(credit: theflowerfields.com)

You can stop and smell the roses anytime, but this is the time to see some wildflowers. Now through May is prime time for flower fans. And we’ve got some of the best pick places from Carlsbad to Anza Borrego. If you want more, call the Theodore Payne Wildflower Hotline at 818-768-3533 or visit wildflowerhotline.org. Remember, take ‘em in, but don’t take ‘em home.

(credit: theflowerfields.com)

The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch has rows and rows and rows and, you get the idea, of majestic flowers. Now through May 13, you can take in 50 acres of awesome color in bloom on a hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean. And for the first time in 15 years, The Flower Fields have changed the color pattern to a new array of colors. The ranch promises stunning views for both new and returning visitors.

(credit: abdnha.org)

Barrel Cacti, Desert Dandelions, Arizona Lupines, and the list goes on. There are so many kinds of wildflowers to see. If you visit, know that the plants are not all visible from the jeep road, so wear your hiking boots. Click here for current reports.

(credit:Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve)

The Visitor Center opens and tours will begin for the 2012 wildflower season on Sunday, March 18. 
Wildflower blooms occur generally from mid-March through mid-May here, with peak viewing mid-April. Current status? The hills are “tinged green with the beginnings of grasses and a handful of fiddle neck, slender-keeled fruit, silver puffs, goldfields, filaree, Mojave suncups, forget-me-nots, and grape soda lupine are starting to bloom.” Sounds Antelope lovely. The Reserve is located 15 miles west of Lancaster at 15101 Lancaster Road.

More on the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve.

(credit: nps.gov)

Death Valley is famous for its spring wildflower displays, but you never know year to year what Mother Nature will let live or die. When conditions are perfect, you can expect a sea of gold, purple, pink or white flowers. So far, the winter season of 2011/2012 has been very dry in Death Valley National Park. So know if you go, it’s not always about the destination, but sometimes the journey.

(credit: lagunacanyon.org)

See sunflowers, lilies, deerweed, the monkey flower and other Laguna gems. Lots of yellows and purples are expected. Nix Nature Center is the new headquarters for the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park and a great place to stay updated on the wildflower scene. Enjoy and explore the many trails throughout the 20,000-acre South Coast Regional Wilderness.

Debbie Lavdas is a Southern California freelance writer who’s wild about flowers—all kinds. Keep up with her and her writings at DebbieintheOC.com. Or find her on Twitter: @deblavdas