It seemed like spring was never going to come. Then, the weather warmed up and the plants rejoiced with a burst of bloom. On the Upper Loop Trail the claret cup cacti are in full flower. You can’t miss them with their burst of red blossoms. And, if you wait patiently, you might be rewarded with a hummingbird coming in to nectar.
Down in the canyon, the madrone trees are dripping with fragrant, clusters of bell-shaped white flowers that attract a variety of pollinators including butterflies and iridescent bees. The Mexican buckeyes are also in full bloom. Their pea-like pink flowers were being visited by butterflies and bees.
I was thrilled to see a Henry’s Elfin butterfly nectaring on the buckeye. The Henry’s Elfin is a small, brownish hairstreak that has a limited range this far west. The buckeye is also the hostplant for the Henry’s Elfin, so we could have a resident population down in the canyon.
After my hike, I took a look in the greenhouse and was amazed to see the number of plants in bloom up there. The color of cactus flowers really makes you think twice about the muted pallet we call “natural” colors.
So take some time and make a trip to the Nature Center. Spring doesn’t last long!