Thursday, July 16, 2009

 

July Wildflower Landscapes

Now is the time for the appearance of the vast fields of wildflowers around RedRock RV Park (Island Park, Idaho). We've already had the fields of solid yellow and solid white thanks to the Mule's Ear's but now it's the bouquets of mixed flowers. It is almost impossible to drive anywhere without seeing fields of yellow, magenta, purple, mauve, blue, white, orange and red wildflowers. The most attractive are the fields that are mixed with two or more colors. Unfortunately, the camera can't do justice to these fields. The human eye and mind can take in much more of the color and the sense of beauty than the flat, 2D, restricted view of the camera. But.. I'll try to give you a sampling of the beauty you'll see here in the middle of July.

Bouquet of wildflowers off Red Rock Road near US 20. (Click on photo for larger.)

Accentuating the beauty of these fields are the majestic mountain backdrops that present themselves at every turn. The streams, the lakes and the mountain meadows are full of color. It's hard to drive anywhere if you stop to photograph the color.

Looking North from Red Rock Road and US 20 intersection. (Click on photo for larger.)

Flower display along Continental Divide dirt trail with Upper Red Rock lakes in background.


Most of the flowers I've presented for the last month can be seen around here still. The most dominant in today's landscapes are the Sticky Geranium for shades of purple, the tall buttercup for bright yellow, the white textured Yarrow, the purple and white Lupines, the Showy Fleabane (for purple and yellow), the bright red Indian Paintbrush, the white and pink fluffy Sulfur buckwheat, the bright yellow Little Sunflower, and more.

Sulfur buckwheat along the Continental Divide between Idaho and Montana.

Today I drove along the Continental Divide Trail for a short distance and the wildflowers were covering all the hills. This dirt jeep trail is only about 7 miles from RedRock RV Park and roughly follows the Idaho/Montana border. There are still patches of snow at the top of the ridge (Reggie rolled in it), in the last half of July! In places the sagebrush tended to hide the mass of flowers, but the pale green color of the sagebrush just added to the subtlety of the colors. One hillside was covered with the lowly and bright colored Stonecrop succulent to paint it yellow-orange.

Stonecrop even covered one hill. The East Centennial Mtns behind.

Stonecrop succulents cover hillsides at higher elevations here.

Of course, these displays are for a purpose. Nature just didn't decide to make humans happier by providing flowered hillsides. The insects and butterflies are in large numbers, doing their thing by pollinating the flowers so we will have a similar outburst next year. They also provide a bountiful supply of food for the Sandhill Cranes who enjoy searching through the tall flowers for insects and roots. Yesterday I photographed this pair of cranes across from the RedRock RV park happily enjoying the large crop of flowers and grasses.

Sandhill Cranes find morsels to eat among the Little Sunflowers (click on image for larger).


Unidentified butterfly in the flowers near RedRock RV Park. (click image for larger)

Another flower that has just recently bloomed and is in my top five favorites is the Sego Lily (Calochortus nuttallii.) These are the state flower of Utah due to the flavorful edible roots that saved Brigham Young's early settlement there from starvation during their famous famine. They are simply delicate and beautiful wildflowers. These can be often found along the side of the road like they are here at RedRock RV Park. Here's another nice specimen on my photo gallery page.

Looking down the throat of a Sego Lilly found this morning here.

I have a complete gallery of wildflower landscapes you can view if you'd like more.

Of course, you'll have to come here to fully comprehend the beauty of these wildflower displays. Give us a call and see for yourself. (208-558-7442).



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