Wildflowers are everywhere in the spring and summer in California, from mountains to the coast. With a love of all things that bloom, we found our way to Pacific Grove to see Monterey wildflowers.

Monterey wildflowers displayed at the annual wildflower show in Pacific Grove

The Annual Wildflower Show in mid-April is in fact one of the oldest and largest wildflower shows in all of the northern and western hemispheres. Yup, right in littl’ ol’ Pacific Grove. We were most certainly not disappointed, with more than 730 different types of Monterey wildflowers displayed on tables in the 132-year-old Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History (itself worth its own visit as a matter of fact).

HITT Tip: If you miss both shows and other events in the area, you can still see wildflowers galore on one of the most amazing wildflower identification websites at www.montereywildflowers.com. You can search by type and by color and find out locations and flower-specific information. Can we say WOW?

More than a century of Monterey wildflowers

Monterey wildflowers lupine harlequin For the last 54 years the Monterey Bay Chapter of the California Native Plant Society has put on the show in a very homespun way for such a large scale show. The week leading up to the show, members of the area chapter scour the hillsides for various species, collecting different ones from various areas, meticulously labeling and preserving them in water. The Monterey wildflowers end up in hundreds of little vases, bottles and glasses, with papers that note the botanical name, common name, genus and a short description.

It’s heaven for wildflower lovers with such a dizzying array of Monterey wildflowers, from little to big, orange to white, ferns to fauna. I felt like a kid in a candy shop, telling my friend, “Oh, I want to plant that one,… that one,… that one,…” and the list just got longer and longer. From poppies and lupine to clematis and penstemon, the blooms were there for all to enjoy.

Monterey wildflowers at June show too

Monterey wildflowers clematisNo worries if you missed the 2015 Annual Wildflower Show. There is another, albeit not as large, at the Garland Ranch Regional Park Visitor Center in Carmel Valley in mid-June. The 16th Annual Summer Wildflower Show in 2015 will be June 13-14  with displays, talks and walks. And, of course, Monterey wildflowers! The price is right – free! And when you’re done you can head out to enjoy the trails at this spectacular Monterey Parks and Recreation District Garland Ranch Park.

HITT Tip: After you’re finished ooo’ing and aw’ing over Monterey wildflowers and need to stoke your engines a bit, take the time to head into quaint downtown Pacific Grove and head to Crema restaurant in Pacific Grove  at 481 Lighthouse Ave. Doesn’t matter the time of day since the business is a restaurant, coffee bar and wine bar all-in-one (although it’s only open until 4 p.m.). The dinner-plate size (ok, we exaggerate but only a bit) oatmeal chocolate chip cookies sell out pretty quickly so you’ll need to be early to snag that yummy. Otherwise, HI Travel Tales suggests the house Chicken Pastina soup that is everything but your everyday chicken soup. Tiny orzo-like pasta bits mix with fresh white-meat chicken in a slightly spicy broth with a hint of chipotle peppers.

Enjoy coffee, wine, tea and food at the Pacific Grove Crema restaurant after viewing Monterey wildflowers.

Villagio Inn and Spa

Feather River Fish Hatchery

Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve


Table Mountain Preserve


Liberty Cemetery


Michigan Bluff


Spring Wildflowers - Foresthill Divide Loop Trail


Mozzeria Pizzeria


Lynch Canyon Open Space Preserve


Apple Hill


Wofford Acres Vineyards


Apple Ridge Farms


Larsen Apple Barn


Rainbow Orchards


Smokey Ridge Farmstand and Charcuterie


Allez French restaurant


UC Davis Arboretum


Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History


Crema Restaurant


Alhambra Theater Historic Site - Sacramento

Today, the former movie showplace is not much of a show. And not many folks seem to even be aware of the meaning of these palm trees, and non-functioning fountain as they dash in and out of the store for groceries. A plaque that was said to be placed there was nowhere to be found when I visited. Read our story here.

Palo Corona Regional Park - Carmel

South Yuba River State Park - Bridgeport

Underground Gardens - Fresno

The Underground Gardens is what it sounds like: A weaving labyrinth of caverns, rooms and passages all dug underground and filled with fruit trees, vines and plants in spaces that open to the sky. This oddity was built – or shall we say, dug – by Italian immigrant Baldassare Forestiere for about 38 years starting in 1906.

Heads up! This information on Monterey Wildflower shows was accurate when we published it on HI Travel Tales, but, as we know, traveling is all about changes (and inflation, sadly). Please be sure to confirm prices, transportation schedules, hours of operation, safety and health considerations, request for perfect weather during your entire visit, and any other important details before your adventure.