Sunday, June 15, 2014


One of the things that's always fascinated me about Green Mountain is how this 1000' hill can create its own weather.  Numerous times as I'd drive home on 6th Avenue, it would be raining as I got off the freeway, but by the time I had driven another couple miles and gone up a couple hundred feet, we were in a blizzard.

The same thing makes for some interesting places to look for unusual wildflowers.  One of my favorites is Coyote Creek, the name we gave the drainage just west of the water tank at the end of Virginia Drive on the north side of the mountain.  (There were coyote pups being raised there our first summer here.)   This drainage faces north and is steep, so it's well shaded.  It's about the only place on the mountain where aspens, maples and hops can be found.  There are a few others, like False Solomon Seal and Poppy Mallow can be found.  These are usually found higher in the foothills.
False Solomon Seal or Wild Lily of the Valley (Maianthemum stellatum)
There are lots of spots where the wildflowers are more prolific that aren't quite as dramatic as this.  Most of them involve a north-facing slope, so the moisture is retained a little longer in the soil.  Other areas are dry enough to provide a different mini-environment such as some of the exposed areas on the south side where the Mountain Ball Cactus thrive.  Some of these spots are the first to warm up in the Spring, so the early flowers will be out there first.

As far as what's new on the mountain the week, Mariposa Lilies and Prickly Poppies are out in abundance.  These will be around for a few weeks and are some of the most interesting of the summer blooms.  
Mariposa (or Sego) Lily (Calochorus gunnisonii)

Prickly Poppy (Argemone polyanthemos)

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