Summer Blooms

After a colorful spring, our Colorado farm usually enters a period of muted greens and browns until the late summer monsoon brings back the rain. This year, following heavy rainfall over the past few months, the landscape remains verdant and our usual summer blooms are especially vivid.

Our large linden (basswood) tree is full of yellow racemes and the rose of sharon are just beginning to bloom; we have three varieties of Hibiscus syriacus on the farm, with white, purple and blue flowers. The blue spirea is also beginning to open its flower clusters and will continue to do so for the next six weeks. Pockets of wildflowers include summer species such as purple coneflower, Indian blanket and prairie sunflowers. The trumpet vine, a magnet for orioles and hummingbirds, is especially prolific this year and a large crop of thistle, their purple heads just opening, should keep the lesser goldfinches around for their late summer nesting.

For we humans, these colorful flowers are a welcome addition to the landscape, a source of beauty and (in many cases) fragrance. For the plants that harbor them, the blooms serve a more vital purpose, attracting pollinators that are essential to each plant's reproductive strategy. And, of course, the pollinators (flies, bees, butterflies, moths, birds) are rewarded with nutritious nectar. Everybody wins!