Prairie – By any other name

By Carol / July 27, 2009 /

This weekend marked the second month for my prairie. In spite of the crabgrass and barnyard grass, I have begun to spot native plants: Big Bluestem, Partridge Pea, many coneflowers. That’s a Partridge Pea in the photo, surrounded by crabgrass before the crabgrass really took off.

People tease me – Isn’t crabgrass a native plant? What about nutsedge? And how about that fireweed (Erechtites hieracifolia)? All native, but considered weeds. Which reminds me that the definition of a weed is any plant where you don’t want it.

As I look back on the last two months, I marvel at the roller coaster of emotions I’ve been through in such a short time. Now I’ve adopted a longer view, wait and see, attitude. My efforts with Roundup were futile. The crabgrass is going to seed. My efforts to rip off the seed heads before they scatter are futile. Which doesn’t mean I don’t spend hours each day out there trying. It gives me something to do and in the process I build a personal relationship with my prairie.

Getting ‘up close and personal’ with the crabgrass opens my eyes to the prairie seedlings that are taking root and pushing through in spite of the competition. I put my faith in their prairie ruggedness, trusting that they will keep on and in another month claim their own space.

This weekend, I had the pleasure of walking in a four-year-old prairie established by some friends. I have seen the future and it is beautiful.

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