Last year, I maintained a running thread at the Peak Gardening Help blog (http://peakgardening.wordpress.com) providing updates on what was blooming each week in the northern section of Monument Valley Park in Colorado Springs, Colorado. You can read those posts at http://peakgardening.wordpress.com/?s=blooming+monument+valley+park.

This year, we’ve had much less natural rainfall, and the bloom picture is quite different. But I still want to keep up my effort to report on what is blooming (or any other interesting plant happenings) in the northern (more wild) section of the park. As a certified Colorado Native Plant Master and advocate of keeping part of the park “wild,” I think it’s important to have a long-term (many years) picture of what goes on plant-wise in the park. But rather than add those posts to the already very active Peak Gardening blog, I’ve brought them home to my personal blog.

So here is a wrap-up of what has gone on this spring. (It will be useful to open or print the map with areas labeled with my names for them. Click on it for a larger version.):
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April 23-30:

Purple mustard (Chorispora tenella) blooming along the middle path of the big loop. (Alien)

Apple tree blooming at the turnaround patch at the north border of the park. (Alien)

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Chorispora tenella

Shrubs blooming along the top of the Boddington playing field. I’ve not had success identifying these yet and will need to give them further attention. (Flower is white with five petals and flowers are in clusters of three.)

May 1-8:

Golden currant (Ribes aureum) blooming in the big area between the middle and eastern paths of the big loop (more towards the northern end). (Native)

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Ribes aureum

Hackberries blooming around the big stone stair structure (thanks WPA!) between the Uintah bridge and the big playing field that is just south of the Fontanero trail entrance. The structure is the entrance from Columbia St. (Alien)

May 10:

Chiming bells (Mertensia lanceolata) – There are two small clumps blooming just west of the triangle. (Native)

Wild onions (Allium textile) – Lots of onions are in bud along the stone-lined drainage ditch. There may be others that I’m not seeing in other parts of the park yet. (Native)

Evening primrose (possible Oenothera caespitosa) – The first one is blooming along the same drainage ditch. One of the big noticeable differences between this year in last is the number of evening primroses. Many areas were covered with these last year. (Native)

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Mertensia lanceolata

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Allium textile

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Oenothera caespitosa

May 17:

Chokecherries (Padus virginiana) are just starting to go from bud to bloom. There is a large stand of them along the north edge of the middle path of the big loop. They are late this year! (Native)

Golden currant (Ribes aureum) is still blooming in the same place as the previous two weeks. (Native)

Wild onions (Allium textile) are now blooming by the ditch. I’m seeing more of these in bud along the middle part of the trail of the big loop too and up in the meadow field. (Native)

Astragalus shortianus is now blooming in the meadow field. This was one of the first things I noticed last year. It is blooming considerably later this year. (Native)

Chiming bells (Mertensia lanceolata) are still blooming across (west) from the triangle. (Native)

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Astragalus shortianus

**I saw a bonus flock of chipping sparrows near the Fontanero parking lot!**

May 31:

Yellow sweetclover (Melilotus officinale) is now blooming along the trail between the Uintah bridge and the Fonatanero access trail. This trail is south of what is covered on my map. (Alien)

Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) is also blooming along that same trail. I see it starting to show up (not yet blooming) nearly every where else too. (Alien – escaped agricultural plant)

Wild onion (Allium textile) is now blooming in the little patch by the fox den! It is also blooming in the triangle, in the meadow field, and along the ditch. (Native)

Fringed puccoon (Lithospermum incisum) is also blooming in that same clearing near the fox den. Additionally, there are a few blooming up in the meadow field too. (Native)

Astragalus shortianus is still blooming in the meadow field. (Native)

There is a small erigeron (Erigeron colo-mexicanus) now blooming in many places (look specifically along the top east path of the big loop). (Native)

Western spiderwort (Tradescantia occidentalis) – Finally! The first spiderwort is blooming in the area near the stone-lined ditch. It is pretty short compared to last year’s blooms. (Native)

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Melilotus officinale

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Medicago sativa

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Lithospermum incisum

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Erigeron colo-mexicanus

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Tradescantia occidentalis

Many thanks to easterncoloradowildflowers.com for the photos of Chorispora tenella, Ribes aureum, Mertensia lanceolata, and Melilotus officinale. All other photos are my own.

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