Ink & Penstemon

Observations on plants, gardening, & nature from the Great Basin steppe in the American West.

If you get mired in something, click on the Penstemon barbatus 'Elfin Pink' image.



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    Tulipa linifolia brightening the gravel garden. Spring needs more red.

    What’s blooming in the garden? Pediocactus simpsonii. It smells like old roses to me.

    Evening spring sampler: Pulsatilla vulgaris, Tulipa biflora, multiflora hyacinth.

    Viola beckwithii, Pleasant View, Utah. Photo credit Larry Quinn. One of the “sage brush” violets, once common along the Wasatch front, now endangered because people have built their houses over them.

    Astragalus newberyi, Dugway Pass, Utah. Photo credit, Steve Hegji.

    Lawn violets adding color and fragrance to a still largely dormant lawn. I can understand why people consider this plant to be weedy, because it is, but I wouldn’t rank it in the same class as the bluegrass itself. In fact, I think I would much rather have a “lawn” of these violets than the grass. The denser patches give off their distinct and deep perfume in the early evening.

    A post for cactiphiles: Echinocereus triglochidiatus var. mojavensis in the wild, Great Salt Lake, Utah. Notice in the third photo how the large clump’s center is dying out. Yet another example of how seeing plants is superior to seeing them in gardens. I will try to revisit these colonies when they are in bloom.

    My favorite early bloomer, Ranunculus andersonii spring pics from Saturday afternoon on Stansbury Island on the Great Salt Lake. The flowers emerge more white and deepen in their pink color as they age in this population. I almost always find the flowers in northern exposures among the outcrops of tufa and quartzite. My favorite colony wasn’t as spectacular this year as cows have severely trampled their area this winter. Always worth the trip.

    A national prize, and a jewel of great price

    Dwarf Bearclaw-Poppy (Arctomecon humilis) by USFWS Mountain Prairie on Flickr. One of the rarest and most endangered poppies in the world.

    "As irreplaceable portions of our natural heritage they should be regarded as a national prize, as jewels of great price, and protected for future generations, whose advocacy this generation must represent.

    "The low bearclaw poppy is legitimately cited as endangered under stipulations of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. Despite that listing and attempts by concerned and state agencies and many private individuals, the habitat is being systematically impacted by off-road traffic. Only prudent preservation of the habitat will guarantee survival of this species into the future."

    from Welsh, Stanley L., N. Duane Atwood, Sherel Goodrich and Larry C. Higgins, editors, A Utah Flora, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, 1987/2nd ed (p. 509), 2003/3d ed, (p. 473), and 2008/4th ed, (p. 544)

    Graham’s beardtongue, (Penstemon grahamii) by USFWS Mountain-Prairie on Flickr.

    The annual meeting of the Utah Rare Plant Conference is happening this Tuesday, March 4th, at Red Butte Garden. I won’t be able to attend, but I wanted to draw attention to some of the endangered plants of Utah, many of which are incredibly beautiful. The USFWS Mountain-Prairie feed on Flickr has many, gorgeous images of theses plants.

    First spring bulbs out! Galanthus ‘Brenda Troyle’, Crocus chrysanthus ‘Blue Pearl’, and Iris reticulata ‘Katherine Hodgkin.’

    Child labor is excellent for spring clean-up. Little feet don’t compact the soil as much. Also, it builds character, and a hatred of honey locust trees.

    Just as I was getting rapturous about winter, here’s a summer teaser from Steve Hegji: Pyrola asarifolia (Liverleaf wintergreen). He’s only seen it once, in 2008, so it’s on his hit list.

    Rebloged this Trifolium wishing that the stuff in my lawn looked as nice.



    Trifolium alpinum

    Fuzzies! Seed heads on Larrea tridentata and Fallugia paradoxa from Steve Hegji’s recent visit to Red Rock Canyon NCA. Photo credit Steve Hegji.

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