Backyard beauties

A brief stroll up the hill in our backyard revealed an amazing variety of spring flowers. Many prairie wildflowers are diminutive and understated. The prairie golden banner is an exception – bright yellow blankets of these beauties are abundant this year.


The bright blue shining penstemmon is our earliest blooming penstemmon.

IMG_0763Like many plants, this one has a couple of common names – the star lily or sand lily.

IMG_0767It is hard to positively ID an onion without digging up the bulb. But my guess is that this is a nodding onion. When the flower opens, it will be an umbel (think umbrella-shape) with 5 – 40 individual flowers.

IMG_0768Field chick weed has but five petals – each is deeply notched, making the flower appear more complex.

IMG_0774Nuttall’s violet, also called yellow prairie violet, has a delightful 5 inch tall flower.

IMG_0776Cous, also known as biscuitroot, has an umbel flower structure like the nodding onion.

IMG_0781Phlox species, surrounded by some woody winter deer scat.


The shrubs are all in bloom too! This is sticky currant, a cousin of the yellow currant that grows along the river. The leaves are sticky to the touch.

IMG_0786Skunkbush sumac has tiny whitish yellow flowers and trifoliate leaves (a compound leaf composed of three leaflets). If you rub your finger on the bark, it emits a pleasantly pungent smell.


Published by Heather Bilden

I live in Montana with my husband Bart. I enjoy working in the garden, taking care of the animals, and exploring the prairie with my dogs, my binoculars, and a reverence for the natural world.

3 thoughts on “Backyard beauties

  1. Thank you Heather!! My cowboy has brought in several bouquets of some of these prairie golden banner flowers. I’m so happy to know you referred to them as ” flowers “. Someone told me that they might be noxious weeds. They are all lovely,across the prairie and upon my table at this time of year.


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