Fall in the Prairie Meadow

If you haven’t had a chance to visit the prairie meadow recently – take a walk and check it out.  There are so many flowers in bloom! (Be sure to wear insect repellent – there are mosquitoes.)

Last winter we planted the seeds of 73 different native flowers, and 9 native grasses and sedges.  This year I’ve found 27 of those flowers blooming, and 5 or 6 “volunteers” – native flowers that we didn’t plant, but came up from seeds that were in the soil.  I haven’t seen any of the grasses, but grasses and sedges take longer to get established – we should see more of them next year.

While I was standing at the edge of the prairie a few days ago, a flock of birds was twittering in the trees and searching for bugs in the prairie.  I saw (and heard) Chickadees, Cardinals, several different Flycatchers that I couldn’t identify, and lots of warblers: Common Yellowthroats, Black and White Warblers, Wilson’s Warblers, and a Red-eyed Vireo.  So look for birds as well as flowers at this time of year!

I also saw a few migrating Monarch butterflies and lots of honey bees and bumblebees.

Monarch

Bumblebee on a Sneezeweed flower

The northern, drier half of the meadow has lots of Evening Primrose.  It’s a fast growing plant that shouldn’t be so prominent in later years.  But it provided plenty of flowers this summer, and it’s still blooming.

Evening Primrose

This is a view of the southern, wetter half of the prairie.  This is where most of the flowers are right now.

Here are the flowers I found there this week.

Common False Foxglove

American Burn Weed – this is one of the volunteers.  It’s a plant that comes up after burns or other disturbance, and will probably disappear as the prairie becomes more established.

Nodding Bur-marigold

Black-eyed Susan

Blue Lobelia

Blue Vervain

Another volunteer – Canada Goldenrod.  It’s native, but pretty aggressive.  (We’ll have to keep an eye on it to be sure it doesn’t become too dominant.)

Cinnamon Willow-herb

Boneset

Flat-top Aster

Fleabane – another of the volunteers

Grass-leaved Goldenrod

Ironweed

Jewelweed – another volunteer

Joe Pye Weed

False Boneset

Water Horehound

New England Aster – not quite in bloom yet

Ox-eye

Smartweed – a volunteer

Smooth Blue Aster – with honeybee

Sneezeweed

I call this Sweet Everlasting – I don’t like the more commonly used name: Cudweed – and the plant does have a very sweet fragrance

Tall Boneset

Tall Sunflower

Tall Swamp Marigold

White Snakeroot – another volunteer.  This one is somewhat weedy, especially in shady places.  I think once the prairie gets more established, we won’t see so much of it.