Thursday, July 4, 2013

7/4 Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield

I discovered that the Chatfield branch of the Denver Botanic Gardens was only about 5 miles away from my campground, so after sleeping in, and at the heat of the day, I got my bike out to ride to it.  Most of the way was through the state park along bike trails, and it was only slightly hilly, which I knew my electric bike could easily handle.   I had only to ride on the park road for a short while and on the main highway for about 1000'. 

These photos show the size and scope of Chatfield State Park. 

The Botanic Gardens at Chatfield is actually an old farm that they use to demonstrate vegetable gardening and use for events such as wedding.  They did have wildflowers planted around the visitor center, but the center was closed with no one around, and the plants were not marked, which was a disappointment.  I met a couple of couples who had been there before but during the holiday season when the place was decorated with lights. 

Anyway, here are some photos of the planted wildflowers:

What I should have done was take a couple of photos of the long lines of cars trying to get in so they could enjoy the beach and picnic areas.  All of the lots were packed, so people were parking along the road and walking long distances.  And it was 93 degrees.  I was glad to know my motorhome was waiting for me with the AC running! 

On my long way home, I did take some photos of real wildflowers in the park and hopefully have identified them correctly.  The first ones are Alpine Sunflowers.

These are Field Bindweed.

And these, I think, are a kind of Lupine, but they are paler than the ones I saw at higher elevation.  The internet says there are more than a hundred varieties of Lupine and these have the right leaves and flower shape.

I love these.  They are called Prickly Poppy and are large, showy flowers, about 3-4" in diameter. 

And finally, these last yellow flowers are Showy Goldeneye.  There are a lot of yellow flowers that look very similar so it is hard to be sure.

FYI, here are the Audubon Regional Guidebooks I have been using to identify birds and flowers on my travels.  Each of them is about 4" by 7" and 450 pages long.  What is nice is that they have good descriptions of all sorts of animals and plants, including trees and even fungus.  They also have explanations of geology of the areas and descriptions of the various parks and natural areas.  I have the Pacific Northwest version waiting for me for pickup tomorrow at a local Barnes and Noble bookstore and am going to try to find the California book over the next few weeks.

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