Friday, August 12, 2016


It does get dry here, but even in late summer there is green foliage in the native plants.  My pathetic photography skills don't really catch the pink glow of the Epilobium (and somehow the tan wheat fields about to be harvested in the background look white with snow...), but looking southeast across this expanse of prairie I was reminded that this view was choked with weeds when I started this blog and at this point it looks pretty good to me.  In my November 2009 post, showing a view from the fence on the east side of the property towards the northwest, this area is on the left of that image, after a couple of years of, um, chemical control and just before I had seeded it for the first time.  For the last few weeks I have been walking through this area, digging out a few prickly lettuce plants (very persistent, and they can even sprout this late), but most of the area is free of invasive weeds.   I think I'll always get a few, because properties near me have amazing noxious weed situations, and seeds ride the wind...but, it is not a bad summer toning program to go out and dig a bucket of weeds for an hour.

In previous years there would have been a lovely drift of red on the right side, but in 2014 (because they are biennial and bloom in their second year) the scarlet gilia must not have seeded for whatever reason.  I have noticed similar cycles in other populations in this area, on Kamiak Butte and elsewhere.  There are only 7-8 plants blooming in various spots around the property, though there are numerous little first-year sprouts all over, so the red drifts will return next summer.  And probably the summer of '18 will be a bit sparse (though I've got a collection plan in place for those seven sets of seed pods).