It’s my birthday! So you know what I have to talk about for today’s What I like Wednesday post?
Ya’ll had to know this post was coming in one form or another. How can I NOT talk about all the awesome native plants that call Colorado home? Plants make our lives more vibrant and interesting. Take the time to get up close with a plant to inspect its leaves and its flowers and its beauty and detail will surprise and delight. Plus, being outside, even just looking outside at nature, reduces stress levels and blood pressure. Plants are really all about the wins.
I’m not really here to talk about all the benefits of flowers, bushes, and trees, though. You can go outside and experience the benefits for yourself. I’m here to post pictures of plants native to Colorado that make me smile and maybe encourage you to invest in some native plants yourself.
Pulsatilla patens – Pasque flower. These gorgeous flowers bloom in the spring. It was such a joy seeing these flowers pop out of the ground and I can’t wait until I have a place to plant more of these beauties. The outside of their petals are fuzzy, for an extra bit of fun. They come in shades of purple and white, making them appear almost forlorn and dreary (especially with their small, droopy frames). The Botanic Gardens plants many of them so if you don’t have any for yourself, go wander the gardens in April, May, maybe even June, and see if you can spot them.
Gaillardia aristata – Blanket flower. These flowers remind me of daisies, with their giant middles and many many petals. What I love about these flowers is how their tips are different colors than the rest of the petal. And how bright they are. I mean, how insanely beautiful is that? You can get different color combinations than the one I had too.
Aquilegia caerulea -Blue columbine, Colorado Columbine and Aquilegia chrysantha – Golden columbine: I can’t talk about native plants without mentioning columbines! It’s Colorado’s state flower, and for good reason too. These flowers come in such variety of color, size, and shape that you’re bound to find something that strikes your fancy. I’ve had a handful of columbines throughout my adult life and you know what’s great about them? They do well in the shade. AND, they attract hummingbirds. AND they’re just gorgeous.
Penstemon: There are so many species of penstemon that I can’t list them all here without taking up half the page. Some species of this plant have stalks that grow straight up, with many little flowers on each one, and that’s what attracts me. Hummingbirds enjoy some species and many are great for rock gardens. I am partial to Penstemon angustifolius, with its blue and purple blooms and Penstemon strictus, for that straight up, condensed growth.
Other native plants that deserve a shout out: Asclepias tuberosa – Butterfly weed, for helping keep butterflies alive. And Rudbeckia hirta – Black-eyed susan, for being so breathtaking- their bright yellow long petals and black center make for a flower that I always go over to once I see one. (I guess I like daisy-like flowers.) Don’t like any of these flowers that I mentioned? Here’s the great thing, there are so many flowers that grow well in Colorado, take a look at CSU Extension’s list for some ideas. Lots of non-native plants do well here too so it’s basically, whatever you can afford, you can make work. And the best gardens are ones with lots of species so dream big! I know I’ll be dreaming up future plant plans as the winter weather slowly makes its way here and the green dies. What are your favorite Colorado (or non-Colorado) plants?
Check out all the things I like about Colorado here!