Thousands of California poppies are in full bloom at the Irvine Ranch Conservancy’s Native Seed Farm in Irvine. The farm produces up to 2,000 pounds of native seeds and young plants each year to restore protected wildlands.

Irvine’s own ‘super bloom’

The Native Seed Farm is bursting with color

by Irvine Standard Staff

Want to see a “super bloom” of wildflowers?

There’s one, right here in the Irvine foothills.

Fifteen varieties of wildflowers — including California poppy, arroyo lupine and purple owl’s clover – are in full bloom at the Irvine Ranch Conservancy’s Native Seed Farm off Jeffrey Road. And the conservancy is looking for volunteers to help harvest these native seeds.

Matt Garrambone, Irvine Ranch Conservancy Native Seed Farm Project Manager, walks through a field of poppies. The farm grows 15 varieties of wildflowers.

“It’s so beautiful here,” says docent Mary Nolan, who volunteers twice a month. “You get outdoors. You get some exercise. And it’s educational.”

The 14-acre Native Seed Farm opened 10 years ago to grow native plants to replenish the Irvine Ranch wildlands.

The farm also gives residents the chance to connect with nature and themselves. Volunteer activities are offered from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays and Saturdays, year round.

Volunteers must register on letsgooutside.org.

Each year, the Native Seed Farm produces up to 2,000 pounds of native seeds and young plants, ranging from wildflowers to coastal sage to native grasses.

In winter, volunteers help weed. In spring, they help harvest. In fall, they help plant seeds in this garden setting that feels comfortable even for folks with little outdoor experience.

The group of volunteers who show up Wednesdays and Saturdays typically totals between 15 and 30 people and is a good mix of veteran volunteers and newbies, says Irvine Ranch Conservancy Communications Manager Scott Graves.

“We call this our gateway activity,” he says. “The volunteers learn about restoration and all the other programs we offer, and they go out and start doing all sorts of things.”

For more information and to register, visit: letsgooutside.org/explore/native-seed-farm

A Boys & Girls Club member during a visit to the Irvine Ranch Conservancy’s Native Seed Farm.