As the song says, “June is bustin’ out all over,” and as usual, it is a glorious month. I believe it to be the most beautiful month of the year.
After the fickle weather of April and May when we begin to think summer will never come, June arrives in all her glory. Overnight, everything is green. Nothing can equal the lush growth of June.
In two days,, the dead tan of last year’s growth is covered by this year’s new grass, and the hillsides are green. Willows suddenly open their buds and green leaves fill the valleys.
Flat-bottomed, whipped cream clouds sail across the bluest of blue skies. The days are still a bit cool but are great for hiking and exploring the outdoors. Many wildflowers are beginning to appear. It is a glorious time to be in the great outdoors.
One of the better places nearby to look for wildflowers is Red Rocks Park. This Denver park has traditionally been known for its wildflowers. Due to its location at the junction of the plains and the mountains, it contains both high prairie and mountain plants.
Unfortunately, many of our wildflowers find it difficult to compete with the weed grasses that have moved into many of our meadows. Smooth brome and cheat grass have become so well established in many areas that the wildflowers are being crowded out, unable to compete with their shade or compact root systems.
I have watched many flowers disappear from my own yard over the nearly 50 years I have lived in this house, not because they were over-picked, but because they could not compete with the turf of smooth brome and other weeds.
Pasque flowers were abundant on our hillside, Nelson’s delphinium grew in my neighbor’s yard, Rocky Mountain iris covered many acres of damp mountain meadows with blue in June, and whisk broom parsley grew between the ponderosa pines, their yellow lace flowers and whisk broom leaves sticking up out of late spring snows.
Our yards were all natural wildflower gardens that have mostly disappeared today due to mowing and invading weed grasses. Soon, I fear, all of the yards will be mowed and landscaped, and the wildflowers will be no more.
Another of my favorite June flowers is the wild blue flax that grew well in my garden and on the hillside where it had planted itself. Now, after three drought summers, I haven’t found any this spring. They open a new flower every day, which is the clearest blue. The plant stems are thin and wiry, therefore the blossoms sway with the slightest breeze. They are growing flax for the seed oil in the Boulder area, so we are likely to see more of the cultivated flax coming up around the area.
Our flower season is short, so enjoy it while it lasts. By August, the fall blooms appear and then ice begins to freeze the tundra ponds. When the white arctic gentians bloom at Summit Lake, the snow soon follows, and the magic of flower bloom will be gone for another year.