prairie – medicine for the earth

Lincoln Parish prairie/ pollinator habitat gardens, planted at the request of the Louisiana Department of Transportation for the Rest Area – Welcome Center in Tremont, Louisiana, between Monroe and Ruston on Interstate-20

our old planting of perennial prairie  plant community species, above, from spring of last year, is on the right (in green) and the planting done this spring is on the left in yellow. The annual color, stabilization species are the yellow, Coereopsis tinctoria, the prairie species are just now germinating, under and in conjunction with, the Coreopsis. Some areas of the planting from last year are a bit sparse, as you can see in the photo, but this is typical.

above, a yearling seedling of Prairie Sage, Salvia azurea, breaks through the clay-sand subsoil crust.

elevation

 

last year’s prairie planting

I used annual color last year that’s quite happy filling in the gaps between pioneering prairie perennials. For prairie plants , which are most all perennials, Dr Vidrine says, “the first year they sleep, the second year they creep, THE THIRD YEAR THEY LEAP!!!”    🙂

Perennial plants are permanent plants but they take a few years of growing and concentrating their energy on roots and then they begin to mature and flower and compete in the landscape for space, sunlight, moisture, nutrients and root zone. Perennial prairie gardens are self-proliferating, ever-increasing in biomass both above and below ground.

prairie is subtle, sublime.

many Bees, Butterflies and Dragon Flies were partaking, enjoying the soup dejour.

some nice patches of Brownseed Paspalum grass (in hand), starting to mature, emerge from the velvety Bluestem grass masses.

A single cherished plant of Rough Leafed Goldenrod introduces itself

a few Sweet Scented Camphorweeds were showing their purple-silvery foliage

Centaurea americana

The rock-star annual American Basketflower/ American Bachelor Button can’t be beat

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West Monroe’s, Ouachita Parish, La., Kiroli Park Prairie Garden

Lots of really good species developing in the gardens, and consistently throughout. Lots of Monarda fistulosa and Monarda punctata getting ready to flower – so all through June the garden will be lit up with fragrant minty color – both of these are just budded up now.

The most significant plant found so far from our seeding was this, above, singular Pale Coneflower, Rudbeckia Pallida.

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Native Prairie Gardens at Hammond Research Station, flourishing

Rudbeckia nidita

above, the Care and Maintenance Gardens are demonstration, research areas designed and managed by Dr. Yan Chen – developed in the last few years in order to provide a venue for native prairie species grow, to gain more acceptance in the horticulture industry through the Station’s active Field Day forums. All of the seed they’ve used for the gardens has been donated by our firm.

above, the “sand box gardens” were attempted using a variation of one of Dr. James Hitchmough’s (University of Sheffield, UK) seeding techniques. The gardens are set in a grid with mowed strips between. The gardens were literally buzzing with happy insect species. Looking good, Dr. Yan!

New Gardens of Bluestem grass mass gardens have been planted to determine sufficient spacing for naturalized, native grass landscapes planted via nursery grown plants. There are four large gardens, planted last year from nursery plants grown from Pastorek donated seed.

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Mississippi State Department of Transportation Conservation-Preservation Effort NEEDED on Interstate Highway 55, from Osyka to Brookhaven

an odd-colored rudbeckia hirta

rudbeckia hirta

Slender Bluestem grass. ahhhhhhh….

helinium flexuosa

green milkweed

numnummy

some of the most amazing and beautiful gardenesque prairies – miles and miles of them – exist on Interstate 55 in southwestern Mississippi, running through the southern part of Hinds County and all through Copiah, Lincoln and Pike Counties. These are, in some cases, worth stopping and viewing and if your lucky, load up with some Green Milkweed seeds!

Life is good. Make it fun!

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the struggle of life is not won with one glorious moment – but a continual in which you keep your dignity in tact and your powers at work, over a long course of a life time.

Roger Wilkins

 

Very nice words indeed – rest in peace Mr. Wilkins.

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If you don’t act, the dangers become stronger  Ai Wei wei

Cooter’s Bog/ Kisatchie field trips, May 19-21

Great scientists are artists as well.     Albert Einstein

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Dr. Charles Allen will host the 27th annual Bogs and Baygalls event, this Saturday May 19-21. Dr Allen and and the late Robert Murry have hosted this botanical event each year, highlighting some of the most impressive landscape-scale natural areas in Louisiana. The field trip to Cooter’s Bog is set for Saturday morning. If you’ve never seen grass pink orchids, you probly aught to be there. 🙂   Dr. Allen’s property backs up to Kisatchie National Forest, in Vernon Parish. His gardens are unique and mostly focused on Butterfly and Hummingbird Moth attraction. His plant collection is far out, man. He and I burned his prairie garden this February so it should be busting at the seams with flower activity.

 

BOGS, BAYGALLS, BIRDS, BUTTERFLIES, BOTANICAL BLISS, BIG MOTHS:  The 27th Annual BBBBB

Friday, May 19, 2017
2 pm:  Plant ID and butterfly plant workshop.  Dr. Charles Allen will lead the workshop.  Meet at Allen Acres.  We will see the national champion Large Gallberry tree on nearby Forest Service land.  See directions to Allen Acres below.

6 pm-till:  Potluck supper (dinner), slides, networking, etc.  Allen Acres (For directions, see below).  We also will count fireflys and go sheeting (mothing), spider eyes, and maybe hear owls, chuck will’s widows and ?
   
Saturday, May 20, 2017:

9 am:  “Forest Service Traditional BBBBB” Tours of Bogs and Baygalls: Meet at Allen Acres (See below) and we will caravan to the sites.  Tours will include pitcher plant bogs, upland areas, and other ecosystems.  Orchids, pitcher plants, and other interesting plants should be seen.  Several different kinds of birds including the red cockaded woodpecker, butterflies, and other animals might be encountered.  Bring your own snacks, water, or other beverages.  The bogs are wet so dress accordingly.

12 noon-1:30 pm:  Lunch, at Allen Acres.  “Susan’s Chinese Food” (Donations Accepted)

1:30 pm:  Betty Kaufman presentation

3 PM “Afternoon Field Trip” Depending on group’s interests etc.  Begin from Allen Acres (see below)

6:00 pm till Supper (dinner), net-working, slides, etc.  We also will count fireflys and go sheeting (mothing), spider eyes, and maybe hear owls, chuck will’s widows and ?

Sunday May 21, 2017:

9 am:  “Sunday Morning Field Trip” Depending on group’s interests etc.  Begin from Allen Acres (see below)

For more information, contact Dr. Charles Allen or Susan Allen 337-328-2252 email native@camtel.net.  You are invited to stay in the B and B (www.allenacresbandb.com).

Directions to our house: From the east sides of the state, get on La 10 going west out of Oakdale and follow La 10 thru Elizabeth and Pitkin and then six miles past Pitkin, you will enter Cravens.  In Cravens you will turn south (left) onto La 399.  La 399 is just east of the two stores in Cravens.  If you are coming from the west, you will turn onto La 10 at Pickering and follow La 10 just south of Ft Polk and continue east for about 15 miles.  After entering Cravens, watch for the store on the right and then turn right onto La 399.  Now all are on La 399, follow it south for 1.8-1.9 miles and in a sharp curve to the left, turn right into our driveway.  If you are coming from the south, get on La 112 (an east-west road) just se of DeRidder and turn north onto La 399.  You will travel north on La 399 for six miles and turn left into Allen Acres.    


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At the Farm

Frey Prairie restoration at the Farm in Pearl River County, Mississippi –  last week – above, high quality prairie vegetation with last year’s growth mixed in. I willl be burning this in the near future.

some really nice patches of white Barbara’s Buttons, M. trinervia

Asclepias obovata – a native Milkweed

a one-year-old seedling of Skeleton grass, seeded three years ago. Many are showing up, by the hundreds. How delightful!

Narrow-leafed Mountain Mint provides nectar for many insects

the bronze-colored leaf shades of Rough-leafed Goldenrod

Pale purple cone flower

recruitment of thousands of seedlings of Hyssopleaf Thoroughwort showing up amongst the Bluestem grasses

Lindhiemer’s Bee Balm

the largest stands that I’ve seen of Bee Balm are in my seed fields at the farm

Passiflora vine is for Fritillaries

Boom! Legume!  Coral Bean and my old greenhouse wood heater

Several Legumes, Tephrosia carolina (above) and Tephrosia onobrychoides, Strophostyles, Lespedezas, Crotolaria, Baptisias are commmon in the fields at the Farm. The wonderfully prolific annual bean, Partridge Pea, covers the ground of the fields (where once there was none) – with hundreds of thousands of plants – available to the abundance of Sulfur Butterflies that flutter about on sunny days.

My cup (trailer) runneth over. 🙂

I worked in the field this week on my vacay, cutting and gathering dead trees and vines to haul to the burn pile. Gotter done. Had big fun.

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Eryngi-yum!

Nice Button Snakeroots at Doug and Mary’s house in Folsom, St. Tammany Parish, La.

 

mowed paths for walking and viewing

Inverting the ratio of garden to mowed area conserves natural resources and preserves native genetics.

Narrow Leaf Mountain Mint is a prolific plant

an ocean of narrow leafed Mountain Mint – millions of cool prairie flowers

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City Park’s Pastorek Habitats-inspired cosmos pollinator gardens are pretty lately. A photo from my brother Guy, of his Grand daughter Garcie Pastorek last week.

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Every artist is an activist.   Ai Weiwei

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http://harvestpublicmedia.org/post/growing-prairie-shadow-agribusiness-legacy

http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20170510-fairy-wasps-are-some-of-the-smallest-insects-known

April is for flowers, and I aint foolin’

Prairie Gardens are for prairie fools

a Euthamiac – in the house

radiant Polytaenia

Prairie Phlox grows along with sweet-smelling Narrow Leafed Mt Mint and the distinctive foliage of Ashy Sunflower

Prairie Phlox is generally pink in color but in some populations the plant is highly variable in color and flower form

Carriere, Pearl River County, Mississippi prairie gardens were so happy to see me yesterday. I got to visit with some of my old friends.

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Jason Stagg and Dr. Yan Chen at LSU’s Hammond Research Station native plant demo gardens

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Kansas Blazing Star, pretty happy blazing in Louisiana, too

Liatris pycnostachya clump in April

Pycnostachya roots clump, in January, furry little beast 🙂

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Malcolm Vidrine’s White Mountain Mint wild-collected-selection, a plant of promise

two seedling variations of the same exceptional native plant, White Leaf Mountain Mint, Picnanthemum albescens var. Malcolm Mint, a spearmint scented native mint cultivar with plant parts that smells just like the old world species Mentha spicata. This unique cultivar of Mt. Mint has highly aromatic properties that will no doubt impress you. Its also a very pretty and delightful plant; of substantial ornamental value. I have had this plant since about 2001. In about 15 years, I’ve noticed that approximately 80% or more of the seedlings that have grown from the original Momma plant have the true spearmint aroma. The rest have the typical species camphorine smell. The plant is easy to root, too, from stem cuttings – if taken at the best time – just prior to bloom. Propagation via cuttings produces plants that are true clones, identical to the plant the cuttings came from.

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click to enlarge photos

a visit with my two brothers to Bennie Trahan’s garden in St. Tammany Parish

– one of the more impressive collection gardens I have seen in a while, Bennie has spent 25 plus years hunting wild Iris, those of variable color, the true natural hybrids of the Louisianas.

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speakin’ of Loosiana

http://www.kplctv.com/story/35127144/heart-of-louisiana-cajun-prairie?clienttype=generic&utm_content=buffer7e817&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

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Iris nelsoni in its natural habitat, Vermillion Parish, La, – photos, Paul Pastorek

I. nelsoni, the “Abbeville red”

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Cajun Prairie Society Prairie Field Day, April 8

a particularly purple-leafed Indian grass pointed out to me by my friend Steve Nevitt, at the Duralde Prairie Restoration site, north of Eunice April 8. Not too shabby.

Prairie Parsley at Eunice Restoration site

Scuttelaria incana in blue with Ashy Sunflower at Eunice – photo by Justin Fuselier

There is never a wasted trip to see the Cajun Prairie Restoration sites.

Always something to impress you if your eyes can see.

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Tangipahoa Parish – hail to the natural swail!!!

Lycopus, either rubellus or virginiana, a purpley-leafed mint.

num-nummy! This swail landscape may be hard to reproduce, but maybe not.

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sidetracked in the side yard – things of late spring

daybreak cypress side yard moon, St Tammany Parish, La

classy side yard prairie garden’s got what it takes to impress…  …at least me

Silphium asteriscus

Silphium gracile

silphium simpsoni

Silphium integrifolia

 

Clematis make good prairie additions – fire tolerant

Phacelia

Red Top grass – Agrostus hyemalis

Carolina Moonlight – a hybrid, pale yellow color, with B. alba structure and form

Baptisia bracteata

greens are colors, too.

blue-foliaged tones of White Batisias and Switch grass

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Bio Lab class’ controlled burns at Hammond City Park, more than satisfactory

above, Dr. Platt at pond #1 – introducing natural succession through fire…

With twenty mph sustained winds and gusting to 30 or more, and dry, dry – without rain for three or more weeks, Dr. Bill Platt and I had perfect conditions for a rockin’ prescribed fire on Friday April 14, on the Conservation Biology/ Entomology research areas – the prairie gardens – at Chappapeela Sports Park. With Dr. Platt’s direction, we have built into the gardens, 30 1-meter-square data study plots. This was the best burn we’ve had in the four years that we’ve done our work at the park, most of our burns have been hampered by wet weather. We were excited to have had our fire move all the way down to the water’s edge where the dried stem structure from last year’s bumper crop of Climbing Hemp Vine fueled tiny wind-whipped furnaces – super hot, intense fires that killed tree cambium on woody plants, forcing growth below the soil, to the roots. Last October when I visited the Park the Hemp Vine was so plentiful and so massive in size, the aroma that wafted through the air was simply magical and there were dozens and dozens –  many Monarch Butterflies nectaring on the masses of Hemp Vine flowers. Hemp Vine makes it fun!!!!

small pond – pond #2

a photograph showing the fire intensity effect 5 days later, with soil exposed from the top to the bottom of the pond slope.

So far he and the students have studied fire intensity, soils, pollinators, species recruitment, species diversity and richness, shrub growth and soil hydrology.

Dr. Platt said to me yesterday that it is “remarkable” how well the prairie vegetation has  developed in the short amount of time it has taken. This word “remarkable”, coming from one of the most active – and one of the leading – scientists in the country.

 

 

Chapapeela Park Design.2017  transect designs

Chapapeela Park Prairie

 

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If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space. 

– Charles M. Allen

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‘There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? … I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?   –   Robert F. Kennedy

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The future Mirabeau Water Garden Park, a 25 acre designed wetland, New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana –

Waggonner and Ball Architects – Carbo Landscape Architects – Pastorek Habitats Horticulture/ Ecology

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Cramer’s Amazon Celosia, from seed, ready for the garden (left) and Solidago tortifolia seedlings (right) – whoopwhoop!    gittin’ growin’!

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Dr Allen’s thoughts on Bogs and Baygalls – Join him for Bogs and Baygalls Field Trips on May 19-21 – He is one of the leading authorities on the subject.

Bogs Baygalls

Bogs

 

Matthew Herron talk- origins, ecology, and conservation of southeastern prairies

Matthew Herron, biologist, naturalist and native plant enthusiast, will speak to the Cajun Prairie Society Field Day group – the title and general description of his talk is…..
“Southeastern Prairies: Origins, Ecology and Conservation
This talk will review some of the geology and biogeography surrounding southeastern prairies, aiming to frame Cajun Prairies within the broader landscape of the rich southeastern flora. We will make a round trip to various prairies and prairie like systems for better context and look at how principles in plant ecology can help us appreciate the diversity of prairie flora. We will then look forward to current opportunities for conservation, education and restoration.”

Cajun Prairie Habitat Preservation Society Meeting

April 08, 2017

8:00 AM:  Tours of Duralde Restored Prairie.
10:00 AM:   Eunice Restored Prairies
12 noon   Lunch with a Society business meeting and speaker, at Rocky’s Restaurant located at 1415 E Laurel Ave, Eunice, LA 70535  (337) 457-6999.

 Seed and Plant Auction at the end of the meeting
seed list so far
  • Andropogon elliotti   Washington Parish
  • Schizachirium scoparium  Jeff Davis Parish
  • Andropogon ternarius  Acadiana
  • Sorghastrum elliotti – Wash Parish
  • Sorghastrum nutans – Acadiana
  • Aristida purpurascens  Acadiana
  • Monarda lindhiemeri Eunice prairie
  • Monarda fistulosum Washington Parish
  • Gaillardia aesitivalus Washington Parish
  • Gaillardia aesitivalus var winklerii (Texas, eww)
  • Cajun Prairie seed mix
  • St Tammany Parish/ Tangipahoa flatwoods seed mix
 plant list
  • variegated Manfreda virginica Frey Prairie origin
  • Elliott’s Indian grass   Wash Parish
  • Pychnanthemum albescens La/Ms genes
  • Pycnanthemum albescens “Malcolm Mint/ spearmint” Acadiana
  • dwarf Switch grass   Acadiana
  • dwarf Indian grass  Mississippi Gail Barton origin
  • dwarf Eastern Gamma grass cajun prairie origin
  • Brooksville, Ms. Blue Switch grass   Gail Barton
  • Big Bluestem Acadiana
  • Little Bluestem grass  Acadiana
  • sporobolus junceus Acadiana origin
  • eryngium yuccafolia  Acadiana origin
  • Eupatorium hyssopifolia  Acadiana
  • Rudbeckia nidita var texana
  • Indian grass Acadiana
  • Tridens flavus

from Steven Dale Nevitt

  • Echinacea pallida                            LA
  • Echinacea purpurea                        LA
  • Baptisia alba                                  Cajun prairie
  • Gaillardia aestivalis                       Acadiana
  • Indian grass, blue leaf selection      Cajun prairie
  • Sideoats grama                            Cameron parish
  • Iris nelsonii                                 Vermilion parish
  • Rudbeckia maxima                         LA
From Dr. Malcolm Vidrine’s Iris collection…. “I will be bringing some young Louisiana Iris and, some old ones.”
just sayin’,
hanging out with Charles Allen, you can learn some stuff. The brilliance just oozes from his pores (ooh gros, I know!). His gardens are amazing, all filled with flowers for specific groups of awesome insects – scientific studies, each one.
Its elementary, my dear Watson.
I burned Dr. Allen’s meadow garden and got time to gossip and to see what was visiting on his moth sheets. Yes, I said moth sheets. He monitors the lamp-lit sheets in early evening and in pre-dawn morning. He has identified over 540 species so far, in the last year or so.
cool waspy
sphinx moth eats Virginia Creeper and Muscadines. nummy
Pardon, this is supposed to be significant but I can’t remember why, duh
Luna Moth caterpillars eat Hickory, Sweet Gum and Walnut.
If I were as smart as Charles, I could tell you what this is. ha
we got some really good fire in his meadow field. Some really robust flamage for sure. Burnt up some stuff. There was a big sigh of relief when we were complete.  ahhh… feeling the burn.
 
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Duralde prairie demo 2-acre grid garden is producing some great stands of plants these days from seed we planted
a ten foot by twelve foot rectangle full of Eryngium yuccafolia seedlings, three years old
above, a very sound planting of Rudbeckia grandiflora. We designed a grid garden, planting eighty rectangles using cool Cajun Prairie seed.
adjacent to the demo garden is a prairie field dotted by a hundred  thousand Erigeron strigosus. In the distance, an old diversity strip we planted, seed collections back ten years ago from Eunice restored site. The grid garden is located in the 330 acre restored prairie at Duralde owned by Lacassinne National Wildlife Refuge, restored via Cajun Prairie Society, managed in partnership with Lacassinne and CP Society.
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Malcolm Vidrine’s garden is so fun to see
Malcolm has a bossanova collection of Spiderwort collorations
Propagating pots of a lipstick pink Tradescantia
Dr. Vidrine with variations of Prairie Phlox flowers, below
His nursery is packed full of interesting research and development propagation experiments. Most are successful. All are interesting
Manure tea used for fertilizing seedlings = healthy plants and flowers.
seedling Rudbeckia subtomentosa, above
a pot packed with yearling seedlings of Asclepias perennis
Bluestars at peak flower in the garden
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Eunice Prairie response to burn is telling
below, day of the controlled burn, just before we started February 17th, 8:00 am
 
 above, one month later, March 18th, 7:30 am
above, March 18th, 8:30 am
above, March 18th,12:00 pm
lots of PocPoc Plants – Baptisia spherocarpa
a Big Bluestem grass mass
Amsonias – Blue Stars and Baptisias
Bee Balm on an micro-relief ant pile
Liatris – a clump of Blazingstar

that there’s some pretty ground, folks.

A hunk of burnin’ love

I’m just a hunk, a hunk of burnin’ love. oooooh!

Elvis Presley

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No one is an artist unless he carries his picture in his head before painting it, and is sure of his method and composition.

Claude Monet

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Most people are uninformed.  Marc G. Pastorek

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Pastorek Habitats Seed Farm receives the gift of nurturing, natural fire, Monday, February 20, 2017, Carriere, Mississippi, Pearl River County

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boring landscape? I think not.

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a few bubbly Baptisias, the Cajuns call them Poc-poc plants

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hidden in the fluff are thousands upon thousands of emerging Prairie Parsley plants

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Muhlenbergia expansa wading into Bluestem grass

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and a white-lavendar seedling of Prairie Phlox

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about 1:00, after getting protective north and west black lines in place, above

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about 3:00, working on east black line

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picturesque flames

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testing head winds

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backing fire working under Long Leaf pines where pine needles are concentrated, where fire intensity is greatest

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about 7:00, wind whipped head fire

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Tuesday, at 07:00 a.m.

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Its like icing on a cake.

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City of Covington’s Blue Swamp Creek Park Nature Trails burn – St. Tammany Parish, La

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We completed the third controlled burn in a week at BSC Nature Trail yesterday, a total of about three acres of restored remnant Pine prairie natural area. Thanks to Landscape Architect and the Director of Keep Covington Beautiful, Priscilla Floca, and to the Mayor of Covington, Mike Cooper, for taking the idea of a natural area landscape and running with it, for the good of the community, for sure. Yay!

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12 acres of Cajun Prairie Restoration Project site, Eunice, La., St Landry Parish, Sunday, February 19, 2017 – The central Gulf coast’s original and most significant prairie habitat preservation and conservation project receives the gift flames

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above, A field of weeds. Good weeds.

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good lookin’ fuel load

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where there’s smoke, there’s probably fire

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Steve, showing off his martial arts skills.

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Jacalyn Duncan, making the Earth feel better.

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Thanks to Cajun Prairie Society members Jackie Duncan, Margaret Frey, Dr. Malcolm Vidrine, Jacob Delahoussey, Steve Nevett, Tommy Hillman, Chris Naquin for their help and leadership!

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City of Mandeville Prairie Conservation Garden burn, St. Tammany Parish, La

http://www.nola.com/traffic/index.ssf/2017/02/fire_burns_mandeville_public_g.html

The truly amazing prairie garden that some genius planted at the corner of Highway 190 and Causeway Approach Rd, got its much needed shot-in-the-arm burn yesterday. Thanks to John Broderick, who helped me do the deed.

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Thanks to Adam Perkins of Dufreche-Perkins Landscape Architecture for conceiving the idea of prairie on Mandeville’s Main Street. Thanks to Mayor Donald Villere, Louisette Scott, Catherine Casanova of the City of Mandeville for being so open to new and good gardening ideas. Thanks especially to Charles M. Allen and Malcolm F. Vidrine, who researched and developed the idea of prairie gardens in Louisiana some 30 years ago and through that work, gave me the tools to do wild and crazy garden stuff.

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Terese’s Abita Springs remnant garden, St. Tammany Parish

Terese, who lives in Abita, called a couple of years ago, with an interest in developing a design for a prairie garden. I told her to “let the lawn grow and lets see whats there”. So she did and as it turns out, what she had been mowing for several years was a full blown high quality Pine flatwoods prairie remnant, chocked full of wonderful prairie plant species including many Long Leaf Milkweed plants. She has been mowing only the walking paths for a year now. She reduced her mowing by 90%, and in return, has received 90% more enjoyment.

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Folks! Garden scruffiness rules!

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above, Most people could not appreciate the value of this garden’s shagginess. Most people are uninformed.

Terese’s not-so-boring garden is defined by walking paths that she has designed and has mowed, leaving four different odd shaped gardens. Fire is what is needed to invigorate the plants in her garden, that were so determined to live even under the sweeping blade of a lawn mower.

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Even the paths of Terese’s garden are gardens themselves. Lots of Sun Bonnets were in bloom, above, below

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The first blooms are beginning, of large populations of Erigeron vernus, Early White Topped Fleabane,

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many, many fleabanes

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distinctive rosette of Lobelia puberula

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last year’s spent flower head of Bigelowia

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above, summer images before she started mowing, when we found so many Milkweeds

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Speaking of Fleabanes and Butterweeds, take a gander at Highway 190, near Port Allen, Louisiana in West Baton Rouge Parish – on may way to Eunice Sunday.
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this sort of shenanegans goes on for many miles, at least all the way to Eunice, St. Landry Parish, La. The white in the photo is Erigeron philadelphicus, Philadelphia Fleabane, a beautiful annual plant that fills the highways with color each spring.

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Later in May, Erigeron strigosus, Prairie Fleabane, colors the roadsides on I-20 Near Forest Mississippi, Scott County. Some Fleabanes have great potential for roadside plantings

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DISCLAIMER!!! People, don’t be foolish and try to burn land without someone with some serious knowledge of this science. That would be really dumb. Fire is really dangerous and can easily get away from you. Great harm can be done to property and most especially, harm can be done to humans. This is not something to take lightly. Be cool. Don’t be a fool! Fire management is an art and a useful tool but use it carefully and under the close supervision of someone who has some experience doing it.

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Charles Allen Botanical Karate workshops – Edible Natives (and others)

http://www.nativeventures.net/shopdisplayproducts.asp?id=14&cat=Edible+Plant+Workshops

workshop-dr-allen

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http://www.popsci.com/Cedar-Rapids-Iowa-save-bee-pollinator?src=SOC&dom=fb

http://ediblehouston.ediblecommunities.com/food-thought/houstons-prairie-culture-ocean-waving-green

to garden is to live!

To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.
Mahatma Ghandi

 

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City Park New Orleans Sculpture Garden team field research trip to observe the natural New Orleans garden

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If ever you get a chance to see the sights along the Bayou Coquille trail at the Jean Lafitte National Park, twenty minutes south of the Crescent City, in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana – do so. Step back into the real world and observe its subtleties.

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One of the many wonderful discoveries along the trail Thursday was a robust population of Thalictrum dasycarpum, Purple Meadow Rue just bolting to bloom.

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Marsh Fern was abundant in pools of water, above and below

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the deep green clumps of Carex or Cyperus with Dwarf Palmetto, above and below

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two Hollies, Ilex verticilata in fruit, above left, and evergeen leaves of Ilex cassine, right

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dense vegetation of the running, massing, blue leafed, Shoreline Sedge, Carex hyalinolepis

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Luna Moth napping along the trail

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Green Garden burn, Folsom, La., February 17, 2017

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the Green meadow garden has in it, zillions and zillions of flowering perennials, above,  Narrow Leaf Mt Mint, Bee Balm, Rattlesnake Master, and Hyssop-Leafed Thoroughwort etcetera

 

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Doug Green, outstanding in his field, above

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above, blue foliaged rosette of Eryngium yuccafolia in foreground, and the burgeoning flames

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some good leaping “flamage” comes with the head-fire crescendo

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an otherwise hidden interior path and central open-space, revealed

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fisheye view of garden conflagration ha, protective black line

Tuesday was prep day making fire lines. The two photos below were taken just one hour apart, 4:00 p.m., and 5:00 p.m., demonstrating what refracting light does to the color of frosted Bluestem grass

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City of Mandeville prescribed fire set for this week

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The Bluestem grass stand at the Mandeville Wildflower Conservation Park is extremely dense and should fuel quite a stir when lit

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the burn is likely Monday about ten oclock, if the weather holds. Ya’ll come!

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the two gardens, just a door or two down from City Hall, have been a delight for me – not sure about the community. I am sure people are wondering when the City will ever fix their bush hog and mow that sucker down 🙂

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Link of the week!

Urban Land Magazine highlights two Pastorek Habitats design-consulting projects – Lafitte Greenway and the Louisiana Children’s Museum

http://urbanland.uli.org/sustainability/incorporating-greener-design-techniques-u-s-coastal-cities/

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Candi and Marc Pastorek, to be guests of Tulane University’s Dr. Peter Ricchiutti‘s radio program Out To Lunch, May 30th, Commander’s Palace, New Orleans, La

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Dr. Mac Vidrine’s recollections of Frey Prairie

Mac’s blog post

Malcolm F. Vidrine, friend of the planet, Biologist, zoologist, prairie ecologist, pioneering gardener and author, writes a blog. check into it when you can. Here are his latest thoughts, from the school of scientific hard knocks.  – in the link below.

https://cajunprairiegardens.com

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Cajun Prairie Society meeting April 8, 2017, Eunice, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana

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Eric, center, and Brian Early, Eric’s principal assistant in the project, on right, with hard-earned Cajun prairie seed

The Cajun Prairie dogpack will meet in Eunice once again to see prairie gardens in the Eunice area. Eric Vanbergen, a 15 year-old prairie advocate and activist, will be the guest speaker at the Cajun Prairie Habitat Preservation Society’s 30th year spring field day meeting, April 8th, 2017. Eric will share the story of the development and recent planting of a two acre prairie garden project at Ascension Episcopal school, in Youngsville, Louisiana. You will not be disappointed with this young man’s presentation, and you’ll admire his enthusiasm, I guarantee.

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Rootin’ around!

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who says perennials aren’t evergreen? This is yesterday, in the garden in Covington, digging a two year seedling of Rudbeckia subtomentosa, the August flowering Blackeyed Susie.

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potting this up for a friend…

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Paula burns her prairie

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a friend who lives in New Iberia, Louisiana sent this photo of his wife, Paula, above, outstanding in her prairie field — the garden, just burned and inter-seeded with Cajun Prairie habitat seed, above.

They are restoring a tiny patch of ground in their side yard, attempting to bring nature back to an area where the Great Southwestern Prairie of Louisiana once existed.

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“Butterfly – No-Mow” signs I-20 east bound Rest Area, Lincoln Parish, La.

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La Dept of Transportation’s half-mile pollinator garden

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not too shabby…

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Tall Grass Prairie signs, Highway 190, New Iberia

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Mr. Al the Live Oak and his prairie companion, hangin’ out by the highway

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don’t come round here with your mower, no.

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thistles are rad.

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found some robust Cirsium horridulum plants in the prairie garden

Dr. Mac Vidrine says that the common thistle is a wonderful butterfly nectar plant since its so early to rise and shine. For some reason, most people have an aversion to the plant. what’s up with that?  hmmm

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Keep off the prairie grass 🙂

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New prairie bollards installed Tuesday at Covington’s Nature Trail park’s wetland retention basin, a native grass meadow. St. Tammany Parish, La

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Gardens of Grassiness at Hamilton Hall, ULL, become Biological Classroom

Wednesday I met with Dr. Phyllis Griffard to discuss her interest in using the prairie garden at Hamilton Hall, University of Louisiana in Lafayette, for her freshman Biology class. Fun stuff. We talked about Dr. William J. Platt’s work at Chappapeela and Bio project idea possibilities that students might work out using the garden.

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Red Buckeye, Red coral bean, red Louisiana iris, foreground concrete cut out

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above, last week’s wintry sleepy look

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and in June

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Rudbeckia Texana is a nearly evergreen plant in the winter garden, always with nice n’ neat foliage year round. The only things keeping this garden from the mowers is the “pollinator” sign in the garden and a certain University Professor who demanded compliance from the mower crew supervisor and grounds manager. ha

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Eastern Gamma grass, Hibiscus mosheutos, Big Bluestem and Kosteletskya virginica, above, holding court, in June. Inquisitive students planted this amazing garden a few years ago, with the help of some prairie dogs. wuff wuff!

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an amazing arboretum of very old trees and garden plants lovingly wraps Hamilton Hall

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dang. Live Oaks are amazing plants

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prairie going mainstream, ya’ll!

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Katy Prairie Conservancy – School prairie garden Houston,Texas – photo by Jaime Gonzales – Jaime is a force of nature.

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https://www.researchgate.net/publication/261987061_The_Significance_of_Micro-Prairie_Reconstruction_in_Urban_Environments

 

 

Live Oak Trees: Appreciation and Care Workshop, Saturday, Covington

Live Oak Care

The non-profit group Keep Covington Beautiful will host an informative workshop this Saturday on the subject of the Live Oak tree. The KCB group has been working on care of the City’s Live Oaks and wants to promote care and appreciation for these majestic trees, in our fair City and beyond! Ya’ll come! Jimmy Culpepper will share his culture tips for these fine plants. Jim is pretty knowledgeable guy on the subject of tree growth and care.             http://countryroadsmagazine.com/events/live-oak-tree-workshop/

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LSU Biology’s Conservation Biology/ Entomology 4017 to study Chappapeela Park’s prairie garden 

Dr. William J. Platt will once again use the restored prairie gardens at Chappapeela Park for his students’ field work and experimentation. Each year for four years now, the students have used data from previous classes to design and implement experiments based on the prairie vegetation in 30 one-meter-square permanently designated study plots. Dr. Platt happens to be a famously prolific scientist who has been studying prairie and Pine herbaceous vegetation for 50 years. He is one of the leading experts on the subject, and a really good guy. 🙂  Dr. Platt is the slide-guitarin’ Duane Allman of prairies. He is the person who coined the complementary term for my seed restoration work. He said, “Its totally artificial but perfectly natural.”

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Louisiana Department of Transportation’s I-20 Rest Area half-mile prairie garden

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Looking west at the Tremont, Louisiana Rest Area prairie garden

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Bluestem grass dominant prairie – six months from seed

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bluestem as thick as the har’ on a dog’s back!

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above, Tens of thousands of tiny tufts of transfixing native turf in the worst dirt tilth ever!  Impressed, huh?

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poor soil? we got that!!!! Rusty-red colored, cold-frosted Bluestem grass (center strip in photo above), far as the eye can see…. ..looking east……we got that, too!

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driving there and back from Nort’ Loosiana, I saw miles and miles of cool natural prairie on I-55 in Mississippi – some especially killer stands of prairie grass around Wesson, in Copiah but also Lincoln and Pike County, all wearing its winter plumage. Real Nice highway decorations.

After working for many years with the Mississippi Highway folks to protect this land, they’ve come around and have installed signs designating sensitive biological areas, to keep the mower crews from making minced meat of it. Whoop-whoop!!!

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Pine Savanna Restoration gardens grant work at Covington’s Nature Trail rolling along!

Lots of exciting things happening at Blue Swamp Creek Nature Trail, but mostly we are just assisting good prairie vegetation to come out of dormancy by reinvigorating this fire-suppressed plant community via drip torch. Everything you’d want is there, it just needed some coaxing to flourish again. Landscape Architect and Director of Keep Covington Beautiful, Priscilla Floca and her crew of craftsmen and craftswomen have been diligently working on the details for interpretive and other types of signage, to help visitors to the Park better understand this dynamic vegetation. BSC is a model for ecological park design right in the heart of the City of Covington.

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Non-native tree of the century

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Fringe tree in Covington, above

Chinese Fringe Tree is one of the best small to medium trees available for us in the central Gulf coast. A squat deciduous tree that is very showy and highly fragrant in flower and always clean green leaves that turn bright yellow in fall, with awesome winter structural form. One I planted at my old place in Mississippi in 1994-5 (not above) is amazing to see. You can’t deny a good plant, ya’ll. Git you one.

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Charles Allen says this is Cranefly Orchid – Tipularia discolor

the greening up of the natural landscape here in South Louisiana starts now. Orchid leaves in Woodward, Louisiana, last weekend. Three amazing presentations at the Louisiana Native Plant Society’s annual conference. Charles Allen of Native Ventures and Jeff McMillian of Almost Eden Nursery, teamed up and spoke on butterflies species and their host plants. Quite extraordinary it was. Landscape Architect Dana Brown did a really interesting and super informative talk on the latest principals and techniques for dealing with and purifying storm water runoff. I was blown away by this presentation. She is one of the leading experts in that field of science in this part of the world. Great stuff. And finally, Latimore Smith, ecological Kung Fu artist, did his fourth degree black belt Bruce Lee-like martial arts form-of-a-rendition of the “ecology of the rare natural areas of Louisiana” and other scientific topics having to do with restoring Pine woodland herb cover. Dudes. All you could here was the wind whipping for an hour and fifteen minutes, while he was doing his form. It was awesome stuff. His talk was a condensed version of Dr. Platt Conservation Biology/ Entomology lectures which are – to die for. We live on an amazing planet, with some really smart people doing good stuff on it.

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The New Orleans Sculpture Garden expansion, City Park, New Orleans, Louisiana

The design development stage has begun for the New Orleans City Park Sculpture Garden expansion which will nearly double the size of the gardens. Pastorek Habitats Inc is fortunate to have been chosen to guide the design team of Reed Hilderbrand with horticulture and ecology consulting for this very special project.  http://www.reedhilderbrand.com/

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congratulations to the Hammond Research Station LSU AgCenter on burns for their native grass research plots. Dr. Regina Bracy, Dr. Allen Owings, Dr. Yan Chen, and their staff did the first controlled burns on the native grass demonstration area at the Station last week.

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how cool is that?

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PREFERRED HOSTS FOR LARVAE (CATERPILLARS) OF BUTTERFLIES
By Dr. Charles Allen native@camtel.net and Jeff McMillian https://almostedenplants.com/
Data mostly from http://www.nhm.ac.uk/our-science/data/hostplants/

Pawpaw (Asimina) = Zebra Swallowtail
Sassafras = Palamedes (Laurel), Spicebush, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Red Bay = (Persea borbonia-palustris) Palamedes (Laurel) and spicebush Swallowtail
White Bay (sweetbay) = Palamedes (Laurel), Black, Eastern Tiger, spicebush Swallowtail
Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) = Spicebush, Palamedes (Laurel), Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Citrus, Hopwafer, Toothache Tree = Giant and polydamas Swallowtail (Gray Hairstreak, white peacock, Painted Lady)
Cyperaceae (Carex, Cyperus, Rhynhospora, Scirpus) Georgia Satyr, Dion Skipper, Dun Skipper,
Dukes’ Skipper, Broad-winged Skipper, Eufala Skipper, Palatka Skipper, Salt Marsh Skipper
Malvaceae (Hibiscus, turk’s cap, Sida etc.) = Common Checkered-Skipper, Tropical Checkered-Skipper, Gray Hairstreak, Common
Streaky-Skipper, Red-banded Hairstreak, Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak, Painted Lady, American Lady, White Checkered-Skipper
Poaceae (bluestems, bent grass, crabgrass, etc.) Tawny-edged Skipper, Leonard’s Skipper, Clouded Skipper,
Aaron’s Skipper, Broad-winged Skipper, Northern Pearly Eye, Eufala Skipper, Zabulon Skipper, Fiery Skipper, Northern
Broken-Dash, Gemmed Satyr, Obscure Skipper, Sachem, Southern Skipperling, Whirlabout, Common Roadside-Skipper,
Delaware Skipper, Common Wood Nymph, Crossline Skipper, Dun Skipper, Little Glassywing, Arogos Skipper, Cobweb
Skipper, Dusted Skipper, Creole Pearly Eye, Lace-winged Roadside-Skipper, Southern Pearly Eye, Neamathla
Skipper, Swarthy Skipper, Pepper and Salt Skipper, Gray Hairstreak, Least Skipper, Georgia Satyr, Common Sootywing,
Ocola Skipper, Southern Broken-Dash, Little Wood Satyr, Carolina Satyr, Dotted Skipper, Meske’s Skipper, Celia’s
Roadside-Skipper, Tawny Emperor, Salt Marsh Skipper, Yehl Skipper, painted lady, Variegated Fritillary
Legume Family Fabaceae (Desmodium, Cassia, Senna, etc.) Barred Yellow, Cassius Blue, Ceraunus Blue,
Clouded Sulphur, Cloudless Sulphur, Confused Cloudywing, Dorantes Longtail, Eastern Tailed-Blue.
Frosted Elfin, Funereal Duskywing, Gray Hairstreak, Great Purple Hairstreak, Henry’s Elfin, Hoary
Edge, Horace’s Duskywing, Juvenal’s Duskywing, Large Orange Sulphur, Little Yellow, Long-tailed
Skipper, Marine Blue , Mexican Yellow, Mottled Duskywing, Northern Cloudywing, Orange
Sulphur, Orange-barred Sulphur, Persius Duskywing, Reakirt’s Blue, Sachem, Silver-spotted Skipper,
Southern Cloudywing, Southern Dogface, White Angled-Sulphur, White-striped Longtail, Wild
Indigo Duskywing, Zarucco Duskywing, Sleepy Orange
Maypops (Passiflora)  = Gulf Fritillary, Variegated Fritillary, zebra longwing, Julia Heliconian
Pipevine (Dutchman’s pipe) (Aristolochia) = Pipevine Swallowtail
Carrot Family (Apiaceae) Parsley, Dill, Fennel, & Queen Anne’s Lace plus many native species = Eastern
Black Swallowtail
Thistle (Cirsium Carduus) = American Painted Lady, Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Little Metalmark, Pearl Crescent
Hackberry American Snout, Hackberry Emperor, Mourning Cloak, Question Mark, Tawny Emperor,
Eastern Comma
Oak (Quercus) = Banded Hairstreak, Juvenal’s Duskywing, White M Hairstreak, Horace’s Duskywing,
Red-banded Hairstreak, Sleepy Duskywing, Striped Hairstreak, Red-spotted Purple,
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail,  Gray Hairstreak
Willow (Salix)  = Mourning Cloak, Red-spotted Purple, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Viceroy,  Persius Duskywing
Red Admiral, Strecker’s Giant-Skipper, striped Hairstreak
Prunus (Cherry, peach etc.) = Viceroy, Red Spotted Purple, Banded Hairstreak, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail,
Painted Lady, Spicebush Swallowtail, Spring Azure, Striped Hairstreak
Elm = Question Mark, Eastern Comma, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Mourning Cloak,  Painted Lady
Plantain (Plantago) = Common Buckeye, Painted Lady, Pearl Crescent
Purple False Foxglove (Agalinis) = Common Buckeye, Painted Lady, Pearl Crescent
Aster (Symphyotrichum) = pearl crescent, American Lady, Texan Crescent
Frogfruit (Fogfruit) (Phyla, Lipia) Phaon Crescent, Common Buckeye, white peacock
Brassicaceae (Mustard family) (cabbage, broccoli, collards, peppergrass, sea rockets) = checkered white,
great southern white, cabbage white
Asclepiadiaceae (Milkweeds*) Asclepias, Calotropis, Cynanchum, Gomphocarpus, Gonolobus,
Matelea = Monarch & Queen
Urticaceae (Boehmeria, Urtica, Laportea) American Lady, Eastern Comma, Mourning Cloak, Painted Lady,
Question Mark, Red Admiral
Humulus (Hops) Question Mark, Eastern Comma, Gray Hairstreak, Mourning Cloak, Red Admiral,
Giant swallowtail
Cottonwood (Populus) Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Mourning Cloak, Persius Duskywing, Question Mark,
Red-spotted Purple, Striped Hairstreak, Viceroy
Ragweeds (Ambrosia) Bordered Patch, Gorgone Checkerspot, Common Sootywing

SOME EXCELLENT HOST PLANTS FOR ADULT BUTTERFLIES                      
(NECTAR/NON-SPECIFIC)  Charles Allen, Jeff McMillian

Herbaceous
Achillea millefolium = Yarrow
Agalinis (Purple False Foxglove)*
Asclepias curassavica = Mexican Milkweeds*
Asclepis tuberosa = Butterfly Weed*
Aster (Symphyotrichum) (Aster)*
Bidens (Tickseed)
Cirsium spp. = Thistle*
Coreopsis spp. = Tickseed
Cosmos spp. = Cosmos
Durantia repens = golden dewdrop
Echinacea purpurea = Purple Coneflower
Eupatorium fistulosum, purpureum = Joe Pye Weed
Gaillardia spp. = Indian Blanket
Gomphrena globosa = Globe Amaranth
Ipomoea quamoclit = Cypress Vine
Liatris spp. = Blazing Stars
Monarda spp. = Bee Balm*
Pentas lanceolata = Penta
Phlox spp. = Phlox
Phyla, Lipia (Frogfruit)*
Pycnanthemum spp. = Mountain Mint*
Solidago spp. = Goldenrod
Stachytarpheta urticifolia = Porter Weed
Thunbergia alata = Climbing Black eyed Susan
Tithonia diversifolia  Mexican Sunflower
Verbena = Verbena/Vervain
Verbena canadensis (Homestead Purple)
Verbena rigida (Slender Vervain)
Verbena brasiliensis (Brazilian Vervain)
Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)
Zinnia spp. = Zinnia

Shrubs
Abelia grandiflora Edward Goucher
Abelia chinensis = Chinese Abelia
Buddleia spp. (X davidii) Butterfly Bush
Ceanothus americana = New Jersey Tea
Cephalanthus occidentalis  = Button Bush
Lantana = Lantana
Malvaviscus arboreus = Turk’s Cap
Vitex agnus-castus = Chaste Tree

(* = also a larval host)
Be-There or Be-Square Go-Native Events List

Event Calendar Louisiana Nature
2017
Feb 3-5  Louisiana Native Plant Society annual meeting
Feb 7 thru Feb 9, Naked and Scarred plant id class Allen Acres
Feb 10-11  Rose Workshop, Hammond
Feb 11-12 Naked and Scarred plant id class, Allen Acres
Feb 11 Permaculture: Ecological Design for Farms and Homes; Saturday, February 11, 9 am – 5 pm
Zeitgeist Multi Disciplinary Arts Center, 1618 OC Haley Blvd, New Orleans, LA.
Permaculture: Ecological Design for Farms and Homes
Feb 18  Sabine Parish Master Gardeners Down and Dirty Garden Seminar  http://apps.lsuagcenter.com/calendar/default.aspx?id=78EC15B2-ABEC-40B8-BA7E-9009633C71D8
Feb 19 Camellia Stroll Hammond
Feb 20  President’s Day
Feb 24-25  59th annual Caddo Conference, Northwestern State University, Natchitoches
http://www.caddoconference.org/programs/CC2017a.pdf

Feb 25  Texas Native Plant Society Spring Symposium  Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Feb 28  Mardi Gras

March 4, Madisonville Garden Show, Town Hall River Front, Madisonville

March 4 The North Central Louisiana Master Gardeners will hold their fifth annual seminar on Saturday, March 4 from 8 a.m. until noon at Lomax Hall of Louisiana Tech University, Ruston

Mar 11-12 edible plant class Allen Acres

March 11, Spring Garden Day, Hammond Research Station, Hammond

March 17-18, Northshore Garden and Plant Sale, St. Tammany Parish Fairgrounds, Covington

Mar 18  Camp Salmen Bio Inventory, and Monarch Waystation Creation, Slidell; Linda Auld, “BugLady”, at: nolabuglady@gmail.com.

March 18-19, Baton Rouge Spring Garden Show, Parker Coliseum, LSU

Mar 17, 18, 19  Luna lookout and firefly flight.  Allen Acres.  Dark to early morning.

Mar 21-23  General plant id class Allen Acres

March 24-25  Southwest Louisiana Garden and Expo, Lake Charles

March 25-26  Edible plant class Allen Acres

Mar 30-Apr 1 national meeting of the Azalea Society of America in Hammond

April 1, Spring Plant Sale, Baton Rouge Botanic Garden, 7950 Independence Blvd., Baton Rouge

April 1, Good Earth Market, 112 Library Drive, Houma

April 4-6  General plant id class Allen Acres
April 7-8 Northeast LA Master Gardener’s plant sale, West Monroe Farmers Market
April 8  Cajun Prairie Society Meeting

April 8-9, Spring Garden Show, City Park, New Orleans

April 14-15  BREC Bioblitz Baton Rouge
April 16  Easter
April 17-19  wetlands plant id class (Allen Acres)
Apr 21-23  Grand Isle Birding Festival
April 21 and 23  Plant id class Grand Isle
April 22 Camp Salmen Bio Inventory and Monarch Waystation Creation, Slidell; Linda Auld, “BugLady”, at: nolabuglady@gmail.com.

April 28-29  Plant id class, Belle Chasse, http://www.woodlandsconservancy.org
April 30  ½ day edible workshop, Belle Chasse, http://www.woodlandsconservancy.org
May 2-4  general plant id class (Allen Acres)
May 6-7 Edible plant class Allen Acres
May 11  Wildflowers/Louisiana using real plants at Lafayette Parish main Library  630 pm
May 13 Camp Salmen Bio Inventory and Monarch Waystation Creation, Slidell; Linda Auld, “BugLady”, at: nolabuglady@gmail.com.
May 19-21  Annual BBBB with Bioblitz, Allen Acres
May 23-25  Graminoid plant id class (Allen Acres)

May 27-28  General Plant id class, Nature Trail near Columbia
May 29  Memorial Day
June 6-8 General plant id class (Allen Acres)
June 10-11 Edible Plant Class Allen Acres
June 10 Camp Salmen Bio Inventory, Slidell; Linda Auld, “BugLady”, at: nolabuglady@gmail.com.
July 22-30  National Moth Week
Sept 23 Camp Salmen Bio Inventory, Slidell; Linda Auld, “BugLady”, at: nolabuglady@gmail.com.

Liking it wild and woolly

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grass gardens; effective, efficient, and easy on the eyes

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looking east, above, at the Lamar Advertising agency grass berm garden, Corporate Blvd, Baton Rouge, La. – established in 2010 – the berm rises to about eight feet height and covers about 15,000 sq ft., separating a Live Oak shaded patio area visually and buffering  the noisy sound of the busy street.

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Looking west

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Looking east and west – hehe

Berm garden design by Mossop-Michaels Landscape Architecture and Pastorek Habitats, LLC

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Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Main Office native plant community gardens receive shot-in-the-arm of prairie plants from farm-raised plant material

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Chris Reid, above, Botanist with the State of Louisiana Natural Heritage program, holds a freshly dug clump of the rare mint scented Picnanthemum albescens cultivar commonly called “Malcolm Mint”. Chris organized the digging day, taking me up on the offer of free truckloads of farm raised Coastal prairie plants.

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Chris with 15 year old seed-grown clump of Silphium asteriscus – notice the reaching roots

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The dig crew worked about three hours yesterday to fill two pick-ups and a trailer.

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drive-through service and then off to Baton Rouge…..

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part of the digging crew and the catch of the day

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Covington Nature Trail Introduction Area receives inaugural prescribed fire

Burned a small section at the new introductory trail for the Blue Swamp Creek Nature Trail this week. It was a complete success, easy goings.

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We started with a strip of flaming fuel laid down by a drip torch, above, and then it was a little dab here and a little dab there until it was all finished. Kids don’t try this at home, hehe.

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after several frosts, the highly combustible Mohr’s Bluestem still holds some of its striking chalky blue foliage

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a grass-stage Long Leaf Pine before (above) and after (below) – the burn

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A day after the burn, scorch-toasty, woody Leatherwood suckers, all browned-up.

 

Our first burn was August of last year in this area, below, across from this week’s burn.

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Pitcher Plant/ Aquatic area at BSC Nature Trail, above, below

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structural skeletons

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silvery brown Rosette grass in the powerline area

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light tan colored Warty Panicum – P. verrucosum is one of nature’s band-aids. It produces seed prolifically, grows tall and lays over like a drunken sailor, and mats over the other vegetation – making a fine textured fuel load – ready for pyrogenic (produced by or producing heat) transmission.

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Virginia Bluestem, Little Bluestem, and Morh’s Bluestem, with ochre colored winter foliage

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Chappapeela Park slope sod dons full winter regalia

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Native grass gardens not only produce perfect conditions for a naturalizing wildflowers, they provide ground cover, important for all sorts of wildlife.

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seed-grown Bluestem grass sod covers and stabilizes the ball field irrigation pond’s steep slopes at the City of Hammond’s, Chappapeela Sports and Recreation Park, Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana.

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Some renown designer person once said, “When designing a wildscape, think like a bug!”.

A noted wildscaper and author, once said, “I like it wild and woolly!”.

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Ascension High School prairie fits in a Hyundia car!

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the big enchalada of seed couldn’t fit in the trunk with the rest

Eric Vanbergen, mild mannered prairie enthusiast, who happens to be just 15 years old, has employed the skills of biologist Brian Early, of Baton Rouge, for the planning and planting of Eric and his classmate’s own Ascension High School’s native butterfly garden, using the prairie landscape as its focus. Eric and Brian have gotten donations from The Cajun Prairie Habitat Preservation Society and the Louisiana Native Plant Society in grants, and in money raised through fundraising events and from other donors for preparing the garden area for the seeding date. They’ve organized successful seed collecting events, too, during the summer and fall last year for planting what will no doubt become a regionally significant educational garden. The seeding extravaganza is today Sunday 29th, at Ascension High in Youngsville, Louisiana in Lafayette Parish.

Youngsville’s city motto is “where life is sweet”.

Life is going to be a just a little sweeter now, with an authentic newly restored Cajun prairie.

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Go Brian and Eric!!

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The greening of a Pineflat Buttercup pool garden

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Green colors and textures – morphology – in the seven-year-old ever-changing side garden.

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ephemeral pool of Iris and Rushes, Bladderworts and Buttercups

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Ranunculus pusillus, Low Spearwort, above, is low but not lowly in the month of January.

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Highway 26 Dwarf Eastern Gamma grass –  a sight for sore eyes.

Gardeners are always looking for the cool “new” plants, right? Well here’s a cool old plant that’s still remains relatively unknown, relatively new, many years after first being  discovered.

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after I dug half and gave the clump to Chris Reid, I had him photograph me in it for scale

The cultivar Gamma grass Highway 26, originally found in Jefferson Davis Parish, this one, planted in my field several years ago, has become really well settled in, even though I’ve dug a bunch of divisions from it for visitors over those years. It stands a dense 30 inches tall at maturity, about as big as a big beach ball, with very linear, slender strapped leaves. Beach Ball Gamma would be a good trade name. There is a real need for such a plant with this small size and with this much charm and flash – in the regional nursery industry, for sure.


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nice colorful Louisiana prairie meadow landscape, above

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Grazing geeks who love native grass landscapes as forage for cows and other meat-source animals – natural farming – enjoy!

thank you for the link, Malcolm F. Vidrine, Phd.

 

cool link if you haven’t visited lately or before now…

http://turtleboyandthebirds.blogspot.com/

 

Jim McGee – construction worker, civic activist, American patriot

 

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Jimmy McGee, July 26 1937-January 12, 2017

My long time friend, business partner, fellow prairie builder, community leader, humanitarian, friend to all men – a man who I considered my spiritual brother, suddenly and unexpectedly passed away from this Earth a week ago Thursday. Jim and I worked together nearly every day for almost fifteen years.

Jim was a construction master, skilled in so many fields of construction – different types of hands-on, lobor-focused work. But he had a brilliant mind and a work ethic like no other person I’ve known – together Jim and I built a business. We built many different gardens and prairies all over the central Gulf south – in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

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new digging shovels, 2011, Hattiesburg, Mississippi

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At Mark Y Jenkins Nursery, Amite, Louisiana

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November 2010, bagging and weighing prairie seed at Ashe Seed Extractory facility, U.S. Forest Service, De Soto National Forest, Wiggins, Mississippi

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Jim at Buttercup Flats, U.S. Forest Service, De Stoto National Forest, Wiggins, Mississippi

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Jim was one of eleven children, three brothers and seven sisters, born in Williamsburg/Collins, Covington County, Mississippi, in the grips of the Great Depression, to the late D.C and Dora McGee, cotton-subsistence share-cropper farmers – a very hard working family – salt of the Earth people. Jim, as soon as he could, as soon as he was old enough, left home, to get away from cotton farming, work he said was difficult and often, not very prosperous –  a type of work he didn’t particularly like.

Jim worked in heavy construction work as a supervisor for 30 plus years before he and I met.

I was honored to be asked by Jim’s wife of 57 years, Mrs. Annie Lee McGee, to be one of three, to speak about Jim at his funeral ceremony at the church he worked so hard for –  for so many years, a church community he loved so much.

Never have I seen such a beautiful ceremony that included four ministers who delivered very emotional, moving sermons, two musical solos by two extraordinarily talented soloists, and the most uplifting music from the church’s full Gospel choir that nearly lifted  the church house off its foundation – very touching indeed – it was.

Saturday, hundreds of friends and relatives filled to capacity, the huge Hart’s Chapel Baptist Church, in the old railroad town of Derby, Mississippi to pay homage to Jim.

 

This, below, is my attempt at a eulogy for Jim. An ode to Jimmy McGee.

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Jim McGee was my buddy. He was my best friend. I loved him like a brother.

Jim was one of the hardest working people I have known. Jim had what is called a strong work ethic. When there was a job to do, you could could bet the farm that Jim was going to figure out a way get it done. Give him the toughest challenge and he would accept it with joy.

But although his and our relationship was often based on getting together to work, it was much more than that. We took care of one another like brothers do.

Jim had a kind and caring, sweet soul. He had a heart of gold and wasn’t afraid to show it. He had great compassion for his fellow man.

In fifteen years that I knew him, I never saw Jim mad or upset.

Jim loved his church. He loved his God. And he loved Mrs. Annie and their sweet family so much.

Jim loved his country. He loved his farm. He loved living in America and being an American. He was a true American in every sense of the word. Jimmy McGee was one of my American heroes.

Jim was from a time, an era, that for me, was a connection to the past. Some of the stories he told me through the years were so important – ones that shed light on who he was and what used to be, what life used to be like back in the day, from his unique and optimistic perspective.

When Jim and I worked, or if we were just talking on the phone, we would laugh and carry on. We had a good time together.

When I went through a tough time, a great loss in my life several years ago, Jim was there to be my friend. He was there to assure me that things would get better. He helped me through that rough patch in the road, just like good friends do.

Mrs. Annie told me not long ago that Jim and I were like two peas in a pod. I would agree. And am proud to say that that was true.

I am certain where Jimmy is today. He is no doubt, in a heavenly, peaceful world – reunited with his family – those that have gone on, before him. He has slipped the surly bonds of Earth – he has put out his hand to touch the face of God.

I will miss him so much but I know we will meet again, in due time.

I am certain of that.
God bless Jim. And God Bless Mrs Annie, and all of the McGee Family.

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On a lighter note…….

Make America a Bee Meadow Again!!!

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check out a just burned Meridian bee meadow, above

Bee hives are the perfect pairing for a prairie. The two benefit from being in close proximity with one another. Just ask my friend Gail, in Meridian, Mississippi. She and her super fly husband Richard will testify about how good their homemade honey tastes on her homemade granola, combined with a little bit of Greek yogurt. mmmmm….That there’s livin’, folks!

Life s good when you can burn a prairie patch in your back forty and enjoy the flars’ and stuff and the bees and butterflies that are a-flutterin’ whilst your eatin’ your granola yogurt. Wonder what’s better’n that?

Can I get an AMEN?!!!

Only in a Merca, ya’ll!

Actually, I understand that the word meadow comes from the root word mead, which is a beer made from honey – honey from wildflower pollen and stuff. Gotta taste me some of that mead beer one day.

Gail’s garden is a collection of really cool native wildflowers and grasses.

It ain’t gotta be big to be a bee meadow, ya’ll. But isn’t bigger always better?

I ‘been trying to convince my middle sister, Niki, who lives in one of those fancy gated communities (with cool codes at the front gate), that she and her hubby need to git’ her one of these here prairie meadows. I tell her the neighbors won’t mind a bit – probably – when she and hubby burn the “back forty”.

My Meridian bud’s garden is only 20 by 50 feet in size. She collected seed in paper bags and since she’s an s’pert horticulturist type person, she grew a bunch of plugs, too and low and behold — voila!!! – five years later she gets a cool full-burn like you see in the pic.

Nice.

Gail tells me it was the best burn she’s had yet. It takes some time to get a prairie up to speed by way of seed.

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More far’

Speaking of burnt prairie meadows, I got a chance between storms to do a burn here at the Ponderosa yesterday.

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click to enlarge the pano pic of the toasty Ponderosa pyre yesterday.

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Pineville prairie project’s initial prescribed fire

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The Grant residence, situated on a large imposing hilltop, near Pineville, Louisiana, in Rapides Parish is graced with a juvenile-stage three acre prairie garden.  Local landscape architect Tony Tradewell coordinated and helped design it. Tony and the Grants worked on the ideas of placement and scale of the design while utilizing my services as advisor for construction and as the seed source, for planting, etc.

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Jim Foret seeds Cade Farm 3-acre Cajun Prairie and Allen Parish Welcome Center with cool local-ecotype seed

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Professor Jim (also known as Possum) Foret of University of Louisiana at Lafayette, with magical seed, above, at the Allen Parish Visitor’s Welcome Center prairie planting “event”

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native saline prairies, part of our Loosiana’ natural area landscape

dug up some old photos of a Charles Allen field trip from summer of 1999 a while back, of a cool Saline prairie in Kisatchie National forest.

amazing flora “grazed” by good people, in photos, below

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these saline prairie areas are where the native Americans and the early settlers got their salt.

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Blue Swamp Creek Nature Trail Park, Covington — Patterns, Pools, and Textures

winter landscapes of grasses

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feets don’t fail me now….

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hydrology changes patterns and textural effects in the winter landscape of BSC Nature Trail, a project initiated by the concerned citizens of the non-profit Keep Covington Beautiful, City of Covington, St. Tammany Parish, La. Bluestem and Beaked Panicum in foreground, contrast with the course textured, darker colored Dicanthelium scabrusculum.

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pools, left from logging many years ago, hold water and nurture nice stands of the carnivorous Yellow Bladder Wort colonies and Dicanthelium scabrusculum

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in the wetland storm water retention area, wet tolerant grasses thrive, above

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the wetland retention area in panorama

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the carnivorous Pitcher Plant area, above and below, all photos of BSC Nature Trail taken last week

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two discovery links, below

http://proof.nationalgeographic.com/2015/10/15/digging-deep-reveals-the-intricate-world-of-roots/

http://www.tallgrassprairiecenter.org/prairie-roots-project