Photo of the Week – May 25, 2018

One of the big advantages of a prairie garden is that when good photography lighting conditions appear, it only takes me a few steps to find possible photo subjects.  Since I’m hobbling around on crutches right now, that short distance is an even bigger perk.

Yesterday, I enjoyed a few minutes photographing prairie spiderwort (Tradescantia occidentalis) in our garden.  A couple tiny hover flies (Syrphidae) were visiting the spiderwort flowers as well.  While these flies are usually characterized as pollinators, that might not be completely accurate.  Because they aren’t fuzzy, the flies probably don’t do much pollen transport, and essentially just “steal” pollen from the flowers.  I wonder if they steal enough to have any significant impact?  Regardless, through my macro lens, I was able to watch one repeatedly deploy its tongue as it fed on the bright yellow pollen.

Oh, and there were still some dew drops on the leaves, so I photographed one of those too.

Enjoy your long holiday weekend (if you’re in the U.S.), everyone!



Hubbard Fellowship Blog – Planning a Prairie Garden

A guest post by Anne Stine, one of our Hubbard Fellows:

It just recently turned cold out, which means I’ve started daydreaming about next year’s garden.  I am a native plant enthusiast, and I have decided that I’ll be planting a prairie garden filled with my favorite flowers that I’ve learned with The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska over the past six months.  I’ve poured through the internet searching for propagation information and bloom times.  I want to make sure I have a continuous bloom period, both because it makes for pleasant viewing and because I want to provide native bee habitat across the growing season.  I also need to know which seeds require stratification or scarification. Because I am me, I made a spreadsheet of all this information (at the bottom of this post).

Who wouldn't want flowers like this in a garden?  Blue lobelia and cardinal flower in The Nature Conservancy's Platte River Prairies.

Who wouldn’t want flowers like this in a garden? Blue lobelia and cardinal flower in The Nature Conservancy’s Platte River Prairies.

Ultimately, I want my garden to be a great pollinator resource filled with unique native plants. If it attracts birds and butterflies too, that’s a huge plus. Lastly, if it’s going to survive my schedule, it needs to be low-maintenance.  I am pleased to note that gardening with native plants can fulfil all these objectives.  My table of appealing native plants, though not comprehensive, will help me design my garden to satisfy these requirements.  I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on favorite native plants and propagation tricks.

Happy plann(t)ing!

Click on the tables below to see a larger/clearer version of them.  Or click HERE to see the same information in a PDF format.



*Information on propagation, soil moisture requirements, and bloom period gathered from the USDA Plants Database, Native Plant Database, and the Missouri Botanical Garden Plantfinder Database.