Desert Canterbury Bells

(Phacelia campanularia)

A Desert Canterbury Bell plant with three blooms in the Wildflower Field.

Desert Canterbury Bells was added to the seed mix in 2013, the year after the gardens were installed. A visitor favorite, it has a tall stalk and a bloom that curves away from the stem like a bright blue bell. As a desert annual, it appears between February and April during the Spring bloom. It flowers, disperses seeds, and dies. The seeds that it disperses can either bloom the following year or, in a unique pattern of desert wildflowers, can wait several years for the perfect moment and conditions to germinate. With a preference for good drainage, sun, and dry weather, the wildflower field is a perfect location for the Desert Canterbury Bells.

Its range is within the borders of California’s Mojave and Sonoran deserts, though it is heavily cultivated as an ornamental outside this range.

The Wildflower Field

The wildflower field at Sunnylands is overseeded annually with native wildflowers and bunch grasses. This provides visitors with a view of the larger cyclical bloom cycles that we have in the desert. Starting in February, a variety of native species and bunch grasses begin emerging. Each year the vegetation varies slightly, depending on which seed dominates the space. The field can range in color from purples to oranges, whites, and pinks, with a variety of combinations. We cannot guarantee that all wildflowers will be present each year.


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