Glowing Golden Chrysothamnus

I know I’ve said it before, but when the Rabbitbrush is in full bloom, its rich golden color seems to glow.  Maybe it’s the way the depth of the flowers in those terminal cymes let the light bounce around and intensify. Click on the photo for a closer view.

Natives Can Take the Heat

I’m sure you’ve heard the US has experienced the hottest July on record, and over half of the country is in drought. Corn farmers are plowing their crops under as they shrivel in the dry soil and intense sun. Food prices are expected to rise. I was not comforted as I hiked through our horse…

Horton Hears a Who

I count three kinds of insects doing their job in this Mariposa Lily, or Calochortus nuttallii. A small, beautiful world. Click on a photo to see it at higher resolution.

Ready for Take Off

These seeds are ready for take off. As kids we all enjoyed the Dandelions in the yard. How magical it was to blow on the seed heads and watch the little parachutes take flight. As an adult I am amazed at the perfection of design of this family of flowers commonly called Composites, of the…

Penstemons I Have Known

In my last post I documented a few Penstemons I have successfully grown in my home landscape. As I hike the local area I have come across some other Penstemon species native to Central Wyoming and the Bighorn Mountains. I’d like to share a few photos. The Penstemon genus is quite varied, but the tubular…

Penstemons I Have Grown

The world of Wyoming Penstemons is a whirlwind of pinks, purples, and blues. They intrigue me because they grow and blossom in some of the most inhospitable soils Wyoming can dish out; sand, rock, clay, windswept hillsides, fully exposed southern faces. Their ability to beautify the extremely inhospitable is always a wonderful surprise, and they…

Fireweed, Chamerion angustifolium

Chamerion angustifolium, commonly called Fireweed, since it is an early colonizer after wildfires, is found across North America in all but the southeastern U.S.  Its native range includes a wide range of average annual precipitation, so it should do well in the moderately watered home garden or landscape. Fireweed flowers are a brilliant magenta to…

Native Flowering Shrub for Western Landscapes

Fellow western blogger Big Sky Ken, made a stop at Ayers Natural Bridge and posted  his photos. The post reminded me of my stop there in July when the Holodiscus dumosus was in full bloom. Ocean Spray is a native Wyoming shrub that deserves much more attention and development for the landscaping market. It is…

Saint Patricks Trivia and Gardening in the West

A very successful non-native species often seen in Wyoming and arid gardens is Artemisia ‘Powis Castle.’ It probably originated in the Mediterranean region, but it became popular when it was planted at Powis Castle in Wales, Wales being one of the leading best guesses for the birth place of St. Patrick. Powis Castle is a…

Wild Bergamot, A Showy Native Mint

Monarda fistulosa is commonly called Horsemint, Wild Bergamot, and Bee Balm. As with many native plants found in the Rocky Mountains and Western Plains,  it was used  by Native Americans to treat a variety of ailments, from headaches to bronchitis. Even today it is used as a component in some herbal tea mixes, and the…

Winter Watering in Wyoming and the High Plains

Last week we  had three days in a row above 40 degrees F. With no snow cover, this was a perfect time to water shrubs, trees and perennials in the yard. The forecast for Central Wyoming for the first week of 2012 looks good for another opportunity for winter watering. In the high plains, winter…

Why I Don’t Use Ornamental Grasses

Over the last five years I’ve seen ornamental grasses go from being unique to common around my town. Most of the newer homes and businesses in my area of central Wyoming have some ornamental grasses. Even though I encourage friends to use grasses, and I was a fan from the start,  I have shied away…