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Category Archives: wildflowers

Yesterday was our sixth wedding anniversary! To celebrate, we hiked to our wedding spot and then on to Aspen Lake. It was a gloriously warm morning – we are finally getting nice weather. The wildflowers are at the peak of their bloom. Yes, it really was that vibrant. Bird song filled the air.

We have had some really marvelous warm spring weather in the last week or two. Temperatures into the 70’s and light to steady breezes quickly melted the snow and out of the wet ground sprouted delightful tiny wildflowers. Lots of insects hatched attracting lots of birds and the honey bees have been busy on the willow catkins, gathering pollen for their hives. For nearly a week I’d go outside a couple times a day and search for my former nemesis wildflower – steershead or Dicentra uniflora – and I was delighted to find it. As the snow line descended down into our draw, I found more and more of tiny plants with flowers the size of a dime. How could they have been here all these years and I never saw them til last year. Were they tucked under the bitterbrush that burned in 2014? Or did the fire stimulate seeds that may have laid dormant?

We were at Tiffany for the peak of the fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium) bloom! This tall lavender-pink perennial often comes in after a fire. The Tripod fire burned there nearly ten years ago and the fireweed is still very abundant. I was surprised to learn that its pollen turns blue as the flowers mature. The dogs were spotted with the fine powdery blue pollen. Lots of the wildflowers had mostly finished blooming but we did find some colorful blooms to entertain us along the way.

It’s been kind of a difficult last month or so with the loss of my mother-in-law and other more minor challenges and I haven’t found myself doing much photography for fun. And I’m also into the start of a busy wedding photography season so I seldom even pick up a camera for fun unless it’s the cell phone, always in my pocket. You can see what I’ve been doing with that right here.

Yesterday, despite a sore back, I made myself take the big DSLR on a walk around our hill and find something, anything to photograph. There are still some wildflowers around and the weeds are abundant. While we have made a good dent in the knapweed/barnaby and the mullein, other undesirable species are flourishing. Maybe next year we can take on some new ones.

Dicentra uniflora – Steershead or longhorn steer’s-head. As long as I have lived here, nearly seven years now, I have wanted to see this tiny wildflower. I told people I knew who had seen it that I’d really, really like to see one. I searched in vain on my own for it. Last year, with good advice from an ‘authority’ I scoured all over our hillside. He’d seen them on Signal Hill, the next road downstream from here and he thought I had a good chance of finding it. All to no avail. The tiny plant blooms as soon as the snow melts. When we left on our vacation, snow covered our hill. when we returned, it was all gone. I was overwhelmed with stuff to do but continued to look. Others had already seen it in different places. I knew it was out there. I photographed leaves and shared the images with others. No, they said, that’s not it. Darn. Another friend searched in the hills above Wenatchee. And then, yesterday. Yesterday, I found one still in bloom. Just feet from our driveway. In my front yard, so to speak. And today I found another. The blooms are faded, for sure, and setting seeds, but there they were. Very obvious. What a relief to be done with this search. I will probably see them everywhere next spring!

 

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