Prairie friends – old and new

By Carol / May 9, 2010 /

What a delight to see Partridge Peas in my prairie this week!  Partridge Peas were the first plant to bloom in my prairie last summer – the only one, really, if we forget the one sunflower that bloomed late in the season.  Partridge Peas were the only plant I could, without any doubt, name.

Seeing the fern-like leaves of Partridge Peas this spring is like seeing an old friend after a long absence.  I am excited to renew the acquaintance, eager to learn how things have gone since we last met, keen to see what is new.

Compared to some of the other forbs that  populate the prairie this spring, some standing more than a foot tall, I am surprised the Partridge Pea is so tiny. Apparently, Partridge Peas start anew each year. But, plants – like people – can be surprising. Though it looks delicate, I know the Partridge pea will persist against pervasive crab grass. It will flower throughout the season. It will grow tall and strong in a single season. It will hold its own. Plus, this little plant alone gave me hope last summer, hope that my prairie would take hold, would become something.

It is important to me to be able to call the plants by name. To recognize them for who they are, with their unique attributes. I imagine they like it when I do.  Just like people. It is an honor to be called by name. It shows respect to remember and call others by their names.

As the summer progresses, I trust I’ll learn the names of other plants in the prairie (like these plants – what are they?!). And they’ll become friends I welcome back year after year.

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