Jennifer Huffman

Jennifer Huffman

I did not want to write a column about spring flowers.

I mean, there have been a thousand columns written about flowers, right? Spring flower columns have been done to death.

There had to be an alternative. Surely at least one of those Huffman girls was doing something column-worthy. There had to be some daughter drama to exploit.


What the heck Napa? What’s with all the flowers? Have there always been this many?

It’s as if I just popped into the color version of “The Wizard of Oz” and am just now noticing that yes, we have flowers this time of year, and yes, they are blooming left and right. I have put on my flower appreciation glasses and I am appreciating the heck out of them.

It might have something to do with the poppies.

Last spring some California poppy seeds I scattered haphazardly in our front yard actually grew and bloomed.

Huh. Would you look at that. Poppies.

A few weeks ago, I remembered those poppies as little green shoots started coming up again. And then I read about the poppy-apocalypse in southern California.

Apparently all the rain caused a “super bloom” in this one part of the state and Southern Californians went bananas over the poppies.

Drawn to the hills like crazed lemmings they came by the thousands. Shockingly, not everyone followed proper poppy viewing etiquette. Instagraming influencers and their ilk trampled the poppies. They frolicked in the poppies. Laid in the poppies. PICKED THE POPPIES. #poppyshaming

Now any self-respecting California grade school kid knows it is AGAINST THE LAW to pick the state flower. Mostly. But that didn’t stop these so-called poppy appreciators from ruining a good thing with their selfie sticks and photobombing Mother Nature.

Tsk, tsk. We Northern Californians are so much better than that.

During my Sunday morning runs over the past few weeks I started noticing the flowers in Napa. I’m pretty sure I saw tulips, daffodils and a purple thingy which I think is an iris.

Driving on Hwy 29, I saw entire sections of little orange flowers carpeting freeway entrance and exit ramps.

Hold up. Is this Napa’s version of a super bloom? Would tourists start pulling over to jump in the flowers? Would there be traffic jams? Flower chaos? Would the CHP have to set up flower patrols to prevent more flower madness?

I put on my reporter hat and found out that these orange flowers are a wild marigold, something described as an “escaped ornamental.”

They’re not native to Napa, said a local flower expert. He disapproved of the marigolds. They’re elbowing out the native wildflowers, he said. I nodded in sympathy while thinking “but they’re so pretty.”

Seeing as that I am now the type of person who notices wildflowers, I planned our running group’s latest Sunday run to start and end near Calla Lily Alley at Rohlff’s Manor.

Get tips on free stuff and fun ideas delivered weekly to your inbox

Again, I point to my unfortunate past as a non-flower follower. I’d heard of Calla Lily Alley, but never took the time to visit. So maybe raising three girls might have left me little free time and admiring flowers wasn’t at the top of my list. After a visit to the Calla Lily, I see the short-sidedness of such thinking.

Oh, the colors! Purple, green, fuchsia, hot pink, yellow, orange! To use a Kevin Courtney adjective: I was gobsmacked.

To get a read on how interesting a flower column might be, I tested the waters with Middle Daughter. Would this column be too boring?

Wellllll, she said, giving me a look, that said yes, but she didn’t want to say it out loud.

I mean, it sounds like you’re retired and you just finished knitting and you went for a walk to look at the flowers, like that’s your life, she said, not unkindly.

Hahahaa, I laughed a little too forcefully. As if. I mean, I have a lot of important things going on in my life. I am a busy career woman with things to tweet about and notes to take and important people to interview. Me, flower column writer?

Later that day, I was standing by the front door when I saw Middle Daughter arrive home from work.

She got out of her car and then stopped in the driveway.

She pulled her phone out of her purse and she started taking pictures of the poppies.

Subscribe to Breaking News

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Surrendering to Motherhood appears every other Monday. Follow Jennifer on Twitter: @NVRHuffman.


Business Editor

Jennifer Huffman is the business editor and a general assignment reporter for the Napa Valley Register. I cover a wide variety of topics for the newspaper. I've been with the Register since 2005.