|July - the road to Horseshoe|
Here and there was an unfamiliar plant: fleshy leaves not more than 8 inches high, fantastic parallel veining with a blush of red at the base and tips. Seems noteworthy that the plants yet to bloom were at lower elevations. A hundred yards or so uphill I spotted the bloom - Frasera speciosa, so-called "Monument Plant" standing high in the alpine zones of the West. I never met a gentian I didn't like and this was quite novel. Seed of gentiana is usually pretty effortless to grow, as long as it is still viable, so it too goes on my want list.
As I continued uphill, scrophs started making an appearance, first being Penstemon hallii. While detouring around a washout and though some scrubby salix, trying to keep my summer hiking boots out of the mud, I almost stumbled over the bewitching Chionophila jamesii. A whole colony were reveling in the moist shade of the willows, not underneath, but in clearways within the scrub. They were showstoppers against the black earth.
|Chionophila jamesii grouping|
|Chionophila jamesii - the 'snow beloved'|
A little further up the path there were others who also seemed to like the moist seeps like my old friend Sedum integrifolium - the King's Crown.
Other moisture lovers were there too, like mertensia (maybe ciliata?), mixed with a little trifolium (maybe dasyphyllum?).
|Mertensia with Trifolium|
Next, looking very mossy and errant but rouged for a somewhat of a good showing, was a very soft Silene acaulis. This is one plant that never completely seems to relax in the garden, preferring its loose ways in the wild to treat us to the best bloom. Oh, well, it does set seed very prodigiously.
About then, the first eritrichium, aretioides, that blue, made itself known, followed by the white bloom of Phlox condensata and purple Polemonium viscosum and Phacelia sericea and more penstemons. The road again beckoned "upwards" with glints of gold.
|to be continued...|