A few native plants in my Colorado foothills garden

My father, Dr. Jack L. Carter, was a well-known botanist and strong advocate of growing native plants in the areas they are native to. We lovingly called him a “native plants nazi” because he was always commenting on how inappropriate certain plants and trees were in our yards and neighborhoods. In his honor I would like to mention a few natives that have either volunteered or been transplanted into my garden up here at 7,000 feet, west of Walsenburg Colorado.

My favorite is the Showy Four O’Clock. This one just happened to be properly placed to come up every year under my Buddha. It starts blooming in the late day in mid-July and continues for quite a while. The only year it did not bloom was in 2018 when we had a wildfire nearby.

A plant I love to see down here is what I know as the Cane Cholla Cactus. They are common along Highway I-25 from just north of Pueblo to the Colorado-New Mexico state border and they are blooming right now. I liked them so much that I started a few of them in my garden four years ago, because I know they take a long time to grow and bloom.

I just cut off the end of one cane and planted it in the ground. This is a plant two years later….

I am so excited to see that one of my four year old plants actually had a bloom this week! I didn’t know how long it took to get these to bloom. Gardeners must be AMAZINGLY PATIENT.

I have also added a nice evening primrose, which has always been one of my favorites, and of course we have much more yucca than we want!

Finally, we have had hundreds of native sunflowers here ever since we moved in. I love them. They remind me of my Kansas upbringing.

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