Saturday, June 16, 2012

They're gone; they're still here

I posted photos of this season's Mountain Lady's Slippers beginning May 19.  Shortly afterwards, my out-of-town friends Spencer Dykstra and Charlie Russell visited and posted their photos on the Plumas County's Bloom Blog as well as on their own blogs.  This morning I came across a couple from the Bay Area wandering around the Lady's Slipper site with cameras and looking a bit glum.  You see, the Lady's Slippers have shriveled up and are almost  ready to grow seed pods.  I felt a bit responsible for having lured them up here to photograph flowers.  They said they'd gotten their clues from the Bloom Blog and this blog, and I realized we've never thought to mention when a certain species ceases to bloom.  It would seem strange to start posting "Columbine no longer blooming" and that sort of thing.  There's more excitement in posting what's just beginning to bloom, or about to bloom as I did a couple of days ago.  Any ideas on this, readers?
In any case, the Showy Milkweed is one of the beautiful flowers that has just begun to bloom and they should be blooming for another month in the Quincy area.  The Crimson Columbine have been blooming for a couple of weeks and still look very fresh where I explore.  Should be good for a few more weeks.
As a naturalist, I should point out that the entire life cycles of these plants can be quite interesting, if not always photogenic.  Consider following your favorite wildflowers to the seed pod stage, and even to their methods of dispersal.  The wind-blown ones and the ones that stick to your socks are particularly interesting.  And, of course, after the season of wildflower blooming, my writing and photography on these blog shifts toward bugs, seeds, and more permanent aspects of the landscape - water, rocks, clouds, etc. 
For those who thrive on anticipation as I do, the Leopard Lilies are about to burst forth with orange any day now around the Greenville Y and along the tributaries to Spanish Creek near Oakland Camp.  Berry Creek is my favorite spot to view them.  I'm guessing Monday will be good.


  1. Predicting bloom days is like forecasting weather, isn't it? I've had my eye on some lilies still in the green bud stage, but I know they still have to turn orange before opening their blossoms.

    Calflora has piecharts indicating bloom periods for each species, perhaps when you post a new flower you could just include a vague period of bloom time? As in, "Crimson Columbine, which typically blooms May-July..."

  2. Good idea, but I think I'd be more inclined to reference CalFlora rather than re-post that info myself. Very hot and dry in these parts. All charts will have to be revised! :)

  3. Seems like things are blooming much earlier this year. Found some Mountain Pride (Penstemon newberryi) blooming in April, but usually see it blooming in July. I wonder what this fall/winter will be like, and how the flowers will do next year.

    The other thing I've noticed is that all the native plants in my garden that I planted last year had large blooms last year, but are pygmy this year. Tiny bleeding hearts, tiny penstemon, tiny bush monkeyflower, tiny poppies, tiny columbines... my garden is a world of miniatures.

  4. That's an interesting observation - the miniatures. The closest thing to that I'm seeing in the forest around here is some Salsify blooming only 6" to a foot off the ground. They usually get at least 2-3 feet tall before blooming. Can't say I've seen smaller flowers, just fewer.

  5. The glum bay area couple were all smiles when we found the California Lady's Slipper and Stream Orchids right where you said they would be on Caribou Rd. Thank you so much for your directions. We'll just have to try for the Mountain Lady's Slipper again next year. We had a wonderful long weekend with some great hikes. We both love your area.