Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Planning a Prairie

  • The recent Midwest Native Plant Conference provided some excellent speakers, and opportunities for learning from some of the top botany experts in Ohio. Guy Denny spoke on "Tall Grass Prairies" and gave us a "Recipe for a Prairie."

Purple Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea with Question Mark butterfly posing on top.
Guy's home prairie is a beauty to behold. He artistically stages the grasses towards the center and the edges consist of repeating waves of Purple Coneflowers. Not only is it appealing to the eye, it is appealing to the butterflies as well.

Acres and acres of breath-taking beauty. But prairies are not only beautiful, they are practical too. Guy pointed out several benefits during his program:

  • Sequesters atmospheric carbon dioxide

  • Sequesters atmospheric nitrogen

  • Increases organic matter into the soil

  • Stabilizes the soil

  • Increases rain water absorption

  • Provides critical wildlife habitat

  • Increases ecological diversity

  • Enhances the beauty of the landscape

    So if you are interested in attracting beautiful creatures like Slaty Skimmers...

..or in providing habitat for rarities such as Duke's Skippers. You may want to visit a few prairies this summer to get a feel for the broad brush stoke of native plants.

But be warned: visiting prairies can become habitat forming!

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