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Flowers come alive on northeastern Colorado prairie

Bill Jackson
JIM RYDBOM/jrydbom@greeleytribune.comAs the sun sets, a blanket of prairie primrose fills the landscape at Weld County roads 74 and 65 near Briggsdale in northeast Weld County.

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The northeastern Colorado prairie is alive with flowers this year.

Fields are blanketed with prairie primrose, turning them a brilliant white.

“It looks like it snowed by Cornish,” said Brian Allmer, who farms 21 miles southeast of Briggsdale. “It looks like bindweed, but it’s too early for that and that’s something we don’t need.”

Cornish is a Weld ghost town near Weld County roads 74 and 392 southwest of Briggsdale.

Tina Booten, vegetation management specialist with Weld County Public Works, said the native flower is a bi-annual, which means it blooms every two years, typically June-August, but this year is a particularly good year. Because it’s staggered, blooms come out every year across the prairie of Weld, she said.

“In places, it looks like somebody TP’d everything or it’s covered with snow,” she said with a laugh. The flower is particularly prolific in northeast Weld, she added.

She said heavy rains last August probably contributed to the abundance of the flowers this spring. The rain over Memorial Day weekend “will probably help them to flower more.”

Rhonda Spencer lives about halfway between Galeton and Briggsdale.

“It’s just bizarre,” she said of the flowers. Spencer said she’s visited with several people who have lived in the area for years, and all of them claim they’ve never seen the flower bloom like this before.

“It almost reminds me of one of those sleet storms we get in the fall and everything turns white. It’s just like that,” Spencer said. “I’m hoping other flowers will bloom soon and add some more color to things.”

Mary Kanode ranches northeast of Ault and said the flowers are blooming in that region, as well.

“They’ve just turned pastures white,” she said.

Allmer said there’s been another benefit from the spring moisture ” this year’s winter wheat. The crop was planted last fall and has another four to six weeks to go before it can be harvested, which typically begins in Weld around July 4 and continues into August in the northern part of the county.

“Our wheat is the best we’ve ever had for this time of year. I just hope now that Mother Nature doesn’t bring the hammer down on us,” he said, referring to hailstorms that can pop up as summer approaches.


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