Where Did All the Flowers Go?

Aquilegia_Colorado Columbine_Emerald Valley-EPCo-CO_LAH_5416rWhere did the wildflowers go? It was the end of June, and we were making our annual pilgrimage along  the trail through Emerald Valley, on the slopes of Pikes Peak. This time we weren’t just looking for birds, but for blooms and bugs as well—in fact, the birds were the least of our priorities. There were bugs, especially as the day warmed, and we saw some excellent birds, but where were the flowers?

Emerald Valley usually has a wide assortment of wildflower species, including many of my favorites—Colorado Columbine, Shooting Stars, various Penstemons, and three species of orchid. This year, columbines were in short supply, the only Shooting Stars were creekside in the moist soil, and I didn’t see a single clematis blossom.


Birding the City

Western Scrub Jay_CBC_COS_LAH_8753-001“Two juncos.”
“OK, what kind?”
“One Grey-backed, one Pink-sided—oops, there go half a dozen more! Were they Slate-sided?”
“Oh, I can’t tell! Just write down eight Juncos!”
“Over there—that looks like a Bushtit. And another, and… there must be 50 of them in that bush!”

Counting birds isn’t always easy, but that what I did Saturday. I was participating in Audubon’s 114th Christmas Bird Count, something I’ve done off and on for the past ten years, ever since I discovered the joys of birding.


Come See My Photos!

Lake Agnes_COStateForestSP_LAH_8222 p_filt 24 x 36 gallery wrapI am ridiculously excited. Mission Coffee Roasters and Cafe, offering the best coffee in Colorado Springs (and maybe the world), is hosting my photographs from now through the end of April. There are over a dozen prints of all sizes, from an 8-inch square framed portrait of a Flamingo to huge, 2 by 3-foot gallery wraps of some of my favorite landscapes. They’re all on display, and they’re all for sale.


Visit the Carnegie Library Garden

carnegielib-cospgsco_lah_9982The Carnegie Library Garden may be one of downtown Colorado Springs’ best kept secrets. That’s a shame, because it is truly a gem. This is one of several public gardens featuring water-wise plants especially suited for our climate and soils. It was designed by landscape architect and master gardener Carla Anderson, and is maintained by a team of dedicated volunteers.

rosa-hyb-pinata_carnegielib-cospgsco_lah_0081Blossoms abound throughout the growing season. When I visited last month, red and yellow ‘Lena’ broom was beginning to fade, while several types of Mockorange were in full bloom. Rosettes of huge, fuzzy, silver Salvia leaves were topped with tall white or purple flower stalks, and brilliant Colorado Gold hardy gazanias were everywhere. An arbor with a built-in bench supports a beautiful pink climbing rose, while honeysuckle grows on up a nearby trellis. By the time you read this, new plants will be in bloom; it’s worth coming back for repeat visits.