Wednesday, July 15, 2009

July Prairie

I thought you might like to see the results of the controlled burn we did in April, namely, the summer prairie. Steve's still in the process of restoring it, so in addition to the controlled burn, areas that were heavy with weeds, basically where the prairie grass and flowers had not fully taken hold, were also sprayed with Round-Up herbicide as they started to come up. This means there is a huge swath that is dead to the ground. Also, you can see in that photo the two stunted oak trees that basically caught fire as it went through. They're alive at the top, holding on, but it's not good. However, it is also very clear that the prairie that was burned and allowed to come in-- the prairie that had taken hold-- is much more vibrant and beautiful than it was even last year.

This is just the beginning of blooming, but it's maybe my favorite time in the prairie life cycle. The purple flowers are bergamot (though I can't figure out their relationship, if any, to Earl Grey tea, which is infused with bergamot orange, an Asian citrus plant). I love the bergamot, even more than the popular cone flowers. There are wild rudbeckia, sort of a sissy version of the black-eyed Susan I planted in my garden from the nursery. There are the grasses-- the little blue stem and the "big blue," and everything else seems mostly like potential. I'll post agian when the cone flowers take over-- it is pretty spectacular. Right now I'm enjoying that I can walk out and cut down bergamot, which live longer than other wildflowers once cut, and add a really graceful appearance to the table.

In terms of the vegetable garden, it's actually starting to produce. I even picked and ate 4 beautiful, red cherry tomatoes today. I have three zuchinni and for a week have been picking small batches of snow peas, for use in salads and the occasional stir-fry. The full-size tomato plants are loaded down with small tomatoes and the cherry tomato plants will clearly produce a few batches of salsa. In terms of zucchini-- well, we're covered. The only thing I'm really curious about is the brussel sprouts. I can't wait to see the flower shoot up and all the little sprouts appear. What a sweet day that will be.

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