Happy California Poppy Day. Yes, would you believe the official flower of California (Eschscholzia californica) has it's own special day.
These poppies have been blooming all over the Napa Valley since February (the first ones I noticed where alongside the driveway into Napa Valley College), and will continue to grace roadsides, vineyards and fields with their presence until late summer. Extremely drought tolerant, they easily self-seed and consequently pop up in an new part of Vinoland every year. This particular poppy is blooming right alongside a Pinot grigio vine.
I was once shown a photograph of a vineyard that had been sown with California poppies as a cover crop, it looked beautiful. Poppies do have rather large tap roots that can penetrate hard soils and clay and aid in aeration, but they would not add much in the way of nitrogen or biomass to the soil. Besides, who would have the heart to want to mow them down? Not me.