|Scrophularia macrantha (closeup)|
|Scrophularia macrantha dwarf form (At Kendrick Lake)|
This post has many themes, the first of which is to commemorate my drive up to the end of the road on Cooke Peak, a trip my brother-in-law, Allan Taylor, and I undertook exactly twenty years ago this autumn. I wish I could clone myself--one of my clones would immediately set off for Southern New Mexico where they have had torrential monsoons this year and make my way up Cooke Peak and see if any Scrophularia are left there: Come to think of it I did go back five or six years ago with two of my colleagues named "Mike" (I've had about twenty with that name--not so helpful a hint)...and I didn't find Scrophularia that trip. And the Cypress were mostly dead from a severe drought that occurred much of the spell between my two visits....there are botanists who would have objected to my collecting the seed back then (albeit it was on private land and we had the owner's permission): and that population may be gone. Instead, I shared seed with Kew and David Salman and grew it as well--I wonder just how many gardens it's growing in now. I'll bet it's in the tens of thousands! All from a few seed capsules. The picture above is from a very compact plant that persisted for several years at the Gardens at Kendrick Lake--cuttings did not stay small like this--it must have been the spot!
|Scrophularia macrantha growing in a median strip in Lakewood|
I took this picture "on the move" once through Lakewood when I saw this monster specimen growing in the middle of Alameda Boulevard--Greg Foreman has used it all over that fair city--I am astonished it has proved so hardy coming from so far south. And it can get monstrous in the right soil and site--this one had to be 6' tall! You will often find hummingbirds buzzing specimens like this throughout the summer--which brings up my second theme: the wealth of hummingbird magnet plants introduced by Plant Select (and High Country Gardens) over the last two decades have truly altered the feeding habits of these birds: many birders have noted to me that hummingbirds (which were seen throughout most of the 20th Century for a few brief weeks in Denver come spring and fall)--now can be found much of the summer!
|Salvia x 'Raspberry Delight' |
(S. greggii x S. microphylla v.wislezinii)
I should append no end of penstemon pix right now (pseudospectabilis, eatonii, pnifolius, barbatus, cardinalis, havardiana, rostriflorus, x Mexicali cvs. etc. etc.--many of them already Plant Select and some still in the wings): all of these are favorites of the hummingbirds as well--no wonder they linger in Denver! By the way, they really began to come to the city in droves in the summers of 1999-2003 when drought conditions in the mountains were so severe in the summer that flowers ceased blooming at altitude, but continued in our gardens: did we inadvertently help hundreds of hummers survive the drought? Have we interfered with nature? If so, do those who put out bird seed "interfere with nature"--that's the birder equivalent of gardening perhaps. Which was the more culpable act? Plucking a few seeds two decades ago? Or planting plants that lure hummingbirds to a range they did not once occupy? The morally pure would decry both actions...but in the grand scheme of things, both are trivial compared to the aboriginal humans' causing the extinction of hundreds of taxa of megafauna across Eurasia and the Americas (and all the islands from Madagascar, Mauritius, Melanesia, Australia, Hawaii New Zealand etc. etc.--where we have and continue to wreak havoc).
|Zauschneria garrettii (on Idaho/Wyoming border near treeline)|
|Zauschneria arizonica with Eleni Kelaidis|
|Allan Taylor and Yucca elata|