ogata Kenzan (1663-1743), dish with design of gazuko flower. Late 18th-early 19th century. Collection Freer Gallery of Art, Kyoto.

Above: 19th century Oribe revival vase.

Above: Japanese Oribe ceramic, Edo period.

Above: Julius von Bismarck, from a current show at Marlborough Contemporary 4/19-5/20 2017, installation view. These are giant dehydrated plant specimens found on recent travels to Colombia, Venezuela, and Mexico. He's flattened them with hydraulic machinery...an enormous flower press. 

Above and below: Tom Fairs sketches, courtesy Kerry Schuss Gallery, NYC.

Above: Alex Katz Wildflowers in Vase, 1954-55.

Below: Screen shot from Walt Disney's Silly Symphony, Flowers and Trees, 1932.


  1. Beautiful. I love how one image leads to a thought that unfolds into another image, the spooling out of the way you see our environment and surroundings. An image poem.

  2. If I recall correctly, I was with you when you took those pictures in Antelope Valley! Such a lovely, inspiring, deep post. Have to get myself to that Julius von Bismarck show before we leave on Friday for Scotland! Love you...