My husband and I took a walk one day in early summer up to the top of a mesa on his parents’ land near Colorado Springs, Colorado called Table Rock. The environment on top of the mesa is very dry, very rocky, and very windy, and as a result much of the flora hugs the ground closely. It is the first place on the ~80-acre parcel of land to dry out in the summer. There are small caves and splits in the rock at the top that create wildlife habitat and microclimates. A lot of wildlife calls Table Rock home, including mountain lions, bats, deer, foxes, raccoons, hawks, and falcons. In a permaculture design, the marginal land on top of Table Rock and its steep sides would be best left to nature as Zone 5.
Here is a sampling of some of the plants found on Table Rock:
Stonecrop (Sedum stenopetalum):
The rocks have long since split here and formed a pit about 5 feet deep. In this pit is a microclimate that is warmer at night, cooler by day, that collects more water than the surrounding mesa top. As a result, the plants in the pit are a lot larger and greener than others on the mesa. In this pit I found Wood’s rose (Rosa woodsii), wild lily-of-the-valley (Smilacina stellata), and thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus).
Desert indian paintbrush/Early paintbrush (Castilleja chromosa):
Nylon hedgehog cactus (Echinocereus viridiflorus):
A species of prickly pear cactus (Opuntia polyacantha):
Daisy species (Erigeron tracyi):
|Sarah Spotten currently lives in Colorado. As part of her PDC course she is posting occasionally on topics related to her curriculum.|