Lots of mountain wildflowers and a little work.

Indian Paintbrush with Mountain Pride Penstemon

Last weekend I spent a few days in the High Sierra at my family’s cabin, where the winters bring such deep snow, the village by the lake is only accessible for four months of the year – or if we’re so unlucky as to have a year of little snow, four and a half months.

Sticky Cinquefoil – Potentilla glandulosa
Larkspur – Delphinium
Enjoying the nectar of Arrow-Leaf Senecio.

Every year there is an annual meeting of the village property owners, and two or three community work days. I have never before participated, because I live far away. In the past I have let my sister and brother take care of these things, and count myself blessed to even get myself to the cabin once or twice a summer. But last week I was able to go up for the group effort, to work and attend the meeting!

Not a flower, but a puffball fungus, Calvatia Sculpta. It was 5″ in diameter.
Leopard Lily- Lilium pardalinum

The most fun for me was seeing the high country in July rather than my usual September, and the many wildflowers. I took hundreds of photos, and have been trying to learn the names of new species.

Even when I was cleaning out a culvert as part of the community work, I discovered some columbines and was glad I had my phone in my pocket, even if there was no cell reception.

Crimson Columbine – Aquilegia formosa
Stream Hosackia – Lotus oblongifolius

Some flowers are tiny tiny, about a half centimeter in diameter, but even so, scattered like confetti below showier blooms, they make a nice backdrop. Those are my fingertips in the second photo down.

I haven’t figured out very many species, and some will no doubt remain a mystery for the foreseeable future, but Pippin helped me identify some right away via text messages. πŸ™‚ The one below I found at a lower elevation and it is still unnamed. UPDATE: Thanks to Mary’s helpful prodding (see in comments), I have researched what these puffy things might be, and decided that they are probably Grand Mountain Dandelion, Agoseris grandiflora.

These I am sharing are just a few of the many I saw; there were also lupines, Pearly Everlasting, other penstemons, yarrow…. On a gravelly turnout Pussypaws (Calyptridium umbellatum) had bravely erupted heedless of cars that might soon crush them.

Yellow Monkeyflower – Mimulus, with Shooting Star

The Shooting Stars (Dodecatheon) were in wet areas. From my perusing of wildflower guides I’m guessing that the bright pink one is Jeffrey’s Shooting Star and the pale pink is Bog Shooting Star.

My plan is to return to the mountains a month from now. It will be interesting to see if I find any new species that bloomed a little later. Or do most of them pop out as soon as the snow has melted? I’m just glad that I arrived in time to meet them!

Pretty Face or Golden Brodiaea

16 thoughts on “Lots of mountain wildflowers and a little work.

  1. Thanks SO much for all of these beautiful wildflowers, Gretchen! I’m so glad you got to join in the group effort too.

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  2. What a wonderful place to be and go on a walk amid those amazing wildflowers! And that fungus is so pretty but maybe not good to eat?

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  3. These photographs are stunning. I’ve never seen wildflowers like these, in mountains or anywhere else. Probably I’ve never looked. Thank you for the opportunity,

    Also its interesting to me how the names of the flowers help me look again, and a bit longer.

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  4. What beautiful photos, what beautiful wildflowers! And so many!

    I agree that the dandelion-looking seed clusters do look like a flower we have in Vermont whose flowers do look just like dandelions, but taller. How wonderful that you have that place to go to and immerse yourself in natural beauty!

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  5. What a beautiful place!! I would love to see that too, I am impressed that you know as many flowers as you do. I can’t wait to see what you will see when you return. I can just smell that smell in my mind. I love how it smells up there. I have had such a hankering to go up to Balch Park.

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      1. Hmmm, I see what you mean. What about Lindley’s Silverpuffs?

        By the way, my daughter is 10, and her name is . . . Gretchen! She is the only girl we’ve ever met named Gretchen, and grown-up Gretchens are rare enough indeed. Such a lovely name, and it suits you perfectly.

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      2. Thank you, Mary! But not Lindley’s either πŸ™‚ It’s found at about 4-5,000 ft. in the forest, not the desert – but the puffs also aren’t like Lindley’s, which looks very like a type of salsify. I don’t think “my” puffy-seeded plant is related to salsify…

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