Thursday, July 18, 2013

Agoseris: friendly or evil?

 Agoseris grandiflora, blooming in the prairie this morning

I've watched this plant growing all spring.  I wasn't sure if it was something I planted but it looked promising, so I left it alone.  Once it started blooming I was a little uncomfortable.  I identified it as Agoseris grandiflora, which is indeed a native perennial, but I have trouble getting past its similarity to a dandelion.  A huge dandelion, complete with the puffball seed heads.  So, right after I took this photo, I cut off all the blooms and gathered the seed heads (a few seeds had taken flight already).  I put off any decisions on how to handle this plant until next year.   

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Scarlet gillia

Scarlet gillia in the prairie, summer evening drizzle.

This is not the best photo I shot from the porch after dinner, but it did the best job showing the substantial drift of Scarlet gillia (Ipomopsis aggregata) that is in full bloom in the prairie.  I apparently sewed this seed in just the right spot, since this biennial has reseeded itself for three 2-year cycles so far.  Many native plants are pretty subtle, but this one attracts questions, "What are those spiky red flowers out there?"  The hummingbirds and bees are insane for it.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Summer bloom

Gaillardia, scarlet gillia, yarrow, cinquefoil, and large-leaved lupines blooming in the prairie this morning.  After the previous post, I felt like an image with some more colorful native flowers was called for...

...and an update on the dreaded Medusahead grass.  I mowed all of it at least twice (one spot got four mowings), and my advice is to wait until around July 1 (well, here, at least) rather than diving in right away in early June to mow it, since the stuff comes back up.  Finally I went through the whole prairie and pulled the heads off/plants up by hand, getting about 30 gallons' worth.  Thank goodness the folks from the Palouse Conservation District spotted this; while it sounds like a lot of work, it wasn't too bad, but I suspect that if I had ignored this for another year, I would have had a very nasty infestation on my hands!