This beautiful blanket of springtime purple flowers are called Purple Dames Rocket flowers. Sadly, they are considered an invasive species. You will find them every spring on our mountain sides, and in our Lyons’ parks, and on Highway 36 going toward Estes Park. You will find them in woodlens, along roadsides, near water edges, and disturbed areas. Don’t be mistaken — Dame’s Rocket (Hesperis matronalis) resembles phlox in height and color but it is in a different plant family entirely: the Mustard family (Brassicaceae); while Phlox is in the Phlox family (Polemoniaceae). The best way to distinguish them is that the Dame’s Rocket has four petals, while phlox has five. These loose clusters of attractive, fragrant, pink / purple/ or white flowers grow on 2 to 4 foot stems.
Hesperis was introduced to the US as an ornamental flower around the time of the European settlement, and is now found in nearly every state. It is officially a noxious weed in Colorado (as well as Connecticut, and Massachusetts). This means it cannot be sold, propagated, distributed, imported or disseminated within the state.
WEEDS YOU MUST PULL! — with the soil damp, you can grab them by the roots! ==invasive Dalmation Toadflax. Spotted Toadflax. Myrtle Spurge. Knapweed. Thistle. Cheatgrass.
The snow is melting, the rain is pouring, and the gates are opened! This scene of rapids in the St. Vrain River was taken along Highway 36, a few miles outside of Lyons. The water temperature in the past couple of weeks has been between 50 and 60 degrees.
The overflow of Cherry Creek in Denver has caused damage to roads, and is closed to the public. And, Boulder Creek near the library is closed. The ideal level for tubing the creek is 40–200cfs (cubic feet per second). Between 200 and 300cfs and you’re in for a wild ride. Our St. Vrain River was closed to tubing a week ago, and it went from 600 cfs to 1,000+ cfs in just a matter of days. It caused serious flood warnings to go out to the downtown Lyons residents and businesses who were close to the river (referred to as the “Pink area” on the maps).
The peak flow in 2021 (the last available statistics) was on June 7th, at 1090cfs. The new stream design is engineered for the capacity of 1,400 cfs. The Lyons Fire Protection District, Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, and the Town of Lyons communicate and monitor any significant changes. To monitor the changes yourself, go to the Colorado Department of Natural Resources: spring run off — for all the data, including the height and cfs of the river.
Ever wonder about the Colorado River’s flow? The river is about 30 feet deep in lower reaches of the Grand Canyon; it is not more than 10 feet in the upper reaches above the Grand Junction, Colorado. Near Lees Ferry, Arizona, the river’s rate of flow is about 8 million gallons per minute (gpm); at the mouth it is about 2 million gpm. At 1,450 miles long, the Colorado River is the sixth longest in the nation, passing through seven states and two nations.
There’s GOLD in Them Thar Mountains! — thanks to Helena Yardley, Lyons, for capturing this rainbow, from her Steamboat Valley Road home, during our very rainy first week of June 2023.
For previous spring time Lyons Recorder “photo spreads”:
WILDLIFE (bears, elk, fox kits)
BIRDS in our yards
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