This was the only place I could find with soil deep enough to securely anchor fence posts. People sometimes question why I carved my garden out of a nice prairie field. In this situation there was no prairie when I created the garden. At that time, the field was all oat stubble, remnants of the last grain crop to be grown there. The garden was long established by the time the prairie came in.
Through the summer I fill the trenches between beds with whatever organic matter I have at hand, mostly mower clippings. Each fall I till the trenches and scoop the half composted organic matter to the top of the beds.
Several native prairie species are grown here for seed production. The natives are not as well behaved as the vegetables. These Prairie Dock will not stay confined to a bed and are continually increasing their territory.
I’ve decided to limit the Prairie Dock to one bed and they’ve just about taken that.
In that time they produce huge quantities of seed. Some of that seed manages to germinate and initiate growth of another clump. False Gromwell are always in the garden, but their location is constantly changing.
It came in as a volunteer and I let it stay. That was about fifteen years ago. Since then it has attracted swarms of interesting insects to the garden. For the past three years it has hosted the caterpillars of the Unexpected Tiger Moth, an
It doesn’t take much for the lichens to distract me from my gardening chores. I have yet to take the time for any serious lichen studies, but when I get around to it, there should be plenty of lichens here to get me started.
This Song Sparrow nests in an ornamental juniper that is kept in the garden just because birds nest in it. It was planted there as a seedling 28 years ago along with several others that were intended for landscaping in front of the house, but it was not used. Instead of getting rid of it, I left it there in case one of the junipers in the yard failed to grow. By the time it became obvious that it wasn’t needed for landscaping, it had become a favorite nesting site of Song Sparrows, Catbirds and Cardinals.
Since these birds return here every year and I hear them calling well into summer, I’m assuming that they are nesting. It’s hard enough to see these birds in the field. It would just be dumb luck if I ever encountered one of their nests.
The burrow should be safe from disturbance in this location, so I will have time to coax the spider out for some photographs.
I think the garden is an appropriate place for this snake since, as a kid, I used to think their proper name was Gardener Snake. This one kept doing strange gyrations with its tongue as though trying to convey a message in snake semaphore. Maybe the message came through, because I suddenly thought of something I should be doing. That’s how most of my garden forays progress; distracted by the native plants, distracted by the birds, distracted by the bugs and gone.