The bigleaf lupine is in bloom all along the ditches by the sides of the roads around Fort Klamath. Some areas have groups that stretch for 10 x 100 feet, absolutely spectacular. But... the road has virtually no shoulder and 2-6 foot deep ditches on both sides. There are a very few driveways and occasional narrow roads into fields, but, of course, none are close to the patches of flowers. The best would require a mile walk along the highway around the north end of Agency lake or along the highway to Crater Lake, and it's really busy, with the holiday weekend. The flowers are at their peak right now.
I drove around for 45 minutes to find a spot where the flowers were reasonably close to a spot I could park. The flower stalks (racemes) are about 12-18" tall, the plants range up to 4', with leaves around 4-6" long. They are native and grow in wetlands, ditch banks and open stream banks. The color ranges from pale blue to deep purple and the large patches are really amazing, with a flower head every 8" or so. I may have to wake Eve (my wife is not an early riser!) up early tomorrow or Sunday to take me out to a good patch, drop me off with camera stuff and pick me up in an hour or so. By 10 am, it's too hot (96 today) out there to even try.
When it comes to native plants, and milkweed specifically, most people are excited to see Monarchs in their gardens, but for me, and equally exciting find happened in my native garden for the first time today! One of my favorite beetles, Milkweed Leaf Beetle, was spotted on a Whorled Milkweed.
I just can't stop photographing it. What an amazing habitat I've created if I do say so myself!
Meadow Blazing Star is my newest bloom. This is the plant that is widely referred to as the "Ultimate Monarch Butterfly Magnet". Not too many Monarchs around for it to attract, and it's only one lonely stalk right now, but in a couple years, I imagine it'll work its magic.
Pollinators...(Cleomi) My sister lets these grow as they will, she provides additional water for them. She told me today they were excellent pollinators and sure enough when I took a look the bloooms were COVERED in various insects trying to get that sweet nectar. One had three varieties of winged bugs and an ant all sharing the bloom
They seed themselves freely, but do need water.
Next to them, she had these, also buzzing with activity.
Finally, a Monarch in my native garden! Monarch magnet - Meadow Blazing Star - works! Even better, there's two! (Photos below are of the same Monarch. The other Monarch was busy laying eggs on Orange Milkweed)
Swamp Milkweed is in full bloom now. Wish I had more than one plant in bloom. Hoping to collect seeds from it this year to spread it around, but I have a feeling these Milkweed Bugs will eat every seed it produces.