Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Summer- week one- June 24

This post is a little late as we just got back from 10 days in Colorado, fleeing the floodwaters. The water is receding somewhat in Iowa City, as we have retreated to the stage of a major flood at this point, rather than the flood of the century. Actually we had that flood 15 years ago so I guess that makes this the flood of this century. Enough of that. The garden is high and dry, with the potted plants even in need of…water. How is that possible?
The pictures I have this week are from Colorado. There really are a lot of them. So bare with me.

For the pictures for the poll I have four wonderful pictures from the wild.

The first picture is some alpine flowers from Cottonwood Pass, elevation 12,000 feet. Even though there was still plenty of snow the west facing side got more sun and these alpine flowers, including the half inch tall forget-me-nots were a real surprise and took my breath away. Maybe it was the altitude.

The second picture was taken about 500 feet down the mountain where the snow was melting away. In the wetter, but sunnier places the first thing to bloom was/is the marsh marigold. I don’t think there has been as inspiring a group of flowers that I have seen in years. What you really need to understand is that these flowers bloom in the midst of this burbling sound from all these little streams coming down the mountain. You can’t separate the two. Well, you can with a still picture. I should have taken a movie, which has sound, but my memory card was almost full.

This next picture is the calypso orchid, which we found almost everywhere. It did ‘t appear is massive presentation. The biggest clumps we found were 3-4 plants. But we found it on almost every hike. I think one of the reasons is that its pink stands out from the rest of the area, which is still mostly brown and green.

Finally here is this wonderful mountain primrose. It grows in the dry parts of the park, including a few plants growing right in the asphalt.

In last week’s poll the clematis and the alium closeup tied for your choice.

So let me share with you some other pictures from Colorado. We usually fly into Denver and then spend spend several hours at the Denver Botanical Gardens. This year we decided that it comes out ahead of everywhere else, including the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis and the Chicago Botanical Gardens in Glencoe, and we really do like those places. There is just so much going on. You go to such as place to enjoy it of course but also to be inspired for your own garden. This year they had this bulb in bloom called eremurus . I have tried to grow it and could not find the right place. I will try again. Here are pictures.

Here are more calypso orchid pictures. The foliage was rather interesting, and sufficiently distinctive that we were able to identify plants that were not yet blooming.

The other orchid that we found was the coralroot orchid. It does not seem to have leaves. It comes up like little red asparagus and then has these little white blooms.

Here are more marsh marigolds. The first picture is also from near the top of Cottonwood pass. It gives you the idea of the extent of these flowers sometimes. The second picture was taken at Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain Park. There was still a lot of snow there. The picture was taken between the walk and the snow bank as the snow bank receded, revealing the flowers. Finally there is a close-up of the marsh marigold.

Here are some individual pictures. There is the very nicely ordered yellow flower called salsify. It is a cousin of the common dandelion. The other yellow flower is a pea called golden banner that is everywhere. Finally there is the flower called, hold onto your hats, … Rocky Mountain Iris. It mostly grows in fields out in the open where there is adequate moisture.

I should stop about here. Let me close with two non flower pictures. The first is from Cottonwood Pass, where you feel like you are on top of the world, which you sort of are. The second is from a sunset at Lily Lake in rocky Mountain National Park.

Enjoy the week.

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