Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

To Make A Prairie

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 To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,

One clover, and a bee,

And revery.

The revery alone will do,

If bees are few.

by Emily Dickinson

Earlier this week I compiled a list of new plant material for our prairie garden in the northeast corner of the Children’s Garden and it made me anxious for spring!  Have you visited this lovely spot?  (Photo is from a popular liatris bloom in the prairie garden.) 

After a closer look, you will realize native plantings like this one hold so much beauty in their colors, texture, size and wildlife habitat.  I enjoy watching the plant colors span the color wheel as the season progresses, starting in the pastel pinks and purples in the spring and ending in fiery reds, browns and yellows in the fall.

We will talk about prairie basics in another post.  Today I wanted to mention one of the new plants I hope to introduce to the prairie garden.  Lupines are one of my favorite perennials, with their striking whorled spike flowers and delicate foliage (in many ways, similar to false indigo).  I hope to introduce wild lupine, Lupinus perennis, into our prairie garden.

A few things to know about lupines:

  • Lupines can be grown from seed but for best germination results, the seed must go through scarification.  This is just a fancy term for scratching the seed coat with a knife or piece of sandpaper.
  • Lupine plants will need a year to acclimate before they put on a real show.
  • It is best not to transplant lupines, as they have a long taproot.  They grow best in well drained soil.


Do you enjoy the look and feel of prairie plantings but don’t have the space in your home garden?  I encourage you to incorporate natives or similar plants into your flowerbeds.  For more ideas, check out this wonderful article from Fine Gardeninghttp://www.finegardening.com/27-perennials-with-long-lasting-appeal.aspx

See you in the gardens.


Written by cedarvalleyarboretum

February 24, 2010 at 6:30 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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