Saturday, August 27, 2011

Prairie Garden - Late August

The Prairie Garden is beginning to look a little bit raggedy. The tall plants can’t contain themselves within the confines of the garden and are spilling out into the yard. Trying to maintain an abrupt transition from tall prairie to mowed yard is impossible. The tall plants at the interface between wilderness and civilization can’t help extending beyond their intended bounds.

Western Sunflower has amassed an unwieldy collection of blooms. The Thursday morning storm wove the tall flower stalks into an inseparable mat. Many of the stalks are still reorienting the flowers into an upright position. They may no longer stand tall and proud, but their ability to produce seeds has not been diminished.

Indiangrass is at full flower and has formed a screen that effectively hides many parts of the garden.

This Butterflyweed has produced a fresh batch of flowers. At the bottom of the photo you can see seed pods produced from an earlier batch of blooms. I wonder if the rainy weather is responsible for this second blooming season.

The Baptisia seed pods are almost ripe. In another month, the pod covering will lose much of its shine and the seeds will come lose and rattle in the pods.

There will be no shortage of Baptisia seeds this year. A fungus typically destroys about ten percent of the seeds, but the rest will be just fine.

Despite floods, heat and drought, the Nodding Wild Onions have managed to produce some seed. I’ll be planting these in a special bed with hopes of having many new plants next year.

Gray-headed Coneflower rushed rapidly through its blooming period and quickly produced seed. It’s been many years since this species has had such a short blooming season.

For some reason, the Red Footed Robber Flies have declared the Prairie Garden a prime hunting ground. Dozens of these big predatory flies were perched around the perimeter of the garden. There was a constant drone of robber flies changing positions and darting out to capture insects flying across the lawn. After the initial disturbance from my approach to the garden, the robber flies settled down and behaved as though I wasn’t there. They put on a very interesting show.


  1. Thanks, Lois. Large Robber Flies are one of those can't miss subjects.

  2. We have some plant of prairie origin in our garden that have done extremely well this year. The butterfly weed has had at least 3 series of flowers; the series may be related to rainfall. Consequently the butterflies have been outstanding. I have never seen so many eastern swallowtails or monarchs as I have this year. The coneflowers have attracted their share of insects, too. We are getting dry now, so things will probably let up. I have enjoyed seeing what is going on in Blue Jay Barrens and seeing how that compares with what is going on here.

  3. Hi, Wilma. I've heard that butterfly numbers are really great up north, but most of the showy species have been absent here.