It’s looking a little dismal out there. Hopefully the weather doesn’t get too wild. I’d take some rain but hail and high (LOL, higher than usual for Oklahoma) winds will not help my new plants.
I’m thinking up future posts while I wait for the storms. Things like what plants have medicinal properties (how the prairie can heal you) and what plants can be used for natural dyes. What are you interested in? Would you like to know about what prairie plants can be used to spin thread and then be woven into cloth? Maybe we can find out how to survive on the prairie alone. I’m willing to bet there’s a prairie plant that can be used to make brooms. Let’s stretch our minds and find as many ways to use it as we can! Maybe this will guide my collection as well.
I’ve been learning about a couple of the plants growing in the prairie and my yard trying to decide if they should stay or if I need to take them out by hand. I’ve already been able to use this information to help someone else identify the same ‘weed’ coming up in her yard. Yay for knowledge and learning!
Stay safe y’all.
I had a ‘little’ help with burying the post and hanging the sign today. Of course someone else dug the hole. This feels so much more official.
The hole digger thought this was picture worthy and snuck around the house to get a shot of us putting up the sign.
The youngest McCoy showing off our work.
Yesterday I made the trek up to Stillwater to visit Bustani Plant Farm and take care of some jdstar business. I took one of my neighbors with me and we combed up and down every aisle reading every description and oohing and ahhing over all of the plants. I had only been once before and it was last fall at the very end of their season. I was pretty excited to see what they looked like fully stocked.
So I bought 14 plants, all but one, the Passion Flower, for the pocket prairie. Passion Flower is going in my front flowerbed and something I’ve been looking for for about a month. I picked the other plants because they are native to this area of the country and would help jumpstart the color out there.
So here are the plants, linked to a description:
Fall Blooming Allium Allium stellatum
Giant Coneflower Rudbeckia maxima
Golden False Indigo Baptisia sphaerocarpa
Narrow-leaf Sunflower Helianthus angustifolius
Poppy Mallow Callirhoe involucrata
Rayless Gaillardia Gaillardia suavis
Rock Pink Talinum calycinum
Autumn Sneezeweed Helenium autumnale
Mexican Hat Ratibida columnifera
Magnus Purple Coneflower Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’
Silky Gold Butterfly Weed Asclepias curassavica
Hoary Vervain Verbena stricta
Lead Plant Amorpha canescens
Everything was planted out and watered in this morning. We’ve been talking about where to put the sign and considering adding a pocket library to the pocket prairie. It would be a great place to share some of the gardening books I no longer use. I’m hoping the pole will be placed sometime today. As you can see below, it’s still looking pretty rough. This feels like the hardest part. Waiting and hoping I am not forced to mow it. This picture is from today. What do you think?
If you’re seeing this, it’s probably because we finally got our signs posted and you found out about the pocket prairie’s blog 🙂
Pocket Prairie and Monarch Waystation signs!
If not… Lookie! My signs both came and I can’t wait to get them posted. I think I’m going to wait until the grass gets a little higher before we dig the hole and plant the pole. At any rate, I’m pretty pleased with my personal sign explaining what we are doing and where to get more information (HERE!).
I also went out this week and seeded 2 packets of Asclepius tuberose just to be sure I’ve got that covered for the monarchs. It may be a little late in the spring for this but I have them in other parts of my yard so I can always seed again in the fall and not worry about having none at all.
What do you think? Is this how you found the blog? Have you been wondering why we’ve neglected the weeds in this one area while planting and cleaning up other areas? Let me know what your thoughts are, I’m really curious about what you’d like to know.
I went out yesterday to check in on the pocket prairie and saw some new babies popping up. While I was looking, I saw one or 2 of each and thought it was going to be a little sad on the wildflower front this year. I went back out today to get pictures in better light and I started noticing many more of the same babies. I can’t tell you what they are yet but I’m putting up my baby pictures any way 😄 I’m also including a picture of a little tiny mound of grass. I don’t know if these are part of the seeds (I’m not great with identifying grass until it goes to seed) but I saw them all over the yard and in the median in front of our house so probably not. I did notice that after the first mow of the lawn, the little mounds are gone. Maybe the mow killed them. No idea. But they are still here in the prairie where we have not mowed. Let me know what your think. If you’ve walked by this week, have you noticed these babies?
If you’ve never been by, you can see there are a lot of “weeds” in there. Bermuda Grass and other things. I’m waiting on most of this to see how the native grasses do. I will be going out and removing anything that’s not allowing the native plants to thrive. I also have a lot to learn about what’s native and what’s not. I’m not rushing this thing.
A list of what we’ve seeded so far:
Big Blue Stem, Andropogon gerardii
Switch Grass, Panicum virgatum
Native Wildflower Mix, ???
Indian Grass, Sorghastrum nutans
Indian Blanket, Gaillardia pulchella
Little Blue Stem, Schizachyrium scoparium
If we leave the pocket prairie where it’s at, I may seed more flowers and pull grasses from the middle next year. Begin to make some order to it. We shall see.
Edited to add:
I went out to water the pocket prairie today for the first time. We aren’t getting much rain and I’d hate to see all those seeds fail to germinate or be eaten instead of filling the pocket with plants. I’ve held out this long in the hopes of having it all occur as nature would have it. I got antsy. I’m sorry.
So I was out watering and saw our neighbor. I confessed to her that I have no idea how this thing is going to turn out and my fear that it will be reported and mowed before anything has a chance to be salvaged. If this year doesn’t do something awesome, my plan is to move plants into other more landscaped areas of the yard and still be able to have them. Her words: Don’t buy a problem that doesn’t exist. Wait and see how it looks.
I appreciate those words from her. I realized that one thing I want to do to help people understand what’s going on is to make a sign. Then I thought, there’s so much I’d want to put on that sign so maybe a blog??? So here I am. Blogging about my pocket prairie in progress.
So without further ado, here’s what it looks like right now.
You can see the darker green rectangle. That’s it. The dirt nearest the sidewalk is actually a small blueberry bush and the tree farther down is a Gala Apple. Updates soon! -JD
Welcome to the McCoy Pocket Prairie Garden and blog! I’m sure that if you are here, you are curious about the large rectangle on the west side of out lot. Thank you for making it this far, I’m excited to tell you all about it!
First, for people who aren’t from around here, you should know that this area of our corner city lot in inner-city Oklahoma City was mowed regularly, never watered and only used as a place to walk for people trying to stay out of the street. This seems like a perfect place to seed native grasses and wildflowers as a way station for migrating butterflies and to naturalize a small area of our lot. It’s pretty much neglected and only growing weeds to be mowed. So here’s what we’ve done:
I attended a workshop in fall 2015 about starting a pocket prairie. It was put on by The Nature Conservancy and a local landscaping company called Olthia. They provided ~$35 worth of seed for the project. It consisted of 80% Native grasses (Indian Grass, Little Blue Stem, Big Blue Stem and others) and 20% Native wildflowers. Think Indian Blanket and others.
Back in the coldest part of the winter we measured out the area we wanted to use, About 7’x20′. We left room to mow on all sides to provide walking space on the street side and a boundary between the fence and the prairie on the east side. We also used our weed eater to cut the existing grass as close to the dirt as we could. We then mixed all the seeds into a large bag of soil and then, as a family, sprinkled the seed & soil mix evenly around our rectangle. Since then, it’s been a wait and see thing. I’m so curious to see what seeds make it and how it’s going to fit in once things get tall. Will the neighbors hate it, love it, REPORT IT?
We shall see. I’m starting this blog as a place to keep notes and allow curious people to have their questions answered. Send me any you have and I’ll see what I can do. -JD