Wildflower growth is subject to the whims of nature and is not on a human arboretum schedule. Some wildflower years are spectacular, some sparse. Because of conditions that favor them, certain species bloom profusely in one year but not another. As outlined below, many factors influence where and when you should go looking for wildflowers and whether your wildflower hunt will be successful.
“The height of wildflower season” shows us the broadest distribution of the greatest number of flowers. But many species of flowers will bloom and die before this height and many after it. Some of these flowers put on magnificent shows, sometimes carpeting huge areas with very few other flowers evident. You won’t see this display if you come at the “height of the season”.
Further, in order to find wildflowers during the height of the season (or at any other time) one needs to go to the right places — and walk. Viewing wildflowers from a car is like praying to God while watching television. We still thankfully have some wilderness in the United States and it is in these areas that wildflowers thrive. When you see photographs of mountain meadows filled with wildflowers and surrounded by 14,000 foot peaks, you are almost always looking at the result of a hunt on foot. The mountains, deserts, and prairies in bloom are most appreciated by those who travel afoot.