Gaura coccinea

It’s been about six weeks since my last post. In that one, I was nearly breathless with excitement over some of the early blooms in the park. (See last post.) Well, now things have slowed down a bit, and those things that bloomed early also finished early. We’re staying quite dry and abnormally hot for this time of year. As many know, we have a HUGE wildfire burning about one hundred miles away, and my last visit to the park was a rather smoky experience.

But here is what has been blooming over the past six weeks in the north end of Monument Valley Park (which I define as the area north of the Fontanero entrance). And here is a MAP which shows the areas to which I sometimes refer.

May 12, 2012

– The first New Mexico locusts (Robinia neomexicana) are starting to bloom on the hill on the mid-path. They always make such a nice display. These are several weeks early, often starting bloom in early June. (Alien – but native to New Mexico)

May 21, 2012

– Now the New Mexico locusts (Robinia neomexicana) are peaking on the hill on the middle path. (Alien – but native to New Mexico)

– Lots of evening primrose blooming in many places. In fact, just a bit south of the area I usually write about, I’ve seen Oenothera caespitosa blooming in large numbers. (Native)

Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) is also blooming all over the north part of the park. (Alien – escaped agricultural plant)

– At the fox den area, there still just a bit of fringed puccoon (Lithospermum incisum) blooming, some past-peak wild onions (Allium textile), and finally some small evening primrose (possibly Oenothera albicaulis). (All Native)

– In the wildflower meadow field, the same plants are blooming as at the fox den area PLUS an astragalus that is finishing up (I suspect Astragalus shortianus). (Native)

– At the stone drainage ditch, there is a western spiderwort (Tradescantia occidentalis) blooming very well. (Native)
Additionally, the first threadleaf yellowrays (Thelesperma filifolium) are blooming!(Native)
And, a cowboy’s delight (Sphaeralcea coccinea) in blooms! Yay! (Native)

May 25, 2012

– Many of the same plants are blooming as listed for May 21, but more of them. Lots more evening primrose (Oenothera spp.) everywhere. More western spiderwort (Tradescantia occidentalis) blooming, in the ditch and west of the playing field. More threadleaf yellowrays (Thelesperma filifolium) blooming in the ditch and west of the playing field. (All Native)

– New plants include a big ol’ dalmation toadflax (Linaria dalmatica) blooming west across the path from the triangle. I will dig this up after my group wildflower walk in a week. (Noxious weed list B). Also, scarlet gaura (Gaura coccinea) is blooming along the edge of the ditch. (Native). And the Japanese tree lilacs (Syringa reticulata) are starting their bloom all over the north end of the park. (Alien). Just beautiful!

June 4, 2012

A teeny bit of rain has made a difference and we’re seeing more weeds coming up. One that is blooming is the yellow sweetclover (Melilotus officinalis) along all of the paths. (Alien). Also, the smooth brome (Bromopsis inermis) that was probably planted for erosion control towards the north end of the east and middle paths is getting tiny little yellow flowers that you can see! (rare for a grass). (Alien).

But others are showing up too:
Showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) is blooming along the east side of the east path, north of the playing field. It won’t be long before it is blooming at the turn-around point too. (Native)
– The pretty little four-o-clock (Oxybaphus nyctagineus) is blooming early in the morning (so it can’t tell time) just across from the milkweed. This is in many places in the north end of the park though, so it will start blooming there too. (Native)
Prairie evening primrose (Oenothera albicaulis), western spiderwort (Tradescantia occidentalis), and woods rose (Rosa woodsii) are all now blooming in the wildflower meadow. (Natives)
Threadleaf yellowrays (Thelesperma filifolium) is now blooming in the wildflower meadow, the ditch, and west of the playing field. (Native)
Japanese tree lilacs (Syringa reticulata) are still blooming everywhere. (Alien)
Cowboy’s delight (Sphaeralcea coccinea) is now blooming more heavily by the ditch. (Native)
Evening primrose (Oenothera spp.) blooming more along the ditch.
– Big patches of scarlet gaura (Gaura coccinea) are now blooming along the middle path, west of the playing field, and along the ditch. It’s really making a big showing this year! (Native)

June 14, 2012

Feathery gaura (Gaura mollis) now blooming just north of the fox den area on the east side of the middle path as well as long the east path. (Native)
– One penstemon (Penstemon spp.) is finally blooming west of the playing field (Native)
Showy milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa), four-o-clocks (Oxybaphus nyctagineus), threadleaf yellowrays (Thelesperma filifolium), evening primrose (Oenothera spp.), and western spiderwort (Tradescantia occidentalis) are all still blooming in their usual areas. (All Native)
Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) is still blooming everywhere. (Alien)