SANTA MARGARITA — This year’s sixth annual Santa Margarita Wildflower Festival, originally scheduled for Saturday March 25, was unfortunately cancelled due to personal, family issues, event organizer Jill Gallagher said.
“The event, although it hasn’t always necessarily been annual, is my own creation,” Gallagher said, adding that she’s planning to organize another festival next year with a tentative date of March 24, 2018.
Last year’s event, which ran all day from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., included a day full of activities. While there was a Wildflower photo contest on display until late in the afternoon, the festival opened with and focused on educational learning opportunities. Topics included general Santa Margarita historical stories, gardening tips, protecting wildlife, developing worm compost and several others.
Although Santa Margarita is just a few miles east of Highway 101, it is not far from the famous Carrizo Plain National Monument. A large enclosed grassland, the Carrizo Plain often experiences absolutely breath-taking wildflowers. Naturally, the Santa Margarita Wildflower Festival embraces this opportunity and encourages visitors to make the drive.
“We provide visitors with a map to the Carrizo Plain National Monument, and teach them about general wildflower etiquette and wildflower hunting,” Gallagher said.
Simone Smith, another local retail gardener from Santa Margarita, embraces that same spirit of wildflower etiquette.
“I’ve been a plant fanatic all my life,” Smith said. “Growing up my parents took us to National Parks and the outdoors has been something I’ve enjoyed ever since.”
This year, for the first time ever, Smith has been hosting weekly Wildflower Wednesdays, where she meets with locals and visitors alike, to discuss all things wildflowers.
“We usually cover two to three kinds that are currently in bloom and where they can be found,” Smith said. “My goal though, with these sessions, is to stress the idea that wildflowers come in a progression throughout an entire season.”
Smith hopes to help people understand that wildflowers themselves, are not a one-time-thing, and are in fact quite the opposite.
“Overall, I just want to share with others how to not only embrace, but also help protect our natural environment (here on the Central Coast,)” Smith said.
For more information contact Jill Gallagher at [email protected] or call (805)235-2129. To contact Simone Smith call (805)438-4250.