Meadows come alive with wildflower colors

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By Sylvia Brockner

June is such an amazing month. Everything is making record growth and suddenly seems so full.

The valleys that were bare all winter are now full of green willow leaves. Aspen are in full leaf; suddenly everything appears over-stuffed. It is a pleasure to see the spring green, which makes everything come alive.

My long-time friend, Lynne Price, came today to take me out for a brief ride. We drove over to Alderfer-Three Sisters Open Space Park to see the iris in bloom. The iris were formerly much more common there than they are now. Much of the meadow is closer than it used to be and smooth brome grass has replaced some of the iris.

While it is still lovely, it is not anywhere near as spectacular as it used to be. I fear that before long there will be nothing but smooth brome in our mountain meadows, for this tough grass seems to crowd out everything else.

In just a brief trip, we saw many species of wildflowers and garden flowers in bloom. White chickweed was sprinkled all through the grasses, and white pussytoes glowed in the sun.

Yellow was the predominant color of the day, with masses of whisk-broom parsley, golden banner, dandelions and salsify all along the way.

The intense blue of blue-mist penstemon covered many a rocky hillside, and blue flax was at its peak, looking like a piece of Colorado sky had fallen. Blue flax opens a new fresh flower every morning, which is the purest blue. The old flower fades, sometimes as early as noon in hot weather, but each day brings a new bloom on the stalk to open with the truest blue that can be found in a flower.

The gardens below the Evergreen Lake dam were exquisite. They are maintained by the Evergreen Garden Club. The community should appreciate all of the work the club members do. The gardens are lovely right now, with pink and blue lupine, blue perennial bachelor buttons and large clumps of chives bringing in the blues and purples.

We also saw a few mule deer both at Alderfer and at Elk Run. The elk antlers are just about fully grown, but are still in velvet. It shouldn’t be long before these are shed and the new, shiny, strong antlers will be ready for fall

The spring migration seems to be about over. I now have nine birds on my list for Elk Run. I probably could add a few more if I could get out and walk, but I still need to use a walker and it doesn’t have large enough wheels for me to get around on rough ground.

Near my window, a drainage ditch for two big parking lots empties into a little low area, where a miniature cattail marsh has formed. The cattails finally have sent up new green shoots and are now nearly two feet high. The rate of growth in cattails is amazing to me. They find any bit of moist ground because their seeds are carried by wind.

Although this bit of marsh is no more than 10 feet in diameter, its cattails are growing well, and a pair of red-winged blackbirds has claimed it. The male sings constantly from the top of a cattail or from the nearby aspen.

The female bird does most of the nest-building and incubating, but the male does help with the feeding of the young.

It is interesting to see many things happening outside of one window when you don’t have anything to do but to watch. Enjoy the summer.