Skip to main content

A Visit to the Colorado High Desert Plains

Dwarf Lupin

Dwarf Lupin

Larry and Evita recently visited a remote area of southern Colorado on a Buddhist retreat. This is their report:

“It is fascinating to be able to come to other environments and witness the magical display of plants in reaction to their circumstances.



Crestone is a severe 8000′ high desert plain that is quite a challenge. It’s interesting to see plants from the same families we are familiar with adapt to this harsh climate. An example would be a lupin that only grows 10″ tall with hairy leaves and small flowers to conserve moisture. It is also wonderful to see plants we grow living in their natural habitat. It gives a better idea of what they prefer. And finally there is the simple, singular beauty of these plants in their natural form in comparison to some of the overblown hybrids that are available in the market place.

In this high mountain valley it is amazing how many different forms, habits and colours of foliage there are to make the landscape dance!”

Larry also had this to say:

“These photos were taken in western Colorado near Jamestown. Our friend’s house was washed away along this creek 2 years ago but the plants are doing fine.”

Spoken like a true plantsman.

Here are some of the plants Larry and Evita sighted during their visit, all growing in their native habitat:

Perennials for Pollinators

rare unusual plants

More lovely plants that please the eye and pollinators too.

The unusual bloom above belongs to Spigelia marylandica, a native of the north-eastern United States. Also known as “Indian Pink”. This is a beautiful woodland plant that may be a bit tender in zone 5 and would benefit from winter mulch for protection.