Our hot dry summer continues. Within the past month, in the area of Monument Valley Park in Colorado Springs, we experienced fourteen days of 90-plus degree temperatures, with at least five of those days being over 100 degrees. And then, there was the Waldo Canyon fire, which started June 23 and was a presence for almost two weeks. After the homes burned in the Mountain Shadows neighborhood on June 26 and 27, large pieces of burned paper dropped all over the north part of park.

So, not surprisingly, the blooms are a bit sparse right now. A storm with 0.75″ of rain on July 8 has given the weeds a bit of a boost, but I haven’t noticed much in the way of new blooms.

Throughout the north part of the park, you can currently see the following plants blooming:
Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) – This plant usually blooms the whole summer, and this summer is no exception. However, blooms are a bit sparse right now. (Alien)

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Medicago sativa

Hairy golden aster (Heterotheca villosa) – As with many plants, this one started blooming weeks earlier than usual. While it is still blooming, now the earlier bloomers are going to seed! Any short little yellow flowering plant you see in the north part of the park is likely this plant. (Native)

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Heterotheca villosa

Bouncingbet (Saponaria officinalis) – Our most prolific noxious weed (Colorado Noxious Weed List B) has now been blooming for about three weeks and doesn’t seemed bothered by the dry summer at all. This one is quite easy to find right now because it is blooming so enthusiastically. (Alien)

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Saponaria officinalis

Common ragweed (Ambrosia psilostachya) – This plant, which is maybe causing some of you some hay fever symptoms, is now blooming heavily in the the very north end of the park. It’s bloom is really small and inconspicuous, so you probably won’t even notice it. But look for a large group of it along the trail edge at the turn-around point. (See MAP.)

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Ambrosia psilostachya

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