July heat is here

Ratibida columnifera

Heat and storms ushered in July. The summer monsoons are back though spotty. While a late June mountain camping trip saw no moisture, quick storms passed most days leading up to a hot July 4. Much of eastern Colorado is now in drought and the high pressure dome we’ve had since mid-June remains.

And yet my garden is rich in flowers – most especially the prairie or long-headed coneflower, Ratibida columnifera, whose buds will last most of July and into the dog days.

All parts of my garden can be irrigated. I think I’ve overdone the prarire garden with it’s 2x a week using a soak cycle that allows the water to makes it way down the clay based soils. I have also set to skipping watering so that the plants do not grow as tall. But its hard to break habits of the green monster — bluegrass.

Many of this year’s plants are over grown due to watering. Some tower like this blackish purple hollyhock, Alcea rosea ‘nigra’, started in 2021 from seed. It’s six foot flower stalk excites.

Growing nearby is dill for the swallowtails. Can you smell this dill?

A combination of a non-native larkspur, long-headed coneflower, and leaves of Aster laeve. Larkspur bring early food for the bumble bees.

The summer is just kicking in and the bees are happy. No sign of Japanese beetles yet. Its been a strange start. Everything is late and my tomatoes remain stunted from the early cold.

Ratibida columnifera

Ratibida is a widely distributed native to long and short-grass prairies. It tolerates a range of soils and can take dry hillsides. It is a medicinal plant with ethnobotanic use by the Cheyenee Indian. A tea infusion relieves headaches an stomachaches, as well as fevers (Moerman 1998). A decoction was used as a wash to relieve pain and to treat poison ivy rash
(Ibid.). Tea made from the leaves and flower heads can be applied externally for drawing out poison of in rattlesnake bites.

An amateur gardener who loves to watch the garden grow.