Some Miners Brought their Hometown Wildflowers?

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Wildflowers follow the snow line…so it’s always wildflower spring where the snow is melting. “May flowers can also be found in August, but higher up at the snow edge,” says Crested Butte Wildflower Co-director Dana Bradley Spencer. “We have such incredible wildflowers here because we have such deep snow.”

“The more moisture, the bigger the flowers.” says Spencer. “This is a dry year…we’re already seeing August flowers blooming next to the spring flowers, so the season is compressed. In a dry season the flowers are signaled to bloom sooner while they still have a chance. Also the nectar level is lower, so the hummingbirds are more likely to be at the feeders.”

Crested Butte, proclaimed the “Wildflower Capital of Colorado” in 1989, doesn’t have every type of summer flora. “The East Coast has orchids and exotic flowers that wouldn’t dare grow here,” says co-director Michele Simpson. “We have special flowers here, too. Calypso Orchid or Bog Orchid can be found, but they’re not real common. Maybe on The Secret Trail or The Bench. Case’s Fitweed, a rare plant everywhere but our area, can be found in abundance on Kebler Pass. It has a divine smell similar to lilacs.”

According to Spencer some of the ‘native’ flowers were introduced by immigrants. “Miners coming from the old country were afraid they may never see the flowers of their homeland again, so they brought seeds with them. Oriental Poppies may have come from Croatia.”

Rob Quint


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