for Piet’s sake!

The Prairie Inspired Garden

In 2010, I was able to make a much anticipated trip to New York, New York, for a family wedding event. Tops on my list of places to see while I was there of course was the High Line, the internationally famous public garden, said to be “the most Instagrammed place on Earth”.

The High Line is exactly that, an old abandoned elevated industrial rail line on Manhattan’s west side that runs along the Hudson piers. As the rail sat unused for about 30 years, a self-seeded prairie-like landscape developed and became the subject of a photographer Joel Sternfeld’s creative interests. He spent a year photographing the many parts of the line, capturing a collection of images that would later be used to sell the idea of transitioning the rail to a linear public park.

A cracker jack team of designers and horticulturists was assembled to further develop the idea, including the very capable Netherlands based planting designer Piet Oudolf – he was most instrumental in choosing plant approaches and plant lists. The result is a garden that’s a hybrid between a natural prairie garden the English border garden. Oudolf used native prairie grasses and perennial wildflowers but he included many many horticultural selections of native species, and also some species that are not native to the Americas. Even the non native species look at home amongst the prairie plant drifts. The planting lists for the gardens are long, and made up mostly of herbs and grasses, with some plantings of small trees and shrubs, and vines and bulbs.

The design emphasis of the High Line is on low input, drought tolerant species that save on resources, something to consider when your garden is a mile and a half long.

The design approach is rather simple, using mass plantings of species that contrast in color, texture, and form  – species that are tough and hold their own in the landscape. By using so many different species, the designers planned for an unfolding landscape, month to month, much like the continuous interest a natural area relict prairie would provide. The result is simplistic, but rather beautiful, any time of the year. The substance of the garden design and its overall horticultural appeal is significant. It is said that 5 million people visit the High Line each year.

I visited during the month of January so I saw the gardens at their weakest. I was still very much impressed with them. I could still identify most of the plants.

Mr. Oudolf is a much sought after garden designer famous for his work with grasses and perennials. He promotes the perennial plant garden and points out that winter-frosted perennials and grasses have character, too.

He has designed the High Line gardens to mimic the American prairie, with grasses as bones of the garden, the cloth that the garden color is woven into. The gardens are perfectly attractive to pollinator species including butterflies, skippers, dragonflies, native bees and wasps, honeybees, and so forth.

Speaking from my perspective, grasses are used much like the evergreen shrub is in an English border garden; as a back drop for color, as a contrasting element – a whispy feature that highlights and refracts light, enhances and contrasts colors and textures. Grasses come in many shapes, sizes, and textures, but grasses are colorful, too. Switch grass may not be just right for every garden but there is no denying this plant has a bold presence. It starts off as a medium textured foliage emerging in late spring, subtle and unassuming. By mid-summer, its knee high – dense and robust. By fall, it is chest high, mostly rounded in form, and starting to produce its fine textured seed panicles, which crown the tops of the foliage mass with a smokey-mist effect. When first frost comes, the green linear leaves turn a clear crisp tan color, a very dramatic change that carries through the winter. Four different cultivars of Switch grass are used in the High Line gardens. Little Bluestem grass, a shorter, more vertically inclined plant is used extensively through the plantings. It has a contrasting blue foliage in summer and turns a reddish-ochre color in winter. The very popular and extraordinarily stylish Calamagrostus X Karl Foerster is another among the 30 different grasses that are used in the project altogether. Over 150 species of perennials accompany the grasses.

The practicality in using grasses is their sheer ability to sustain themselves with little or no care. Plant them and pretty much forget about them, though they generally need cutting back in late winter just before the new growth starts, generally in April or May. Grasses enable you to have twice as much garden with half as much care. If you’re planting the right grasses, they will likely last longer than you will – they’ll out live you!

Not all grasses are created equally. Some ecotypes (regionally local genetic strains) do not adapt permanently and can decline and fade from the landscape over a few years time. Try to source seed collected locally so the plants are more able to survive in our unique Gulf-influenced environmental extremes. After all, its best to be successful the first time around – unless of course you like failure.

The prairie inspired garden is becoming more accepted in horticultural circles. With so many species adaptable to this idea, the design possibilities are practically limitless.

Common Prairie Plants for Gardening in Louisiana

GRASSES

Little Bluestem grass
Yellow Indian grass
Split Beard Bluestem grass
Elliot’s Bluestem
Elliot’s Indian grass
Narrow Leafed Bluestem
Sporobolus junceus
Dicanthelium sp
Panicum anceps
Love grass
Winter Bent grass
Toothache grass
Purple Silky Scale grass
Aristida purpurascens
Tridens flavus
Triden strictus
Triden ambiguus
Eastern Gamma grass
Big Bluestem grass
Bushy Bluestem grass

WILDFLOWERS (perennials)

Baptisa alba
Baptisia nuttalli
Baptisia spherocarpa
Baptisia bracteata
Coreopsis linifolia
Coreopsis pubescens
Coreopsis tripteris
Coreopsis rosea
Coreopsis lanceolata
Tephrosia onobrychoides
Monarda lindhiemeri
Monarda fistulosa
Monarda citriodora
Monarda punctata
Pycnanthemum tenuifolia
Pycnanthemum albescens
Silphium gracile
Silphium integrifolia
Silphium laciniata
Scuttellaria integrifolia
Eryngium yuccafolia
Eryngium integrifolium
Tradescantia virginicus
Penstemon digitalis
Penstemon laxiflorus
Sabatia gentianoides
Callirhoe papaver
Rudbeckia texana
Rudbeckia grandiflora
Rudbeckia hirta
Rudbeckia subtomentosa
Bigelowia virgata
Liatris squarrosa
Liatris squarrulosa
Liatris elegans
Liatris spicata
Liatris acidota
Liatris pycnostachya
Erigeron philedalphicus
Erigeron strigosus
Boltonia asteroides
Eupatorium hyssopifolium
Eupatorium serotinum
Euthamia leptocephala
Euthamia tenuifolia
Lobelia puberula
Erythrinia herbacea
Physostegia digitalis
Rhexia mariana
Pityopsis pilosa
Solidago odora
Solidago rugosa
Solidago tortifolia
Solidago nemoralis
Solidago sempervirens
Echinacea pallida
Echinacea purpurea
Helianthus mollis
Helianthus angustifolia
Euphorbia colorata
Salvia azurea
Barrens Silky Aster
Amsonia tabernaemontana
Asclepias lanceolata
Asclepias obovata
Asclepias incarnata
Asclepias longifolia
Asclepias perennis
Asclepias rubra
Asclepias syriaca
Asclepias variegata
Asclepias verticilata
Asclepias viridiflora
Asclepias Viridis
Asclepias tuberosa

Where to Visit Prairie Gardens in the U.S

University of Wisconsin Arboretum, Curtis Prairie, Madison, Ws.

North Carolina Botanical Garden, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC.

Crosby Arboretum, Mississippi State University, Picayune, Ms.

Where to Visit Prairie Gardens in Louisiana

Cajun Prairie Habitat Preservation Society, Eunice, La

Cajun Prairie Gardens, Eunice, La

Allen Acres B and B, Pitkin, La

St Landry Parish Visitor’s Center, Opelousas, La

Duralde Prairie Restoration, Duralde, La

Caroline Dorman Nature Preserve

LSU AgCenter Research and Gardens, Hammond, La

City of Mandeville Wildflower Conservation Area

City of Hammond – Chappapeela Park, Hammond, La

City of Monroe – Kiroli Park, Monroe, La

City of Covington – Blue Swamp Creek Nature Trail, Covington, La

Center for Ecology and Environmental Technology, University of Lafayette, Lafayette, La

Hamilton Hall, University of Lafayette, Lafayette, La

City Of New Iberia, Mr. Al (the Live Oak) Prairie, New Iberia, La

*the list provided is focused on Louisiana natives – consider other endemics native to your locale when developing your own garden lists – though many of the species listed here are generalists and not site specific

For more information on educational classes regarding native grasses and wildflower identification and culture, contact Dr. Charles M. Allen at native@camtel.net

 

* this article written for December issue of Louisiana State Horticulture Society

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cool lawn color from Oxalis at a New Orleans’ Lake Lawn funeral home

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with turfgrass, less is much more

“Our remaining prairies throughout the grassland region are vestiges of one of the mightiest ecosystems ever to grace the earth. Our prairie soils and grazing lands made North America into an agricultural powerhouse like nowhere else in the world. And what remain may be called remnants, but they are not artifacts, they are teeming with life—living laboratories of genetic resources that we cannot afford to lose. They are perhaps all the more precious because they are so scarce and so vulnerable”     Carol Davit, the Executive Director of Missouri Prairie Foundation in her opening keynote address at the Americas Grassland Conference

http://www.nwf.org/~/media/PDFs/Misc/2015-Americas-Grasslands-Conference_Proceedings-FINAL-070816.ashx

 

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Delighting in the Yellow Rain Lily fields at New Orleans City Park, NOLA

There are two really good models of naturalized, largely sustainable (perennial) meadows in New Orleans City Park, New Orleans, La. One model is the lush natural dark green stands of grass-like sedge meadows that exist on the south end of Scout Island – under the old Live Oaks there, just across from Goat Island (it is Leavenworth’s sedge mostly), and the other model is the Yellow Rain Lily fields that exist in the lawn areas surrounding Tad Gormley Stadium, just north of the Botanical Gardens. I have covered the sedge meadows previously in posts – here’s one post from a couple of years ago.

(https://marcpastorek.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/leavenworths-sedge-has-mind-of-its-own-makes-awesome-shade-meadow-in-city-park-new-orleans/)

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Its the Rain Lily meadows I wanted to share with you. They were all colored-up, really beautifully, when I was there recently (click to enlarge the pic). This lily field area (above) is located to the north and east of the corner of Marconi Avenue and Roosevelt Mall, which leads into the western entrance of the Park from Marconi Ave., just south of the Interstate 610.

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The tiny flowers of Zepharanthes citrina (identification via Scott Ogden’s Garden Bulbs for the South), above. Its a non-native naturalized plant I have found in several regularly mowed properties in different parts of Louisiana; in City Park New Orleans, and at the Chalmette National Battlefield and in many old home sites, some I recollect, in St. Francisville. This very tough, resilient plant takes sun or shade, wet or dry, but does particularly well being in the infrequently mowed understory of a Live Oak tree. This photo, shot when the Lilies were in peak bloom, two weeks ago, and should be in full seed about right about now if it hasn’t been mowed down. Tiny bright yellow Lily goblets scatter the ground over dark green threadlike tufts of Lily leaves.

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seeds of Z. citrina are ready when the seed capsule splits open

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little black wedges of Yellow Rain Lily seed are light as dust

The Park’s Cosmos color crops next door, are just coming into flower now. These provide brief displays of luxuriant color and double as pollinator-friendly nectaring-weigh stations for bee s and butterflies. The Rain Lily and sedge gardens are perennial, permanent and relatively carefree, while the Cosmos gardens need reseeding, replanting every few months. Color cropping is relatively easy to do and so fun to experience when in flower. There are so many more annuals to try though. The list is long for annual species to dabble with, both native and non-native species.

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the gardens are surrounded by wide mowed paths of lawn for access to the edge and some leading through the interior of the plantings.

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above, planting color crop meadows using annuals is a fun and really rewarding alternative to mowing turf grass for those who are adventurous and inspired to create big splashes in life.

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above, the general feel for what peak flower looks like. This type of garden can be a useful alternative in the design toolbox for developing strategies for fossil fuel reduction and for encouraging land managers to have a more delicate touch in managing large acreage land.




turfgrass transition!

Speaking of gardens that inspire, check out this photo of what used to be a severely boring lawn and is now a really significant prairie habitat garden and gene-bank preserve, containing numerous species and hundreds of thousands of flowers on a monthly basis on about two acres. The insect activity here is amazing, and species diversity and species richness in the vegetation is as remarkable. Superlative vegetation, produced from planting wild-collected high-quality prairie seed. Go figure.

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click on the photo to enlarge it.

This is what not quite three years of time after planting does to soil, with high quality prairie seed. A developing prairie garden blankets the earth in broad stroked patterns. Remember, 70% or so of the biomass of a prairie is underground so you can imagine 2 times as much rootmass underground, in biomass – roots going down maybe eight or more feet. That is prairie, mostly roots – deep, dense root highway systems that channel stormwater and harbor an array of undrground micro-fauna. Narrow Leafed Mountain Mint plants, Button Snakeroot, Black Eyed Susies, Bee Balm and an 100 other odds-and-ends prairie species grow with abandon in this natural meadow, demonstrating the character lost landscapes.

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A series of mowed lawn trails weave through this two-acre garden and serve a dual roll as fire lines for semi-annual prescribed fires.

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University of Louisiana, Lafayette, Hamilton Hall prairie habitat garden rocks campus

The Hamilton Hall prairie garden was planted about three years ago as a volunteer project, from seed gathered and nursery grown plants grown, using Cajun Prairie genetics, many provided by Pastorek Habitats.

* all photos courtesy of University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Facebook page ha

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Prof. Jim Foret, Jacob Delahoussaye, and Steve Nevitt and volunteers from the UL Horticulture Club got together and built the prairie garden at ULL, Hamilton Hall, on the northeast corner of the building. Its really taken off now, developing into a full fledged prairie sod, via prescribed fire management.

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above, architectural structure can be helpful when blending a wild garden design into the refined urban condition.

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fat and sassy Anole lounges on a prairie perch

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Coastal Prairie Coneflower (R. nidita)

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above, a Purple Coneflower flower is a happy place for a Skipper butterfly

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the delicate flower cluster Coastal Hibiscus, a native marsh edge plant

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the flower buds of Helianthus mollis, above

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Hibiscus mosheutos and a worker bee

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anthers and filaments of the Eastern Gamma grass flower

 

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a spent calyx from a Hibiscus flower

 

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Foxtail grass

 

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Button Snake Root

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Cassia fasciculata

 

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Coastal Hibiscus bud

 

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Rudbeckia nidita and passenger

 

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postage stamp prairies are doable! Three cheers for the ULL Horticulture Club!


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Fire, not for amateurs —

One of the most controversial – yet possibly the most important aspect of gardening for ecological recovery of fine-fuel prairie vegetation is fire, the prescribed fire. Fire is a natural condition that transforms landscapes through natural succession, an orderly natural process. Using prescribed fires is a science and a necessary tool. Considering humidity, wind speed and direction, fuel load, etc., you can develop a plan for successful execution of the burn and do it safely. Training and certification is a good thing or just find a forester who can do it for you. That’s my advice.

You can prairie garden without fire, too. Just prepare for the management you choose before planting is done.

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This borrowed photo captures a moment in time, a frame of a flame – at a prairie restoration about three or so years old – produced from Pastorek Habitat’s high quality prairie seed.    photo by Biologist/ Ecologist Matt Conn

Take a look at Matt’s blogpost on large-scale Chinese Tallow removal via helicopter. Matt’s experimenting and learning hands-on, via natural plant communities. Matt partnered through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, working directly with biologist Andrew Dolan, who is the Service’s private lands consultant, to prepare for and establish this small-acreage (I think a few acres) prairie garden. Andrew’s job focus includes guiding people interested in turning part of their property into wildlife habitat. There is someone in Andrew’s position in every state in the union so there’s a private lands coordinator somewhere near you. Get grass, people!

link to Mr. Conn’s Chinese Tallow article below

http://turtleboyandthebirds.blogspot.com/2016/04/invasive-tallow-udate.html

link to New York Times article on Matt…

 




 

Marc to speak at CPEX Smart Growth Planning Summit in November

Center for Planning Excellence (CPEX) will host the 11th Annual Louisiana Smart Growth Summit November 1 & 2, 2016 in downtown Baton Rouge. The Summit has become the Southeast’s premier event promoting dialogue on innovative planning and exploring models for creating healthier and more resilient communities, making our streets safer while expanding transportation options, as well as examining the real estate market and development trends, and the important role of policymaking and leadership. Major sessions will hit on the big ideas that we hope will inspire our communities to move forward, as well as best practices and how-to follow-up sessions for our practitioner

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Lafitte Greenway 9-acre native meadow magic set to begin

The City of New Orleans’ newest City park, the Lafitte Greenway, a sixty-four acre public space designed by the Landscape Architecture firm The Design Workshop, of Aspen, Co.,  -built for biking, team sports, community gardens, and other forms of recreation – will soon see progress begin for the process of establishing authentic Louisiana prairie habitat gardens and Sedge-dominant wetland gardens, just under 9 acres in all, using our amazingly-viable local-genetic seed and awesome restoration technology.

We were so fortunate to have been chosen as The Design Workshop’s lead horticultural consultant during the time the park design was being developed and perfected, starting back in November 2011. We’ve since been actively working with the Landscape Architectural staff at the City of New Orleans, the Landscape Architecture firm Dana Brown and Assoc., and a slew of other specialists, to help hammer out the details of what will soon become the crown jewels of the Park.

Nose to the grindstone for three years, ya’ll!

link to the American Society of Landscape Architects Award for Analysis and Planning – 2013,  below

https://www.asla.org/2013awards/328.html

 

lafitte

The Greenway is a linear Park (the greenspace on a diagonal from top left to bottom right) inspired by a group of visionary citizens who saw an opportunity to develop what was once an old derelict rail road line (and before that, a navigation canal), into an viable and invaluable public space for the City. The Park serves as a green transportation connection between the French Quarter and the City Park area. All of the trees and garden areas in Lafitte are designed 100 per cent with native plants. All construction is mostly finished at this point but for the prairie gardens.

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at Galvez Street looking to the southwest – Lafitte Greenway at Claiborne Avenue/ I-10

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looking north to Lake Ponchartrain @ Lafitte Greenway at Bayou St. John/ Jeff Davis Parkway

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above, Volunteer-painted fence in background with one of our several storm water-bioretention gardens (foreground)

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Marc and Blue Hawaii Elvis hangin’ out at the Greenway!

Thank ya ver’ much!


Grow Cleome hassleriana from seed. Play around with this plant and you may get lucky and get a good crop of flowers. Cleome’s an annual plant, very short lived. Very easy. Blooms only for a month or so and then it makes lots of round, linear seed pods – that you can easily gather and grow!

I recently saw Cleome growing in sugar sandy beaches that are formed in the bends of the Okatoma Creek, in south Mississippi. But you can see below, its pretty common in Loosiana, yall (Allen and Thomas’ Vascular Flora of Louisiana).

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Cleome gets around via seed. Its a prolific seed maker.

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the leaf of Cleome resembles the leaf of Cannabis, which happens to be just next to Cleome in the book – same family –

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This little crop was a-buzz last week when I took an early morning walk about.

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Basils, easy to grow pollinators

Basil plants come in many shapes and forms. The typical culinary Basil, easily grown from seed is not only great to eat, it is a highly sought after plant by bees and other pollinators.There are many types, cultivars, of Basil in the horticulture trade. I’ve grown Thai Basil, Lemon Basil, Cinnamon Basil, Opal Basil, Holy Basil, Purple Basil, and, this year I’ve tried for the first time, African Basil – and have enjoyed having it in the garden. Three words for Basil growers; simple, simple, simple. I plan to make some pesto soon with the African variety to try it out. I was excited to see a Hummingbird Moth on the African Basil patch in the middle of the day the other day. Odd since the moths, I think, are nocturnal. First time for everything, I guess 🙂   cool hummingbird moth on basil video, below

 

 


Natural Beauty in the State of Mississippi

Okatoma Creek near Seminary, Mississippi – one of my grandkids, little Asher Pastorek, jumps from a clay bar – canoeing in the red clay state w the young’ns. nice…

 

 


Save the Date! Competing meetings!

September 24th, 2016   Pollination Celebration – Hammond, La

a day long educational forum on pollinating insects and plants they utilize

b-zzzzzzzzzzzzz

https://tpmgblog.wordpress.com/pollination-celebration-2016/

 

September 24th and 25  Texas and Cajun Prairie Conference – Lafayette, La

Details are still in the making, but basically this will be a two day event with a night Social between (they are considering having a Zydeco Band for music so bring your dancing shoes). There will be an educational forum on Saturday and a field tripping caravan on Sunday.

keep a look-out for this event at cajunprairie.org and prairiepartner.org/

 

 

prairie ecology and management, topic for LMN Urban Ecology workshop, NOLA

I will be presenting the topic – “introduction to prairie ecology, prairie management and keystone plants of the prairie” for the Louisiana Master Naturalists of New Orleans’ URBAN ECOLOGY workshop on Saturday March 19th as a guest instructor. This workshop session is only open to those registered for the Master Naturalist program.

key take aways for the LMN presentation and field trip to Scout Island Prairie Habitat

1. Growing native prairie wildflowers and grasses gives a garden local identity.
2. Cultivating many prairie plots allows us to promote diversity and to preserve rare ecotypes that straddle the fence of extinction.
3. Prairie pants have historical and cultural significance and are a useful connection to the past.
4. Prairie grasses provide unique foliage texture. Their linear foliage refracts light and sings as the wind moves through.
5. Prairies are adorned with colorful flowers through the growing season.
6. Many prairie plants provide forage for wildlife. Birds feast on the plump fatty seeds of composites like Compass Plant. Butterflies abound in the prairie, sipping nectar  from their sun-loving food sources. Dragonflies hunt using strategic aerial feats to hone in on prey.
7. Most prairie plants are able to withstand extreme environmental conditions. Troublesome or unsightly areas of the landscape with baking sun and heavy clay soils are often ideal sites on which to establish a prairie garden. Prairie plantings can be used to reclaim wasteland in many cases.
8 Prairie plants (especially the grasses) have tenacious root systems that hold soil, filter ground water and prevent erosion.
9. Prairie plants are tough and resilient once established. Within 3 to 5 years after sowing, most micro-prairies are self-sustaining. Once established they will produce flowers and valuable seed for many years.
(Gail Barton, Meadowmakers catalog, 2007 – –  yardflower.com).
10. The restored prairie habitat serves as an outdoor classroom and as a “people pasture” (Madison, 1982)
11. There is a certain “revery” just being in a wildflower meadow, but the “revery” redoubles with the restoration of such a habitat. The gardener senses a deep feeling of “self-worth” that grows with each succeeding year as the gardener observes the plants and their biotic associates redevelop a sustainable habitat. (Vidrine and Borsari, 1998)

 

quote of the week

“no prairie – no monarchs”      March 1, 2016    –  some brilliant anonymous person

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Monarchs on Eupatorium serotinum, Mandeville, Louisiana, September 2015. This is why you don’t want to weed out your Eup serotinum. Its a generalist but its a superb nectar plant, as most Eups are. Thanks John Broderick for the image. John sent me other photos of this planting which is right at the edge of a side walk downtown.

Pioneering Biologist, Malcolm F. Vidrine writes prairie blog – don’t blow it and miss this fellow’s writings!

His blog is at    http://cajunprairiegardens.com

Malcolm sent me this link, below, the other day regarding Monarch numbers-populations, etc.

http://www.learner.org/jnorth/monarch/spring2016/05/monarch-butterfly-population-size.html

Was encouraged, inspired by my friend Charles Allen to start participating in the Firefly watch, initiated by the Boston Museum of Science     https://legacy.mos.org/fireflywatch/   I have a pretty good population of fireflies on the property here on the edge of Covington’s corp limit. Participate if’n you can! We need more southerners involved.

Feelin’ the burn…

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stirring it up! ..with a drip torch! Momma told me don’t play with fire 🙂  Stacy Huskins workin’ the water bag – top-right

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Walker Wilson selfie and me drip torchin’ the crescendo backing fire to slow down the head fire roaring at me – above

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Heather Wilson, Dr. Allen, and Stacy Huskins after the burn.  Laddering effect on a juvenile pine….and a cool ephemeral Mayapple in flower – Thanks Walker Wilson, for permission to share these burn photos!

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I’m pining for some Pine.

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a hitchhiker Katydid on Chuck Allen’s shoulder, just after we finished his controlled burn. Katydid hang out with the cool folks….  🙂

Met with the famous team of Horticulturists Steve and Jake on my way to Vernon Parish Friday. Saw Jake’s new organic veggie plantings and his new tiller – not just any old tiller but a real deal farm tiller. Go Jake! Jake is honing his veggie cut flower skills and will be in production soon with his new leased farmland. Steve graduates this fall with a masters degree in grooviness. Pretty sure Steve is responsible for “weeding” the prairie garden at Hamilton Hall – U of La. @ Lafayette. Naw, couldn’t have been Steve. Oh, the mysteries of life….

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Jake and Steve and I had shrimp poboys for lunch, bought and brought by none other than the Maestro himself, Professor Jim Foret. Prof. Jim had lunch with us and then it was off the the old Landfill, City of Lafayette, where in 1998 they, through the inspiration of Lafayette city employee Betty Vidrine, got help (and seed) from the Cajun Prairie Society for their Landfill prairie restoration. They have managed it, generally, with fire –  for these years and there were some good spots where it was obvious the grasses were pretty thick, photo below

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We toured the prairie gardens back in 2001 or 2 during a Cajun Prairie Society field trip and it was just a whippersnapper then, in early stages of natural succession. Friday we consulted with Regulatory Compliance- Environmental Quality Officer- Jackie Tidwell. I will write a report on what we saw sometime soon; observations and advice, etc.

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above, prairie on left and turf, right. notice the methane vent in the distance and the height of the landfill (house in the distance). This is the highest spot in Lafayette Parish.

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google-earth prairie patches

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Turn your City Landfill into a prairie habitat today! Makes for excellent use of space, rather than mowing, turns garbage into a wildlife habitat and party place! There’s gold in them-thar’ hills!!!!!!

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cool Luna Moth at Dr. Allen’s. We just saw this one since it was so cool at night. He has eight or so white sheets that are lit with screw-based black lights but he just added a mercury vapor light and he says it really brings them in. He had eleven Lunas on his sheets yesterday, including many other moths. Can you say hero?

Latimore Smith visits, consults with Blue Swamp Creek Nature Park project, Covington

I met with Latimore Smith, John Mayronne, and City of Covington – Keep Covington Beautiful Director Priscilla Floca yesterday so Latimore could share his brilliance with us. Latimore is one of the leading ecologists in the state and works for the Nature Conservancy, guiding their huge land holdings through active natural management techniques. He shared some really great ideas which we will most definitely put into action. Thanks to the TNC and Latimore for his valued input!!!

We will gitter’ done!!!

 

 

 

 

PH species list for SW Louisiana-Gulf-Coastal-wet-prairie-seed collection, 2014

Special thanks to biologists Dr. Charles M. Allen, Dr. Malcolm F. Vidrine, Dr. Charles Bryson, Chris Reid, Larry Allain, Dr. Charles Bryson, Gail Barton, and Dr. Billy Delany for their valuable assistance with guiding work to develop this list!

Louisiana Coastal Tall Grass Wet Prairie Species collection-list 2015                              Pastorek Habitats, LLC, Covington, Louisiana

grasses and grass-like species

Andropogon gerardii

Andropogon glommeratus

Andropogon gyrans

Andropogon ternarius

Andropogon scoparium

Andropogon virginicus

Anthaenantia rufa

Aristida purpurascens

Aristida dichotoma

Aristida longespica

Bothriochloa longipaniculata

Carex glaucescens

Carex vulpinoidea

Cladium jamaicense

Coelorachis cylindrica

Coelorachis rugosa

Ctenium aromaticum

Cyperus acuminatus

Cyperus erythrorhizos

Cyperus haspan

Cyperus psuedovegetus

Cyperus oxylepis

Cyperus virens

Dicanthelium aciculare

Dicanthelium commutatum

Dicanthelium dichotomum

Dicanthelium scoparium

Dicanthelium scabrusculum

Dichromena colorata

Digitaria filiformis var. villosa

Eliocharis montevidensis

Eliocharis quadrangularis

Eragrostis elliotii

Eragrostis refracta

Eragrostis spectabilis

Erianthus gigantea

Erianthus strictus

Eriocolon decangulare

Fuirena squarrosa

Juncus dichotomus

Juncus tenuis

Juncus marginatus

Leersia orysoides

Muhlenbergia capillaris

Muhlenbergia capillaris var expansa

Panicum anceps

Panicum dichotomiflorum

Panicum dichotomum

Panicum virgatum

Paspalum floridanum

Paspalum laeve

Paspalum praecox

Paspalum plicatulum

Rhynchospora corniculata

Rhynchospora inexpansa

Rhyncospora glaberata

Rhyncospora globularis

Scirpus cyperinus

Schizachyrium scoparium

Schizachyrium tenerum

Scleria pauciflora

Scleria reticularis

Sorgastrum nutans

Sporobolus junceus

Steinchisma hians

Tridens ambiguus

Tridens flavus

Tridens strictus

Tripsicum dactyloides

forbs and composites

Agalinus fasciculata

agalinus purpurea

Agalinus viridis

Aletris aurea

Amsonia tabernaemontana

Arnoglossum ovata

Asclepias lanceolata

Asclepias obovata

Asclepias viridiflora

Baptisia alba

Baptisia bracteata

Baptisia spherocarpa

Baptisia nuttalliana

Bigelowia nudata

Boltonia difusa

Boltonia asteroides

Biden aristosa

Bidens mitis

Buchnera americana

Cicuta maculata

Chamaecrista fasciculata

Coreopsis tinctoria

Coreopsis lanceolata

Coreopsis linifolia

Coreopsis tripteris

Coreopsis pubescens

Chrysopsis mariana

Croton monanthogynus

Croton capitatus

Dalea candida

Desmodium paniculatum

Echinacea pallida

Erigeron strigusus

Eryngium yuccafolium

Eryngium integrifolium

Erythrina herbacea

Eupatorium album

Eupatorium coelestinum

Eupatorium hyssopifolium

Eupatorium ivifolium

Eupatorium perfoliatum

Eupatorium rotundifolium

Eupatorium xpinnatifidum

Euphorbia corollata

Eurybia hemispherica

Euthamia leptocephala

Euthamia tenuifolia

Gailardia aestivalis

Gailardia aestivalis var flarovirens

Gnaphalium obtusifolium

Guara lindhiemeri

Guara longiflora

Helianthus angustifolius

Helianthus mollis

Heterotheca subaxillaris

Hibiscus mosheutos

Hibiscus grandiflorus

Hypericum nudiflorum

Hydrolea ovata

Hydrolea unifora

Hyptis alata

Kosteletzkya virginica

Lespedeza capitata

Lespedeza virginica

Liatris acidota

Liatris elegans

Liatris spicata

Liatris pycnostachya

Liatris squarrosa

Lobelia appendiculata

Lobelia floridana

Lobelia puberula

Manfreda virginica

Monarda fistulosa

Monarda lindhiemeri

Monarda punctata

Oxypolis filiformis

Passiflora incarnata

Penstemon digitalis

Pluchea comphorata

Pluchea foetida

Polytaenia nuttallii

Pycnanthemum albescens

Pycnanthemum muticum

Pycnanthemum tenuifolium

Rhexia mariana

Rhexia lutea

Rhexia virginica

Ruellia humilis

Rudbeckia hirta

Rudbeckia grandiflora

Rudbeckia texana

Sabatia campestris

Sabatia gentianoides

Sabatia macrophylla

Salvia azurea

Scutellaria integrifolia

Shrankia quadrivalis

Silphium asteriscus

Silphium gracile

Silphium Laciniata

Solidago nitida

Solidago odora

Solidago rugosa

Solidago sempervirens

Strophostyles umbellata

Symphyotrichum dumosum

Symphyotrichum concolor

Symphyotrichum lateriflorus

Symphyotrichum patens

Symphyotrichum praealtus

Tephrosia onobrychoides

Teucrium canadense

Vernonia gigantea

Vernonia missourica

Vernonia texana

Hammond Garden Camellia Stroll set/ burn at Eunice prairie successfully conducted by Society members!

After about two weeks of worrying with it, we successfully executed reguvenating controlled burns yesterday at the main 10 acre Eunice prairie restoration site and also, at the Cajun Prairie Society’s two and a half acre whippersnapper-prairie just across the railroad tracks, to the north. Both took an hour a piece to accomplish. Fun and entertainment was had by all.

It was a beautiful cloudless sky to work under, with smoke-lifting atmospheric conditions that were perfect for a safe burn within the City of Eunice corp limit. We had the Eunice Fire Department on hand for the celebratory event. They had our backs.

It was all over before we knew it.

Lots of preparation goes into this sort of thing. Thanks to all who helped. Couldn’t have done it without the CPHPS Fire Bugs!

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prescription, certified and notorized!

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Brian Early was chief drip-torch dude on the western and northern flank. We pushed the fire against the wind for a solid-as-a-rock back-burn.

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it was toasty out there, folks!

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stylin’ Jackie Duncan, the Toastess with the Mostest, brought home “best-dressed” award 🙂  Jackie’s accompanied by the Cajun Prairie pioneer Dr. Malcolm Vidrine and assistants, Steve Nevitt, Jake Delahoussey, and Brian Sean Early

Looking forward to seeing the old Camellia grove at the Hammond Research Station gardens on February 22. These are plantings that are said to be from the 30’s through the 50’s. My friend Dr. Charles Allen is making the trip to visit and I plan to tag along. It should be a fun and informative event with hard-to-find camellias for sale. C’mon, ya’ll!

hope to see you there.  here’s a link to the info page on the Camellia Stroll

http://www.lsuagcenter.com/news_archive/2015/January/headline_news/Camellia-stroll-set-for-Feb-22-in-Hammond-.htm

slo-mo snake attack just like on TV, and other “wild things” news

So there I was, Monday, working in my meadow gardens here at the Ponderosa when my phone rang. I needed a break anyway so reaching into my pocket, and took the call.  While chatting to my client, I proceeded to sit down in the path next to the garden in the small shade of a juvenile water oak.

As I sat, it all happened so quickly but I can recall it clearly, as in slow motion. I happened to be just looking in the direction of a cool blue-leafed switch grass in the central part of the garden a few feet away when all of a sudden a Bronze frog (Lithobates clamitans, I think)in an ascending lift-off, airborne, flying towrds me from the horizon, landing just next to me. Directly on the trail of the frog, coming over the same horizon, was a sprinting three-foot-long snake, hot on the trail of the frog. He’d come from around the switch grass too and he got a glimpse of me which stopped him in his tracks. He put a screeching halt to his progress and quickly cut-off to the north into a big patch of Bee Balm and he was gone. This all happened within a few feet of me and within the time frame of a second or two. The frog took one more giant leap for frog-kind into the pond on the other side of the path and he was gone, too. How fun!

Caroline Dorman called this “the gift of the wild things”.

This reminds me of the time I was collecting some water lettuce from a friend’s pond in Slidel, when I saw a nice little froggy swimming by in front of me and then SPLASH!!   a moccasin ate that sucker up right before my very eyes. yikes. Biology rocks!!!

 

Three upcoming events dealing with the wild things are coming up, all rolled into one week!

First-up is the Cajun Prairie Habitat Preservation Society’s prairie garden tour on May 10 in Eunice. I’m pretty sure that without the pioneering activities of Malcolm Vidrine and Charles Allen, there would be no Cajun Prairie left. But because of their brilliance and wisdom and hard work and a lot of help from volunteers, some of the remaining gene pool of Coastal Prairie has been preserved. We work hard on this and other sites so that people like you can see for yourself in living color! This property is on permanent display for your benefit. Come any time. Come see for yourself the kaleidoscopic vegetation, man.  We’ll travel five miles north from Eunice to Duralde restored prairie which is a much larger property where we’ll see some more unique plantings of crazy-cool wildflowers and then see progress made, since our last visit, on the two year old Demonstration Gardens there. Should be fun and informative. It always is for me! contact Charles Allen for details native@camtel.net

May 13-15 is a Plant Identification Class presented by Charles Allen in the Pitkin (Louisiana) Metro area. As you may know, Charles has a third-degree black-belt in buffet and a very specialized garden designed as a kind-of native bird and bug “rest area”. Charles plants gardens to attract wildlife and to demonstrate gardening techniques for using natives and attracting native critters. He also is all-things-caretake-of-rare-plants at Ft Polk, Louisiana where the flars are pretty. He is an biologist and educator, he can’t help himself. This is a very popular, very well done event, folks. The last one he did had no availability by start time (it was filled up!) and this one is almost full (two spaces left as of this a.m.) so contact Charles at native@camtel.net or 337 328 2252 for more info.  the flyer for this is posted at the bottom of this page.

Lastly, Patricia Drackett of the Crosby Arboretum has organized a field trip to Meadowmakers’ Farm and Hillside Bog Natural area on May 17th in Pearl River County, Mississippi. This is a joint event hosted by Crosby, Meadowmakers Farm, and the Louisiana and Mississippi Native Plant Societies. Heather Sullivan, botanist on staff at the Mississippi Natural History Museum, will lead the two trips. I am so excited to have Heather walk with me through the wildflower plantings at the farm. Its a big deal for me. This is the first visit to the farm for Heather and it should be a treat to see the different plantings through her eyes. Lots will be in bloom. You should come! We’ll break for lunch on or own and reconvene at the Crosby satellite property, the Hillside Bog. The Bog should be in full glory with wonderful wild things to gawk at.

Bring your own boots, water, shade hat and find a restroom before you arrive at the Farm and at Hillside Bog because we’ll be in the woods, more or less, ya’ll, you know what I mean?  This aint no sea cruise.  🙂  Actually, on Highway 43, just a mile west of the Farm, is Fortenberry’s Grocery and Slaughterhouse. They have welcomed any visitors who need restroom facilities and at Hillside Bog, there is a gas station just down the street, a few hundred yards away.

see links below for details  or call me at 504 296 8162

http://www.crosbyarboretum.msstate.edu/pages/calmay.php

https://marcpastorek.wordpress.com/crosby-native-plant-society-meadowmakers-botany-field-trip/

3

PLANT IDENTIFICATION WORKSHOP 2014

 Tuesday May 13 thru Thurs May 15, 2014

Allen Acres in Cravens, Louisiana; 5070 Hwy 399; Pitkin, LA 70656

337-328-2252  native@camtel.net  www.nativeventures.net

 

If you want to learn to recognize many of the common plants of Louisiana and the Gulf South, the names of those plants, and how to identify other plants, this is the workshop for you.   The workshop will include fieldtrips, where you can see the plants in their natural environment as well as labeled specimens in a lab setting.  Additional info on plant identification will be presented thru power-point presentations and printed handouts.  You will be given BRF’s (Best Recognizing Features) for each plant plus other facts like use, edibility etc.  You are encouraged to photograph, take notes, ask questions, and take specimens with you.  During the three day workshop, you will be exposed to more than 200 species of wildflowers, grasses, ferns, trees, shrubs, and vines.

The schedule:

Tues May 13, Wed May 14, and Thurs May 15:  9 AM till 5 pm (fieldtrips, power-point presentations,

discussions, questions and answers) Lunch provided

 

Cost for Workshop = $200 (includes three days of intense plant identification and lunch daily)

 

Other Options:  Allen Acres B and B:  $70 per room per night (includes Breakfast) (usually $80)

Allen Acres camping: $20 per person per night (includes Breakfast)

Dinner (supper) $10 per person per meal

 

Registration for Dr. Charles Allen Plant Identification Workshop 2014-2, Tues May 13, 2014-Thurs May 15, 2014.  Preregistration required.  May cancel on or before May 9 for full refund.  No refund after May 9.

 

Name_________________________________________

Address____________________________________________

Email_________________________________________________

Phone_____________________________________________________

 

Plant ID Class                                                                $200

Options

B and B; $70 per night per room             ______________________