I’ll admit it, I’m guilty as charged. Guilty of nearly missing jury duty because of some blooming poppies. They popped up unexpectedly on the way to jury duty in Globe recently. Immersed in thoughts about pending trials, I didn’t at first notice the hills growing greener, a grace note of grass on rocky slopes.
But as the highway snaked through Tonto Basin and out past Roosevelt Lake, they suddenly started to appear: Little patches of orange, yellow and purple poked out here and there — in bursts of color breaking through the sea of heated blacktop.
Soon, the drainage ditches flashed gold and amber.
By the time I reached the Tonto National Monument turnoff, they were practically begging me to stop. But I was late, far from Globe and stuck behind a driver doing a steady five miles under the speed limit.
“They won’t pick you anyways,” I thought, “you are a reporter.”
Still, I ignored the call of the poppies and penstemon, in the grip of my civic duty.
As I sped (responsibly) on, a great orchestra of flowers swelled along the lakeside — a chorus of peach, purple, crimson and cream.
Hours later on my way back after the court excused me for knowing far too much on an upcoming trial to serve as a juror, I finally had time to stop.
And relax. And wander around as many small scenic view turnoffs as I wanted, merrily snapping photos of a fleeting sight.
Desert wildflowers in Arizona reach their peak during March and April. I knew I didn’t have much time, with no plans to return this way in April.
But if you’re a fan of flowers, there’s still time to get a day trip to Globe, Roosevelt Lake in or the Boyce Thompson Arboretum before the flowers close up.
You can even learn to identify common Sonoran Desert wildflowers on a guided tour led by Arizona State Parks volunteers on a Wildflower Walk at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Phoenix. The walks start at 11 a.m. on April 7, 13, 21 and 27.
For a list of what’s blooming go to: http://www.dbg .org/gardening-horticulture/wildflower-infosite.
Nearby hotspots include Tonto National Monument, Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area, Usery Mountain Regional Park and Lost Dutchman State Park.