Monday, April 4, 2016

Spring on the Palouse

Grass widows (Olsynium douglasii) in bloom.

I fell into a lot of playing music over the last few months, and have felt less inclined to write.  I have several ongoing projects that have demanded a lot of disciplined practice, and there isn't much to say except that I'm working hard and doing my best.  I actually have more to say than that, but I want to save it until I finally finish one of these projects.

But it's Spring on the prairie, and that catches your attention.  Above and below are images showing the third year of growth in this part of the property.  Clumps of delphinium, prairie star, and buttercups that I moved in the last couple of years from gravelly drainage ditches by the side of the gravel roads around here (where they would be sprayed if I didn't move them) have survived.  I have not found other sources for these plants, although I have been successful with delphinium seed that I've collected around here.  I wish I could get a ton of buttercup seed though.  What is especially pleasing for me to see in the image below is all the little annual plants that are vigorously filling in here, along with these grass widows spreading everywhere.  These are all descendants from the few clumps I rescued years ago from a spot down the road, where a new house was being built and they dumped soil on a bit of pristine prairie.  Every year, I select a few large clumps here and divide them into 3-4 bits and replant.  Now they're taking mostly care of the project themselves.  In this image, if you look below the furthest-left grass widow flower in the clump in the foreground, you can see a wider-blade leaf of a plant.  I think that's a Yellow bell (fritillaria pudica), a descendant from an earlier population that was entirely eaten up years ago by a plague of voles here (I did a post on this years ago when it happened).  When that kind of stuff comes back, you know you're doing something right...

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