Monday, May 30, 2011

Camas (Camassia quamash) blooming in the prairie.

I am actually working on music, too, though I haven't had much to say about it. In fact, I have an instrumental section from the opera that is almost ready to be mixed, and I thought I'd post it, but the prairie is currently the hot story--things are blooming, what can I say? This is in the "new" prairie, and there are all sorts of things coming up. My camas appears to bloom a couple weeks behind the native patches around here, and I think I've figured out that the older the camas plant is, the earlier it blooms, so this one is about a week behind the patches I planted five years ago. Anyway, suddenly this year there seems to be a lot of camas, though most of it is young sprouting leaves, not yet blooming this year. I suspect that the half pound or however-much-it-was of camas seed (from Grassland West, from whom I got my native grass seed, as well as the iris seed) that I planted three years ago has at last come up, and I have had the pleasant realization that I may be done planting camas, since if all this stuff ends up blooming we will have an impressive drift.

Oh, and that Douglas brodiaea in the previous post...chomped by deer that night. One has to have a sense of humor about these things...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Western groundsel (Senecio integerrimus), blooming in the prairie among Woods rose.

I have been able to start the groundsel from seed, but one plant that has been more difficult is Douglas' brodiaea, or wild hyacinth (Triteleia grandiflora). They are pretty persistent and fairly common around here, surviving even when every other native has been eliminated, but I have never gotten the seeds to produce plants. And that's when I can find seeds, as some animal finds them delectable and generally the seeds are gone before they are mature. Fortunately there has been quite a bit of it hanging on in the southern fence row, and over the years I have encouraged it to move north. It grows very slowly, putting out a green hair at first that gets thicker over the years until at last it puts up a spectacular flower. The deer chomp these too, but this year there are enough that some have escaped being chomped. Here is one in full bloom that I found today.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The cage worked! Here is the blooming iris, in all its glory...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Rocky Mountain iris (Iris missouriensis), about to bloom.

Between the deer, rabbits, and voles, I figured that I should take some action ahead of time to make sure some beast doesn't chomp this little jewel. Later I spent an hour under the pie cherry tree in bloom, dappled sunlight, filling walls-of-water for the newly-planted tomatoes, puffy clouds gliding by overhead. Spring, at last!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I found two distinct kinds of successes out in the prairie this afternoon. The first was the sort I worked for, the triumphant return this Spring of a clump of red besseya and sedge that I carefully dug up out of a drainage ditch beside the road near Kamiak Butte almost exactly a year ago. I carefully nursed it along last year, and hoped it would come back this year...

The other kind of success is the unexpected gift, all the more mysterious because it was unanticipated. Here is a tiny blooming ball-headed waterleaf that just showed up all on its own and decided to put on a show in its first year. I almost stepped on it!

Postscript...The next morning I went to check on the red besseya and darned if some deer didn't chomp that lovely flower stalk off. Good think I took that photo yesterday! Oh well, the plant is fine anyway.