Always something new

It’s fall in the prairie, but that doesn’t mean we’re done looking at new flowers. In fact, we appear to just be starting with many. Yes, the grasses are holding sway, but fresh blooms are opening everywhere.

Goldenrod is new. From reading my seed list, I know I can look for three different kinds. Curiously, the Goldenrod I found does not match the images of any of those on my list. This one is Tall Goldenrod. I’ll keep looking for the ones I seeded into the prairie and enjoy this native plant that came on its own.

Almost everyone who sees Goldenrod comments that now we’ll have allergies. Poor Goldenrod. It gets a bad rap. From what I’ve read, seasonal allergies are caused by ragweed.

Blue Vervain is also new. The plant is only about two feet tall. But the book says it will grow to six feet. Next year.

Cup Plant. I’ve been seeing these plants develop and mistakenly identified them as Compass Plants. But it’s definitely a Cup Plant. I’m told the Native Americans used the leaves as a cup to drink water – hence the name.

Unlike domestic garden plants that flower during a relatively narrow window each year, not all prairie plants appear to bloom on such a rigid schedule. Cup Plants, for instance, bloom summer through fall. This plant only emerged in mid-summer and began blooming a couple of weeks ago.

I joined some friends for a walk at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge prairie this past weekend. Based on what I saw there, I can tell we’re not done yet. My prairie will be giving me something new to look at for weeks to come.

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