This year I made it. I made it out to the Elfin Forest in Baywood to see the California Peony, Paeonia californica in bloom. Last year, I missed their bloom period (only a few weeks) by about two weeks. All that was left were green seed heads, although interesting in their own right, but not what I came to see. What I came to see was a peony. Most peonies don’t grow well here. Lacking the required hours of cold chill in the winter they fail to bloom and often stop returning at all. The California Peony, however, comes back every year. It’s emergence from it’s dormant state coincides with our late winter rains and this year, we’ve had quite a lot. You can find them in many places along the California coast, but they can take a bit of searching. Preferring to grow in dry brushy places it can be lost amongst the shrubs. But in the Elfin Forest you’ll find them popping up right next to the boardwalk. I had pondered trying to locate seeds online to grow, but passed after reading about how difficult they were to cultivate. Instead I’ll let Mother Nature do the work and just marvel at her efforts. Beautiful, isn’t it?