Nodding Onion

To my considerable relief, the nod of the Nodding Onion is distinctive, and I can assert with some confidence that this is Allium cernuum. And since I have not yet had occasion to use the word “umbel”–and who wouldn’t want to use the word?–I will add this note: an umbel is a form in which…

Mariposa Lily

If Harebells are cute and Sugarbowl clematis is sweet, the word for this flower is elegant. Calochortus gunnisonii We’ve called these Sego lilies for two decades, but with this bloom-a-day-in-July project I’ve been cross-examining my assumptions while delving into a wider range of wildflower resources. Evidently, what we have here (in large numbers, right now)…

Shorthorn Spurge

Euphorbia brachycera Although it resembles the pernicious invasive Leafy spurge, this little native is smaller and exhibits better manners. Some guides use the common name “Horned spurge,” but I think the “Shorthorn” version is more winsome. Up here, the plants grow to seven or eight inches tall, and tend to be solitary rather than forming…

Yucca

If you’re looking for contrast, look to the yucca:  fat, buttery-looking flowers paired with sharp leaves that, believe me, will elicit a defensive yelp at the slightest inadvertent brush. The yucca demand attention in other ways, too. Their flowering has been fabulous, and I assumed I had plenty of time. I admired the display on…