student’s Chappapeela meadows field work starts this week

Data collection work will start this Tuesday and go through the following week for students of LSU’s Conservation Biology Lab class – 4017, at Chappapeela Sports Park, in Hammond, Louisiana. This is one of the best public park displays of natural prairie in the region; a cool garden. This is the third year that Dr. Bill Platt has used the park planting as his outdoor laboratory, presenting a seed derived landscape of biologically significance for his students to work in and experience first hand.

The gardens is only four years old yet it contains a wide variety of plants managed almost exclusively by way of controlled burns. Over the years, the students have identified 35 species (excluding grasses) in the 30 one-meter-square plots that we’ve set up in what is a total of about 3/4 acre.


above, Dr. Platt lights the fire with a drip torch at Chappapeela, last spring, as Conservation Biology student Jene calls out temperature readings to her fellow students, in one of the Fuel Effects study plots.

The class has broken up into groups and have developed experiments based on data collections and scientific experiments of the earlier classes. One group will count species, one will cut and gather above ground and underground biomass, one will document effects of pollinators on Baptisia, and one will collect data on shade effects- tree shaded areas.

If we get dry weather in mid April, Dr. Platt and I hope to have the students lend a hand with our prescribed fire.

We’ve been asked by Peggy Davis, Director of LSU’s Hilltop Arboretum, to notify her of our burn schedule, as she and some of the board members and other Hilltop devotees are interested in attending the burn, as part of the research they are doing in developing 2 acres of prairie exhibits there at the Arbo.


above, teaching assistant Matt Fadlyn looks on as prairie goes up in flames, April 2015

If you would like to be there for the burn, just send me a note and I will let you know our plans as they develop.  We have to work around rainy weather, which we have had a lot of lately. 🙂


Baptisia is one of the first plants to bloom at Chappapeela. This photo, above, taken this morning.

I am planning a field trip tour of the gardens in July or early August. Join me.

Bog Garden showing signs of renewed life in Covington, La


spring time in a south Luzianna bog restoration


newly transplanted, rescued Pearl River County Yellow Pitcher Plants relocated to a new St. Tammany Parish preserve


Pitcher Plants in flowery glory


Louisiana Children’s Museum happenin’!


site prep in the early stages at the Children’s Museum, City Park, NOLA

I have been workin’ like a Turk over the last couple of weeks assisting putting the final touches on the most awesome garden designs (I must say) for the new Louisiana Children’s Museum. Landscape Architect and plantsman John Mayronne sat with me yesterday and contributed his amazing talent to the cause and I have forwarded that bit of info to Deb Guenther and Christian Runge of Mithun, the firm spearheading the design process. Deb tells me there is an article forthcoming about the Museum in Urban Land magazine. Can’t wait to see that! Construction should begin on the museum by late April. The design has been ten years in the making. Candi and I feel fortunate to have been able to work as consultants for this special garden, one so close to home.

worst video of Prairie Phlox ever made! Phlox pilosa, blooming at the farm – too bad you can’t smell the delectable fragrance via video – it’d be better

Prairie Gardening talk, part of Louisiana Master Gardener’s Conference agenda

I will be doing a presentation on using prairie plants in the landscape for the Master Gardeners state Conf in New Orleans. Keynote speakers for this event are the amazingly insightful Biologist Dr. Doug Tallamy of the University of Delaware and Texas horticulturist Dr. Bill Welch. A number of other wonderfully talented speakers including nursery pioneers Margie Jenkins and Buddy Lee, horticultural brainiac Dr. Allen Owings, Dana Brown Landscape Architect, and Biologist Dr. Charles Allen. They grace the stage, along with educational displays and vendors – all sorts horticultural commotion. Be there if you can!

Click to access LMG16-Conference-Agenda.pdf

Baton Rouge’s BREC Bioblitz – today!!

Event Calendar, Louisiana Nature, via Dr. Charles Allen 

(contact Dr. Charles Allen 337-328-2252)

Apr 2  BREC Bioblitz 2016, Baton Rouge

Apr 2  Picnic at Briarwood

April 2-3 Festival des Fleurs, Lafayette

April 5-7   Basic (General) Plant ID Class Allen Acres

April 8-10 BBBBB  Allen Acres

April 8-9  Southwest Louisiana Garden Fest Lake Charles

April 9 The Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program along with Louisiana La-Terre Master

Gardeners is having a Native Plant Sale on Saturday, April 9, 2016 from 8:00am-12:00pm.

April 13-15  Basic (General) Plant ID Class Grand Isle

April 15-17 Grand Isle Migratory Bird Celebration

April 19-21  Graminoid id workshop, Allen Acres

April 26-28 Basic (General) Plant ID Class Shroomdom Poplarville, Mississippi

May 3-5  Wetland Plant ID Class, Allen Acres

May 7-8  Edible Plant Workshop at Allen Acres

May 12-14  Louisiana Master Gardener Convention, hosted by the Master Gardeners of Greater New

May 14  Cajun Prairie Meeting

May 17-19 Basic (General) Plant ID Class Idlewild, near Clinton, LA

May 21  Crosby Arboretum  Butterfly Gardening

May 24-26  Sunflower Legume Plant ID Class, Allen Acres

May 28-30  Columbia Catahoula Caravan.  Tours, etc in the Columbia area probably Copenhagen Prairie,

Charles Allen Nature Trail, and Catahoula National Forest and more.  Details to follow

July 17-20  North American Prairie Conference, Normal, Illinois

July 23-31  National Moth week

July 29-31  Moth event plus Bio Blitz at Allen Acres

August 19-21  Lily Orchid Days, Allen Acres

Sept 17  Haynesville Butterfly Festival

Sept 30-Oct 2  Butterfly Blast, Allen Acres