Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Land Part 5 - Planting the Prairie

Little did we know we had bought a hayfield!

Not being country folk we didn't recognize the green sward as alfalfa hay.

But with my new found interest in trees, birds and the wonder of nature I proposed a daring suggestion.

Let's plant a prairie.

Now this is gardening on a grand scale!

Take 7 acres.
Get rid of all the plants (that is the hardest part)
Call Spence nursery.
Plant the whole kit and kaboodle in tall grass prairie.

Best idea of my life!

It took a few years, but it was worth waiting for!

Now every June it starts with a field of soft green.
Then a few star spots of white flowers.

Later in June the field fills with sunshine yellow with black eyed susans and towering sunflowers.

July it bursts with clouds and clouds of purple beebalms.

The month ends as dark purple enters with the coneflowers and asters.

Then we enter fall went the burnt sienna of the grasses challenges the brilliant maple trees for color.

And if you think the vision is beautiful, you must try the smells!

When Tom mows his paths - swallows diving around him to catch the bugs he stirs up - he is washed in the sweet gentle scent of the beebalms. Heavenly.

My own favorite smells are the apple blossoms early in the spring.

Oh! and the sounds!

Birds? The meadowlarks with their Spring of the Earth songs. The burble of the nesting bluebirds.

My favorite sound?

Go to the very middle of the prairie in late June and close your eyes?

You will be filled with the wonderful hum of hundreds of bees.
Open your eyes.

I didn't know there were so many different kinds of bees.
Big fuzzy bumblebees work the beebalms. The smaller honeybees gather the pollen.

None of them bother us. They are way too busy with the flowers.

The prairie is alive at all seasons. As you stand on Swingset Hill the prairie dances with butterflies of every description. The birds swoop among the grasses. We enjoy the surprise of a praying mantis staring at us at eye level.

And for kids? Set them loose in a prairie. Let them run the paths hidden from view, exploring the hills and valleys.


This is dog heaven!

We can only begin to imagine the smells they appreciate in their exploration of this wild and wonderful grassy world.

 I just know there is more happiness expressed in the wag of that tail than any human expression.

1999 we planted a prairie.

Our life has never been the same.
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