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Showing posts from March, 2014

The hardy Palm Trees of Colorado.

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Palm trees are generally thought of as Tropical plants, restricted to humid, warm winter regions. Obviously, most people are not aware that there are many iron-clad species, such as this small colony that once grew along Monaco Avenue in Denver, a short ways south of Evans. Despite being planted in a rather exposed microclimate, with a deep sandy soil, these throve for many years: I would admire them as I drove by year in year out, their graceful, bending forms and rigidly proud fronds outstretched with an almost military rigidity: what's not to like? Then a day came when I noticed the sign....

 It should have worried me that the restaurant where these where originally planted was rarely patronized...the pressures of development on our endemic urban Arecaceae cannot be overestimated. Not too many weeks passed by before I discovered they were now extinct. Surely the rarest Ironclad, silver Arecas in the region (if not the world) have now joined the Dodo and the Liberal Wing of th…

My sweet Wyomin' home...featuring the blue phlox of Wyoming

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This picture happens to be in my garden, but I have a whole suite of shots of this lovely phlox I photographed on top of Medicine Bow Pass in the incomparable Snowy Mountains of Wyoming. Hard to believe one can depart Denver, skim past the Front Range megalopolis, drive to the Laramie Plains full of steppe-climate treasures, and then traverse the montane and subalpine and arrive at a vast tapestry of this Phlox, Eritrichium, glacier lilies galore in about two hours. Most years I make the trip two or three times, usually in late June and July. But this incredibly sweet smelling phlox that varies from icy pale blue to deep purple shades is always a grail...





 Here is that vista, from on of my many favorite "sweet Wyomin' homes"-- a place I have come to again and again over the past four or five decades. I am actually imagining the smell so vividly of this phlox, a fragrance that wafts up on warmish days (it's NEVER hot up there) and envelopes you with a strangely tropi…

The other state cactus...

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Recently, a bill in the Colorado Legislature was introduced and subsequently passed nominating Echinocereus triglochidiatus as Colorado's state cactus. Now, I have to say that no one is more fond of claret cups than I am: I probably have a few dozen planted around my house. I have sought them out in every state where they grow, and when they bloom, I hover as expectantly as a hummingbird over them, although perhaps with less efficacy. But claret cups are even more abundant in Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Nevada and California than in our state where they are concentrated along the Western plateaux west of the Continental Divide at modest elevations, with a second population hugging the foothills of the Eastern slope.

Pediocactus simpsonii occurs in other states too, I aver. But I am quite sure if you gathered all the simpsonii in the other states where they occur and weighed them, they'd be a fraction of what occurs in our state. Colorado is the epicenter, the Omphalos, t…

Palmengarten in Frankfurt: A snapshot in early May, 2013

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Few things are more cliché (think Henry James) than pointing out how sophisticated Europeans are compared to us American rubes--but surely, what American botanic garden would show a frog emerging from a pitcher plant pitcher on the back of a bus? The Germans possess a level of cool and botanical class that beggars my imagination (for one). This is a truly Chekhovian teaser for a monumental botanic garden. Palmengarten is as good as it gets. And of course, my camera battery gave out and I had no backups, so you must endure Jan Fahs' much better pictures than mine (I'd be showing mug shots of a ton of obscure rarities, while Jan clicked the essence, my sweetheart!). This is a snapshot in early spring: imagine the kaleidoscopic changes through the season! Enjoy...
Jan managed a few mug shots as well: like this elegant horse chestnut:  I saw no evidence yet at Frankfurt of bleeding canker, Pseudomonas syringae pv. aesculi a dread bacterium that is affecting the genus throughout E…