|The 14, 000 ft. summit of Colorado's Mount Evans can be reached easily by car, it is America's highest paved road.|
Any Colorado trip is enhanced if one can get into the mountains, and thanks to two fellow members of the North American Rock Garden Society, past national board member Roger Tatroe and his wife garden book author Marcia Tatroe, ( read more about their garden here). Marcia's work is also frequently seen in Sunset Magazine and other gardening publications; so clearly I could not have asked for two better tour guides for a day in the Rockies. I appreciated this time in the mountains so much - many thanks Randy and Marcia.
|Gentiana algida, the Arctic Gentian is also sometimes called the Whitish Gentian can be found in mountain meadows with some elevation during mid summer. I always get excited when I see white gentians, in Switzerland and even in the garden, they are rare.|
|Arctic Gentian ( Gentian algida), a white flowered alpine gentian found across western North America - Alaska through the Yukon, down to the Rocky Mountains from Montana south to Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. It blooms in mid to late summer.|
|A Baby Mountain Goat Follows its Mother. Goaty cuteness at 14K.|
|Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep are commonly found along the mountain road, on the way to, or at the summit of Mount Evans.|
|Rhodiola rodantha - The Redpod Stonecrop or Kings Crown, growing in a wet meadow near 10,000 ft.|
|Ancient Bristlecone Pine trees ( Pinus aristata) on Mount Evans|
A few interesting facts about Bristlecones - the needles can live 20 years, a strategy which aids in their survival since the long lived needles provide a stable photosynthetic capacity to help sustain the tree over many years of severe stress.
|Many Bristlecone Pines have damaged trunks, bare with little bark, damage caused by lightning strikes of forest fires, but even a tiny strip of bark can sustain a tree for hundreds if not thousands of years.|
Another strategy for survival is the gradual dieback of the bark. These forests in Colorado frequently experience forest fires and trees are often struck by lightening, but even with bark reduction, the crown can still be supplied with nutrients, One tree in California is known to be 4000 years old, and it has a trunk diameter of four feet, yet only a 10 inch strip of living bark supports the entire tree.
|Gentiana parryi, the Mountain Gentian growing in a sub-alpine meadow. Thanks to the nineteenth century botanist Charles Parry, three plants that I found now bear his name. Gentiana parryi, Primula parryi and Campanula parryi.|
|Gentiana parryi in a mountain meadow on Colorado's Mount Evans|