Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Flowers That Bloom At Thumb Butte

Again, visitors. This time a niece and her daughter, from Memphis, and a nephew from Australia. I don't know if I mentioned it, but I walk -- I don't climb these days. Alas, doing Thumb Butte is a thing of the past for me, but not for the kids.

But first, they take a close up whiff of Ponderosa pine bark aroma. Niece said it reminded her of Juicy Fruit chewing gum. My own experience: vanilla whisky. By the way, not all trees smell the same -- give it a try.

So I stayed down at the bottom, taking the opportunity to look for flowers in bloom after recent summer rains. First, I caught the ubiquitous mullein, an import from the Old World. The flowers pop out sporadically on the tall stalk. When the thick stalk dried in the fall, pre-electricity folk would dip it in tallow, making a fine torch for one of those mob scenes from Frankenstein.

Much prettier -- and quite common near streams and water courses -- the yellow evening primrose. I was lucky to find open blossoms at mid-day. Normally, the flowers bloom shortly before dusk and are spent by morning.

Most of the flowers I found were near Aspen Creek, which runs through the Thumb Butte picnic area. Wild geranium is an example -- it likes both the shade and the moisture.

A sure sign that we're into August -- the sunflowers are just starting to bloom. These sun lovers were at the sunny edge of the stream-side greenery.

More tolerant of dry ground -- the first goldenrod. A member of the same family as the sunflower, believe it or not.

Another member of the penstemon clan, these lavenders are scattered throughout the forest.

Pretty little bright blue day flowers were also present -- but they caught too much breeze to photograph. Too bad!


Karen of Scottsdale said...

We have a 60 foot pine tree in our front yard. I think it's an Aleppo pine. I don't know if the bark has a smell to it, but I definitely smell pine needles that had dropped from the tree. It's a wonderful aroma.

Granny J said...

Wow! a 60-foot pine tree in the Valley! Back when my LH & I first moved to the Prescott area, we lived on the other side of the Prietas and drove into town periodically on the White Spar. Every time we hit the pines, there was a sudden special aroma (different from the bark smell.) Now that I live in the city among the pines, I am no longer aware of that special smell!

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