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Pacific Grove Blooms: The Return of the Magic Carpet

Pacific Grove Blooms: The Return of the Magic Carpet

Fleeting though it is, the Magic Carpet is perhaps the one feature of Pacific Grove that puts it on the map for visitors before all other attractions in the city. It is a phenomenon unique to Pacific Grove, one that generates more phone-calls to local hotels than any other terrestrial occurrence in the County. Simply-put, its blooming, every year from mid-April to late May, is one of the things that makes Pacific Grove stand out among coastal cities, it is the keystone in the arch of the area’s stunning coastline.

Pacific Grove is situated at the tip of the Monterey Peninsula, an area with no shortage of often spellbinding natural beauty. What sets Pacific Grove apart from its more famous neighbors, Monterey and its Cannery Row and Fisherman’s Wharf; Carmel-By-The-Sea and its dining and shopping scene  is Pacific Grove’s shoreline. While Monterey is studded with traffic-heavy coastal attractions and Carmel has its famous white-sand beach, the shoreline at these two better-known destinations just cannot stand up to the unhindered natural beauty found on Pacific Grove’s coastline. A traveler could count on one hand the number of buildings in Pacific Grove that touch the water. Exactly five, spread very far apart. Without question, it is Pacific Grove’s ease of access to its shoreline and the pristine, undeveloped condition of that area that sets Pacific Grove’s coastline apart from many others up and the down the California Coast. Part of what makes that access so special, and worth preserving for both locals and visitors alike, is the annual Magic Carpet bloom every spring.

South African drosanthemum floribundum is a perennial plant of the ice plant variety. While less aggressive than it’s commonly thought of cousin, the ice plant that graces Pacific Grove’s shoreline (and a few smaller pockets of Monterey County turf) blooms every spring. It typically comes out in mid-April, completely blanketing the coastline in popping pink hues by the early and middle weeks of May and lasting into June. The city of Pacific Grove planted the ice plant in the early 1900s when a railroad crowned the coastline and continues to maintain it, providing irrigation, a full-time maintenance staffer and plenty of signage encouraging locals and visitors alike to remain on the numerous walking paths in the area. In a good year it earns its name, looking much like a literal carpet and densely covering the coastline in brilliant magenta hues. An unusually wet February has produced spectacular blooms throughout California and while Pacific Grove is often a little late to the super-bloom stampede of Spring in California, this year promises to be a good one for those seeking the Magic Carpet. The bright blooms have already started to peak out and many more are eagerly anticipated.