May 4th, 2004

self portrait

Today I was a virtuous gardener

I weeded the prairie. Well, my little chunk of it. Now the vast amount of green things that were growing there, have been pared down and are mostly the ones I planted there. My war chant as I made my way across the southern prairie was "Hey, hey. Ho, ho. Rhizomatic grass has got to go!" On the east side of the garden I dug a little trench to sever all the rhizomes trying to spread over from the yard. Won't be a long-term solution, but it at least should deprive the little buggers on the garden side of their support network. I ended up taking two 5-gallon pails worth of weed tops, roots and rhizomes out of the southern prairie. Found its way into the compost, it did.

I discovered a few plugs of prairie grasses amongst the weeds. The poor little Little Bluestem just aren't getting as fast a start as the weedy grasses. I'd occasionally pull up a chunk of weed only to have a very distinctive plug among earth connected to it. Oh, well, back in the ground with it and hope it does OK.

The Junegrass, on the other hand, is doing very well nearly everywhere it is planted. I wondered at first if this was something to do with the species but then remembered that these plants came in larger pots, so they were better established to start with. Definitely worth the extra money.

The Heath Aster I've planted on mostly to the west side of the southern prairie is also doing well. No flowers, of course, but the foliage is growing up very nicely.

On the front prairie, the grasses aren't faring as well. Lots of incidents of squirrels pulling up the plugs just to see what the human was hiding. Still, so many plugs went in that the survivors are doing well. They should put out more roots over the summer and be safe from marauding tree rats this fall.

In mid-May, the Landscape Alternatives folks say they'll have their clover up at their St. Paul location. That's my next planned purchase to start filling in the prairie gardens. I've already planned for White and Purple Prairie Clover and the fellow at the nursery also suggested a Showy Prairie Clover for the sandy/rocky areas near the house of the southern prairie.

In other gardening news, the ferns are starting to do their thing. The Woodland garden has what my Master Gardener friend has told me are fiddlehead ferns at their peak of edibility. I'm going to hold off on eating them as I want them to spread and take over the area. The gourmand in me will wait for future years. In the Pre-Cambrian garden there are also some ferns starting to do their thing and the hostas are just starting to poke their heads up. Elsewhere, in areas of more sun, the ferns and hostas are going great gangbusters and having a party.

Next step: Operation Dandelion Elimination!
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