Well-known wildflower enthusiast Roger Rosenberger will offer listeners insight into the upcoming blossom season at the North Lake Tahoe Visitor Center Saturday, May 25.
Rosenberger will give tips on identifying flowers and share some of the many wildflower photos he’s taken over the years. With flowers already blooming, he may suggest a few special locations to spot the blooms, though this year is not expected to be especially bountiful.
“This wildflower season will be early and short,” Rosenberger said in an email. “While most all the flowers will bloom, they’ll emerge several weeks earlier than usual and be at peak bloom for a very short time.”
The peak season around Lake Tahoe is typically in late July or early August. This year, Rosenberger expects it to start in late June and be gone before the end of July. Nonetheless, Lake Tahoe is home to hundreds of species of flowers, some of which do well during drier years.
“The flowers that do best in dry times are those that enjoy the open dry areas here at Tahoe,” Rosenberger said. “A few of these are the Mariposa lily, mule’s ear, mints and the tiny whisker brush.”
The famously blue Camas Lilies that cover meadows in blankets of azure won’t do so well this year, Rosenberger said. But they’ll still make a showing, he added.
Rosenberger has written several books on the wildflowers of the Tahoe Basin. Most recently, “Tahoe Wildflowers” was published in 2009 through Blurb Books. From finding his favorites, the garishly orange scarlet fritillary, to using a magnifying glass to realize the beauty of tiny flowers, like brook saxifrage, his wildflower stories are many. Rosenberger recalls finding the phantom orchid for the first time.
“They are very rare around Tahoe and I could not find one for many years,” he said. “Then a friend called and informed me that the phantom could be found in an area just outside Nevada City.”
Rosenberger, a true to his home, considers going outside of Lake Tahoe to tick off wildflower species from his regional life list to be cheating. But he did take the trip, found the flower and received an unexpected surprise when he went to photograph the bloom.
“The bliss quickly faded when I felt this pain shooting up my legs,” Rosenberger remembered. “I had sat on a nest of ground bees. They only got me three times as I rushed for cover. I did get my pictures, but at a price, which shows you should never cheat.”
Dylan Silver, Lake Tahoe Action