Wildflowers are extremely scarce this spring here in Tucson following the severe winter drought of 2005/2006 (a complete lack of winter rain), and thus the best places to find them are at the edges of irrigated areas and in wet drainage areas.

This February, I discovered a strange but wonderful spot for wildflowers, the drainage ditches and vacant lots near the bank parking lots on the northwest corner of Broadway Boulevard and Houghton Road. Many of our common wildflowers are blooming there, like this Spreading Fleabane (Erigeron divergens).

Spreading Fleabane (Erigeron divergens)

The numerous Goldenhills or Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa) there were covered in golden flowers.

Goldenhills or Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa)

Scattered in the drainage ditch were blue-flowered Desertbells (Phacelia campanularia) and yellow-orange California Poppies (Eschscholzia californica).

Desertbells (Phacelia campanularia) and California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica)

Pink Parry's Beardtongues (Penstemon parryi) and bright yellow Desert Marigolds (Baileya multiradiata) were also blooming in this unlikely spot.

Parry's Beardtongue (Penstemon parryi) and Desert Marigold (Baileya multiradiata)

All of these wildflowers are normally so common here that I wouldn't be excited at seeing any of them, but in this horribly dry year, I was absolutely thrilled to find them. Even this small scattering of accidental wildflowers is a bright spot of joy in our otherwise drab and withered spring.