It has been 16 months since I planted my prairie garden plots and they are now doing very well! Last summer the plants were very slow to establish and only a few late season black-eyed Susans flowered along with a few of the quicker non-native mix that I added along the edge to try and brighten it a bit during the first season. Plenty of bare ground was to be found at that time. This was as I expected as perennials grown from seed take a couple of seasons to flourish. In late fall a few asters bloomed. It was a long winter until things awoke and really started to grow in May. There wasn’t much color however until late June. Well, now the flowers are starting to flourish!
Flowers of July!
One prairie garden plot receives more shade as it is planted between two evergreens. It is now overwhelmed with black-eyed Susans! It is a sea of golden orange!
The other prairie garden plot has a nice variety currently blooming: black-eyed Susans, purple coneflower, long and slender yellow coneflower, common milkweed, tall coreopsis, sawtooth and early sunflower. There is a lot of yellow bursting out. We can see greenery extending on other species throughout the prairie garden plots. It will be exciting to see what else begins to bloom throughout the season!
Already a few butterflies danced across the blooms, flittering here and there, enjoying the nectar. I planted these prairie garden plantings to help provide habitat for butterflies, bees, and other pollinators and beneficial insects.
The one disappointment is that the prairie garden seed mix we planted was to have had 40% prairie grasses, however, the majority of grasses are naturalized and not from the seed mix planted, such as timothy grass. I thought maybe the seeded varieties would appear this year, the second season, but it does not seem to be the case. Maybe the birds ate the seeds before the could sprout? As it is, the plots appear more as a wildflower garden, which isn’t all bad.
My mom and dad have remarked that it is disappointing that there have been no early season flowers in May or early June, however, I do know most of the flowers in most prairie flower heaviest from mid-summer through autumn. Despite these less than ideal challenges, it appears the prairie garden plots will have profuse color for the rest of the summer!
Do you enjoy a prairie garden, wildflower gardens, or meadows, or do you prefer a prim and proper manicured flower garden? Can you identify the butterfly in the picture? Let me know in the comments!