MAP – Here is the helpful map of the north part of the park. I use the areas I’ve labeled on the map to organize my posts.

While it continues to be a minimal bloom year in the park, it has received nearly 2 inches of rain since my last post. So the grasses greened up quickly and some weeds have certainly taken advantage of the moisture. But we’re still not seeing the usual bloom for this time in the park. I suspect many plants have decided to take the year off, and those that were mowed down (see last post) aren’t giving it a second try.

But! There still are a few things to see….Lots of western spiderwort (Tradescantia occidentalis, native) is blooming after the rains. You can see it in the fox den area (see map above), and along the middle path in many places. There is also some up on the east path just across the path from the playing field.

Tradescantia occidentalis

Tradescantia occidentalis

You can also see two varieties of evening primrose if you go early enough in the day. At the fox den path, cutleaf evening primrose (Oenothera coronopifolia, native) is blooming. And up on the edge of the wildflower meadow field (that was mowed last month), you can see a handful of stemless evening primrose (Oenothera caespitosa, native).

Oenothera coronopifolia

Oenothera coronopifolia

Oenothera caespitosa

In the stone drainage ditch near the parking area, threadleaf yellowrays (Thelesperma filifolium, native) continue to bloom. This usually blooms all along the east path, but this year it has confined itself to the ditch.

Thelesperma filifolium

Finally, the biggest bloom display is, unfortunately, coming from a noxious weed. Bouncingbet (Saponaria officinalis, alien) is blooming in HUGE numbers in between the east and middle paths near the north end of the park (towards the turn-around patch). At this point, it really is beautiful, but it will start to take on a dingy color soon! This plant resembles garden phlox, but is not related to it at all. Look at the leaves and you’ll see three main veins running from bottom to tip; garden phlox only has one. As with many noxious weeds, this plant is an “escaped ornamental,” meaning it was once sold in garden centers before we realized how invasive it was. It can be seen in many, many places in town, including, but not limited to the following: gardens in the Old North End neighborhood, the road from the zoo up to the Will Rogers shrine, Garden of the Gods, etc.

Saponaria officinalis