Growth in the
is proceeding at a
rapid rate. Plants are roughly a month
ahead of where they were last year. The
old portion of the Prairie
Garden was mowed the
first week of February and we’ve had above normal temperatures during the two
months since then. Plants that take
their growth cues from soil temperature have emerged at a time when the top
growth is still at risk from damage by a frost or freeze. I know from experience that some of these plants
cannot handle freezing and there will be a die-back of top growth when we get a
The most obvious plant in the
at this time is the Western Sunflower.
These plants often survive the winter as a cluster of green basal
leaves, so it’s not surprising that they take off as soon as the spring
temperatures allow. Prairie Garden
Western Sunflower is an aggressive plant and will soon spread to take over just about any area. It does produce viable seed, but most of the rapid expansion is through far reaching rhizomes that produce new plants. The result is a large colony of clones.
The grasses are coming on very quickly. I’m wondering if the grasses will give more competition to the early blooming flowers. This is a clump of Side-oats Gramma, which normally stays very short until the mid-summer months.
The leaves of the False Aloe are rapidly elongating. These plants will produce flower stalks this year if they are not knocked back by a freeze. At this stage they are highly susceptible to damage by a hard frost.
My population of Wild Nodding Onion still hasn’t increased in number. The only plants I have are those protected by the wire cage. Most of the seed produced by these plants has been scattered back into the garden, but no more plants have emerged. I don’t know if the seeds are failing to germinate or if predators are eating the plants as quickly as they develop.
bloom this year is
the Hoary Puccoon. This is an early
plant that is pretty much on schedule, but it usually doesn’t have all of this
competing growth to deal with. Prairie
These young plants remain unidentified at the moment. I’ll keep a watch on them until they reach a stage where I can either run them through the keys or I recognize what they are. It’s not unusual for me to be baffled by a young plant in its early stages of growth. One reason for this garden is to allow me to watch things grow on a day-to-day basis, so that I’ll be able to identify a plant the minute it sticks leaves above the ground.