You already know that San Juan Island is perhaps my favorite place on earth, and the California poppies that grow wild at Cattle Point are just one of the many reasons why. I actually started this sketch on an earlier trip, and came back to this spot exactly one year later to finish it. And it’s a good thing I did, because after the super-wet winter we had on the West Coast, I’ve never seen quite this many poppies in bloom before. After I finished the sketch, I just sat there on the hillside for another half hour or so, not wanting to break the spell of such a perfect moment.
While lavender will always remind me of the Pacific Northwest, I’ll forever associate hollyhocks with Santa Fe. Maybe it was being there during their peak season last summer—or maybe I love Georgia O’Keeffe too much. Either way, for me hollyhocks will always go best with adobe, rather than English cottages.
Here in the Northwest, we’re in the thick of my favorite season right now. I don’t mean summer, per se, but lavender season. Our climate is pretty much perfectly suited to growing lavender, so other than maybe the south of France, there’s no better place to stand on a purple hillside, awash in scent.
I love summer in the Northwest, and I love drawing stripes—so you can imagine how happy I am when the two come together perfectly. If you’re ever in this part of the world in late July or early August, head up to the Olympic Peninsula and bask in the lavender fields. Between the buzzing pollinators, the fragrant blossoms, the sunny rain-shadow climate and the mountain scenery, you’ll find yourself experiencing the best summer day anyone could ask for.