This is the view of Florence from the bridge over the Arkansas River entering town from the north. The haze in front of the Wet Mountains is dust, I'm sorry to report, stirred up by the almost continuous high winds that have us concerned due to the low humidity and fire danger. (To see this photo better you really need to click on it to enlarge.)
The trees with more new leaves are the introduced species from back east, to make the prairie more homey when the pioneers began settling here. The tall, less green, trees are the native cottonwoods along the river (they know that we can still have freezes and snow this time of Spring, and wait to put out their leaves. The green haze on them are quite large, sticky buds). Our only native forests on the prairies were the Riparian forests along the rivers and streams. The foothills here tend to be covered with sparse forests off small Juniper, Pinyon (Pinon is the Spanish spelling with a tilde ~ over the "n")
Pine, and scrub Oak trees. As a native of the prairie I am passionately in love with the great old wide leaf Cottonwoods. Our native forests are up in the mountains and consist of mostly evergreen trees, pine, fir, spruce, with swaths of Aspens (more Poplars related to the Cottonwoods) at the lower levels.
The local apple orchards are starting to bloom just in time for the Canon City (the "n" in Canon also has a tilde ~ to make it sound like canyon rather than canon as in the Civil War) Blossom Festival this weekend. The carnival is already running, the rodeo starts Friday evening, and the parade is at noon on Saturday. My Mom is going to ride on the Friendship House float in the parade wearing a sun hat.
Blossom Festival begain once upon a long time ago when the main industry in the area was fruit orchards. Now that fruit is shipped from California, Arizona, Florida, Chile, and even Australia we have only a few remaining orchards but we still celebrate our heritage. One of the important activities of the Festival is a high school band competition with bands from as far as Texas, but mostly from Colorado. This photo is of my favorite old gnarled Apple trees in the orchard 3 blocks north of Toad Haven.
Here is the first Toad Haven California Poppy to bloom this year, from a volunteer plant seeded from my new back door patio garden last summer.
I really like this Daffodil from a pot I picked up at WalMart a few weeks ago; It is such an attractive flower with the orange trumpet that I will find a spot for the bulbs in the garden so I can enjoy them each Spring.
This old fashioned purple iris is from the clump that were here when we moved in. They were not happy then because they had been neglected without being watered and the ground around them had been trampled into the consistency of concrete. I dug many out and moved them to other areas when we built the new sun porch and carport, and this few next to the yard light post, surrounded by paved patio and path are now quite happy and blooming.
Since most of the garden is still pretty drab with just short perennial shoots through the soil, these little flowers sure brighten up my days.