Wildflowers of May

Somewhat surprisingly, we have had a wet spring in Colorado Springs. Living in a state suffering from drought for the last decades, repeated episodes of late snow and rain have been very welcome. Of note, while the foothills of the Rockies as well as plains have benefitted, the western third of the state, also known as the Western Slope, continues to thirst for moisture. On a map that monitors drought conditions (and that is updated each Thursday), that particular area of Colorado shows the sinister, somber colors associated with severe, extreme, and even exceptional drought.

Someone more qualified could elaborate on water woes in the American West, but the point I wanted to make today: We had a wetter and cooler spring than in previous years. Which has resulted not only in unusually green expanses of lawns (and weeds), but also in the delayed blossoming of our wildflowers.

While I have, somewhat incredulously, admired the images of stretches of multi-hued wildflowers shared by fellow bloggers from other states and countries, my own May sightings have been more sparse: A single patch of purple pasque flowers in the foothills, which I usually see earlier and more regularly; a lovely display of fragrant Sand Lily on the plains; a few wet-loving marsh marigolds along a creek; an unexpected blooming cactus shortly after a snowmelt at nearly 8,000 feet; and only this last week small but spreading spans of exquisite evening primroses and of striking scarlet globemallows at Chico Basin Ranch, one of my favorite birding destinations.

I hope you will enjoy my modest bouquet of spring wildflowers from Colorado Springs and places nearby. May isn’t quite over yet, and I look forward to future floral finds, both of native as well as cultivated plants, as people’s gardens are also beginning to look more colorful.

To enlarge a photo, click on it. To read its caption, hover the cursor over it.

50 thoughts on “Wildflowers of May

  1. Liebe Tanja, schöne Funde in karger Umgebung, ich meine wenig Blattwerk, und so fallen die schönen Blütenfarben noch mehr auf als sonst. Bei euch ist es wohl ähnlich wie hier. Wir haben auch etwas mehr Regen, es ist kühl seit Wochen, so daß die Natur nicht übermäßig strapziert wird. Manche Gegenden haben richtig viel Regen, bei uns hier ist es wieder grenzwertig, die tiefen Schichten können sich (noch) nicht erholen. Ich habe mir die Karte von Colorado angesehen. Krass! Man fragt sich, was die Zukunft bringen wird. LG und eine gute Woche

    Liked by 1 person

    • Das mit der kargen Umgebung hast Du richtig erkannt, liebe Almuth. Aber verglichen mit manchen Jahren grünen viele Gegenden sehr, was sehr erfrischend ist.
      Diese Landkarte von Colorado macht bange. Wir alle hoffen, daß auch im westlichen Teil endlich etwas Regen ankommen wird. Und das wünsche ich den noch zu trockenen Gegenden in Deutschland.
      Sei herzlich gegrüßt,

      Liked by 1 person

      • Immerhin ist es in manchen Gegenden hier anders dieses Jahr. Manche Regionen versinken fast im Regen. Es kann sich also jederzeit ins Gegenteil verkehren (wobei wir das vielleicht auch nicht wollen, jedenfalls keinen Dauerregen). Wir haben bislang etwas mehr als die letzten Jahre, aber dank des kühlen Wetters hat die Natur gut mitgespielt. Ich hoffe auch auf mehr Nass und wünsche es euch ebenfalls!!! LG Almuth

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    • Thank you, Donna. As I mentioned a few times, that pretty cactus came as a real surprise as it had snowed only days earlier and some residual snow still lingered in the area. It must have just been in a perfect spot to bloom when it did.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have a small collection of cacti and don’t see them bloom very often so your soft rosy flowering one (looks like a Mammillaria) was a treat as were all the flowers you shared, Tanja. We’ve not had much rain but what we have received has been enough to encourage our spring blooms to thrive.

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  3. What gorgeous wild flowers, Tanja, even if they are a bit sparse and late this year. Having grown up on a farm in South Africa, which is very drought prone, I so understand the emotional impact on the psyche when there is a prolonged period of drought. We can do without so many things, but not water. It is such a precious resource which we don’t always appreciate.

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    • I enjoy every new floral discovery, Jolandi, however sparse it might be. You are so right about not being able to do without water. Many states in the American West are suffering from drought, which is even more concerning as people continue to move there, even if the long-term supply of water is not guaranteed. Not a good scenario.
      I hope you are getting enough rain to help with your wonderful olive grove and garden.


      • We are lucky in that we have quite a lot of water on the land, and this past winter we had a good amount of rain. Summers can be very hot and dry, so I’m not sure what the water situation will be by the end of it, especially as we are planning to plant a big orchard in autumn. Water is so precious, yet not many people give it much thought.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. The lovely flowers were worth waiting for! May has been a cold and wet month for us too, but after a dry April we really needed some rain. It feels as if the summer may be starting now… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are right, Ann, they were very worth waiting for. And more have emerged in the last week, which is a joy to behold.
      I will never complain about a rainy month knowing that so many places are thirsting for rain, but it will be nice to enjoy some sunshine and warmth for both of us.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What a wonderful collection of blooms, Tanya. Your Plains Evening Primrose looks remarkably like our pink evening primrose (Oenothera speciosa), which also has a white form. We have the globemallow, too, although it’s found south and west of me. The mountain bell cactus is so unusual. I often see our lace cacti blooming pink, but I’ve never seen a pink and yellow combination — it’s just gorgeous.

    I hope you’ll get the rains you need. If I could send some of ours your way, I certainly would. We’re well out of drought conditions now; the rice farmers are happy, and the lakes are all above normal pool. People here still remember the last serious drought, so rain is appreciated. I smiled at the thought of your cactus in snow. We’ve had a few snows in recent years that decorate our palms and yuccas — and cacti — quite beautifully. It’s always fun to see.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you enjoyed my little sampling of Colorado wildflowers, Linda.

      We are very grateful for the above-average precipitation we have enjoyed here, but I’m sure Colorado’s Western Slope as well as other western states would gladly take you up on your offer to share some of your rains. We just watched a news report about a ranch in New Mexico, where it hasn’t rained for 6 years!

      I’m glad you are out of the drought and hope it won’t return.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. All well spotted, Tanja. These early flowers are more scattered and tentative with good reason, given our fickle spring weather. I suspect the recent moisture will bring on a show this summer, at least in the high country on this side of the continental divide…fingers crossed!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Andrea. Even since I wrote this post things seem to be speeding up already with regard to blooming flowers. I’m happy to report that our yard is alive with columbine, lupines, and wild flax.
      I hope your meadows will be aglow with wildflowers in the next couple of months.


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