Happy Fri-Yay. Welcome to this week’s edition of Nature Friday where we join our pals, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. Make sure to check out what others have shared by clicking on the highlighted link.
We’ve had a full week with lots of happenings starting out with Norman visiting hospital staff and patients while bringing loads of smiles to folks wherever his bear-like shuffle took him. He had a couple of junior volunteers (high school student interns) shadow him as well. While he may may have problems feeling comfortable when riding elevators, he definitely knows how to bring smiles to people once he’s on solid ground.
But enough of how busy Norman and his chauffeur were…this post is about what Nature was up to and she has been very busy. The Mile High City is in the height of summer and she happily shared some real beauty from one end of the 80202 to the other. As we inch toward the weekend, temps are rising again but blooms around the ‘Hood don’t seem to mind too much.
This week’s “best of show” is the perennial Campanula, commonly known as Bellflower. I just love the delicate veining on the blooms. But don’t be deceived, this flower is quite hardy.
We found this gorgeous beauty along this morning’s walk and it practically begged to be photographed. Campanula is a group of over 300 annual, biennial and perennial plants that appear from small to large size, in multiple colors. Typically found in shades of lavender, purple or blue, the open cup-shaped flowers also are found in shades of pink and white. These plants can spread over seasons with the shorter varieties making excellent ground cover although most bellflowers begin blooming in July and will keep flowering until the first frost. Bellflowers are cold-hardy and can be useful specimens in areas with hard winters. They usually prefer full sun for best flower production, and enjoy well-drained soil that receives moderate moisture. Once established, bellflowers can tolerate periods of drought. Bellflowers have been around since the Middle Miocene period as evidenced by fossil seeds being found in the West Carpathian Mountains of Poland in extracted, borehole samples of fresh water deposits.
Bellflowers weren’t the only beauties encountered in the urban landscape this week. Rudbeckia, (commonly known as Black-eyed Susan) continues to provide cheerful blooms during our daily walks.
Another fun flower we encountered this morning is a wildflower often naturalizes unlikely places…Ratibida columnifera, sometimes known as upright prairie coneflower, or “Mexican Hat.” There weren’t any at my previous home until a lone one showed up one day in gravel border next to the driveway and it multiplied to a large number of plants over the years. These cuties are members of the Aster family.
With long leafless stalks that bear flower heads of three to seven ‘sombrero-shaped’ flower heads that grow from 1-1/2 ft. to 3 ft. tall under the right conditions. The flowers range from dark red and yellow, to all red or all yellow. The brown disk protrudes 1/2 to 2 in. above drooping petals with leaves on the lower portion of the stem being feathery and deeply cleft. Seeds form from the brown disk and can naturalize in unexpected spots. A fun-looking wildflower to encounter when out and about, wouldn’t you say?