[heading]by:  WYNNE LOVE[/heading]Move over Julie Andrews. If you’ve ever yearned to twirl in the middle of a lush field of wildflowers, now may be your chance. The Anza Borrego desert, located about two hours east of San Diego, is the largest state park in California and – when the timing is right – home to acres of colorful desert plants.“When the flowers are blooming, the entire Park may be awash in color,” described Michael Rodriques, Regional Interpretive Specialist for the park. “We all wait and hope for a great flower year to arrive, but it doesn’t always happen.”

It is usually late February or early March when the conditions are most likely to produce the lush blooms for which Anza Borrego State Park has come to be known. With just the right confluence of sun, wind, and rain, entire fields of flowers can burst into bloom. Predicting just when (and if) this display will occur is not easy. To help would-be admirers time it right, park employees offer a Wildflower Hotline at 760-767-4684 and can provide notification by postcard or e-mail as well.

“In a good year, flowers cover thousands of acres,” reported Rodriques, “but for the more adventurous, many flower species can be found in the more remote corners of the park.” Rodriques recommends traveling Henderson Canyon Road up into Coyote Canyon, or visiting the Borrego Badlands in the north or Mountain Palm Springs in the south.

But don’t worry. If you don’t get your fill of flowers, the Visitor’s Center is still worth the trip. Nestled into the canyon itself, it boasts award-winning architecture and interpretive exhibits on the extensive fossil record represented in the desert rocks, along with guided hikes, stargazing events, and classes on topics like basket-weaving 15689155_xland pottery.

The sunsets and stargazing from the vast desert floor are breath-taking, and the drive offers spectacular views and the occasional sighting of quail, roadrunners, coyote, jackrabbits, and even bighorn sheep, or Borrego, for whom the park is named, along with Spanish explorer, Juan Bautista de Anza.