prairie and meadow plantings, succession and extra, with neil diboll

INTEREST AND AWARENESS round native crops has been trending in recent times, and it makes them really feel nearly new. However in fact natives are the unique crops of an space, and even in sure specialty corners of the nursery trade, they’ve been round far longer than they’ve been making headlines.

Simply ask in the present day’s visitor, Neil Diboll, who has operated Prairie Nursery in Wisconsin for 42 years, since lengthy earlier than phrases like “pollinator backyard” had been trendy. He’ll share a few of his favourite species chances are you’ll not know, and in addition some recommendation on what to anticipate over time managing meadow- and prairie-style plantings, in case you’re amongst these gardeners contemplating transitioning a part of your garden, as an illustration.

Neil has been president and consulting ecologist for Prairie Nursery in Westfield, Wisc., since 1982. Final 12 months, in collaboration with backyard designer and horticulturist Hilary Cox, he printed “The Gardener’s Information to Prairie Crops” (affiliate hyperlink), a complete information to utilizing prairie crops in gardens and bigger restorations. (Above, Culver’s root, Veronicastrum virginicum.)

Plus: Remark within the field close to the underside of the web page to enter to win a duplicate of the e book.

Learn alongside as you hearken to the June 3, 2024 version of my public-radio present and podcast utilizing the participant under. You possibly can subscribe to all future editions on Apple Podcasts (iTunes) or Spotify (and browse my archive of podcasts right here).

speaking prairie crops, with neil diboll



Margaret Roach: I really like the e book, Neil; it’s so severe, but in addition accessible. I don’t know if you happen to could be each issues on the similar time, however someway it’s. So congratulations on that.

Neil Diboll: Thanks.

Margaret: So we did a current “New York Instances” backyard column collectively, however that wasn’t the primary time I met you. I met you 30-something years in the past once I was engaged on a e book known as “The Pure Habitat Backyard” with Ken Druse, and we came visiting you and study all issues prairie from you. And again then, natives, you jogged my memory once we labored on the current Instances piece, had been extra more likely to be thought of weeds than trendy [laughter]. Sure?

Neil: Oh, sure, sure. Let’s simply say we had been just a little forward of the curve on this. So there was some fairly arduous years attempting to persuade individuals to make use of natives after they weren’t accustomed to figuring out something about them.

Margaret: Yeah, we’ve come a good distance, however it feels someway to me—I assume as a result of I get plenty of reader and listener questions—it feels to me like within the mainstream horticulture market, the analysis and improvement and advertising efforts have been actually to invent flashy new types of natives and promote, promote, promote them perhaps greater than to teach the purchasers. And I do know you assume training is without doubt one of the most essential elements, and I completely agree, listening to what persons are confounded by.

Neil: Yeah, training is super-important, particularly when 40 years in the past we had a product that no person knew about, and so we needed to educate. And to ensure that individuals to make use of your product correctly, to make use of these crops correctly, it’s essential be sure they perceive them and the way they work together with one another.

So gardening with native prairie crops, individuals can create mini-ecosystems or plant communities, and that’s actually a radical idea as a result of now you’re not simply plunking in a plant like this or a plant like that, however you’re really utilizing a local ecosystem as your mannequin for a backyard. And so moderately than recreating nature in our personal picture, if you’ll, we’re utilizing nature’s rules to create a mannequin of nature. So moderately than a homocentric backyard, it’s a extra of a nature-centric mannequin. And that actually helps to tell gardeners so far as use these crops and use them to create low-maintenance, high-quality habitat.

Margaret: And simply to that time that you simply’re making, I imply, once we long-time gardeners, even skilled, skilled gardeners, we might purchase our hostas and our astilbe and our this and that. I simply talked about some shade crops, however I may point out solar crops, too. We put them down and 30 years later, they’re basically in the identical place that they was once [laughter]. You understand what I imply? We knew handle them, we knew what they wanted. We knew when to chop them again. We form of knew the routine. They had been the acquainted palette. And these aren’t essentially.

And as you’re stating, we’re not simply plunking issues down, “Ooh, look, that’ll look fairly over right here, and it will look fairly over there,” we’re creating communities. And that’s a complete completely different mindset. So I get plenty of questions from people who find themselves thrown off by, nicely, how do I make this all work? It’s just a little complicated.

Neil: And it helps to know your crops, and plenty of gardeners know their crops phenomenally nicely, however they’re simply completely different crops. And so what we’re seeing now’s that severe gardeners are attending to know native crops and making use of ecological rules in how they design with them, how they handle them, and many others.

Particularly past simply using the crops as one thing aesthetic for human beings, however moderately as a habitat backyard, and what I name a three way partnership with nature, the place we meet nature midway. So we invite nature into our gardens. And moderately than spraying every part to maintain the bugs off, we really invite the bugs. As a result of in my backyard or my meadows, if I don’t have holes within the leaves of my crops, I’m an utter failure as a gardener as a result of I’m not supporting pollinators, I’m not supporting birds. The bugs that kind the muse of the meals chain that feed every part up, they’re going to eat my crops, and that’s why half the rationale why these crops are there, not only for me, however for all of us.

Margaret: Proper. Perfectionism just isn’t the aim [laughter]. And a static image, as I stated, I’ve hostas and so they’re nonetheless in the identical place the place I put them, as I stated, and I may have put them there 30 years in the past. And basically, they’re larger, however they’re nonetheless there. However with let’s say… and perhaps we should always inform the distinction between what’s a meadow versus a prairie planting as a result of that’s type of scorching now, is to make a meadow or transition some garden to meadow or to prairie. What’s the distinction out of your ecologist’s perspective?

Neil: Between meadow and prairie?

Margaret: Yeah.

Neil: Yeah. Typically within the lexicon, a meadow is considered as a extra cool-season grass, with grasses that come up early in spring, with numerous wildflowers which can be extra predominant within the Japanese a part of america, often a decrease profile. And a prairie is basically the outline of the Midwestern tall-grass prairie, which was encountered by early French explorers within the seventeenth, 18th centuries. And so they discovered these large meadows with these tall grasses, and the phrase they used to explain them was prairie, which in fact is the French phrase for meadow. However whenever you take a look at the way in which the phrases, the phrases are used now, meadow often refers to a lower-growing profile, wildflower, meadow. And you’ll have a brief prairie, however a brief prairie remains to be 1 to five toes tall relying upon the constituents. So it’s nonetheless typically a taller plant group and typical of the Midwest moderately than the East.

Margaret: So I hear from individuals who transitioned an space to a meadow or a prairie, often, once more, I’m within the East, so I hear from particularly plenty of Easterners and so they say, meadow, “I’ve a brand new meadow backyard or no matter.” “I’m managing my meadow.” And within the third 12 months, I don’t see my black-eyed Susans. There’s no extra black-eyed Susans. And I cherished my black-eyed Susans,” Rudbeckia hirta [above]. Some members of that group that they thought was going to remain static, keep like a postcard picture ceaselessly, and it’s evolving, proper? So uh-oh, succession [laughter].

Neil: Precisely, yeah. And let’s take a look at the 2 other ways you should utilize these crops. You possibly can create a prairie backyard with transplants, the place you’ll be able to choose long-lived crops in order for you it to be extra static. And that’s why in our e book, we listed flora expectations. We don’t have any annuals in there, however we now have just a few biennials, in fact, with a life expectancy of two years. After which short-lived perennials three to 5 years, after which mid-successional perennials 5 to 10 years, after which later successional perennials 10 to twenty, after which lastly the Methuselah crops that dwell 20, 30, 40, 50 years and longer.

Margaret: I cherished that Neil, I cherished it. I imply, I’ve by no means seen the life expectancy listed in any e book about crops. And whenever you did that, and it was like “Baptisia, 20-plus years,” and I used to be like, proper, that factor is anchored within the floor. You understand what I imply? That’s a keeper that’s staying round. It settles down, and it’s there.

Neil: Nicely, I believe that is actually essential for gardeners, in order that they know what they’re getting. As you level out, what occurred to my Rudbeckia hirta? Nicely, it’s a biennial, and naturally you’re referring to a seed combine the place being a biennial, it’s simply fairly dominant in a second 12 months, and it would hold on for an additional couple of years, however by the fifth or sixth 12 months, it’s just about gone due to, as you identified, ecological succession.

And that is actually essential for individuals to grasp ecological succession, whereby whenever you seed onto open floor, often the primary 12 months it’s all weeds, which you didn’t plant. They’re simply dormant seeds within the soil, and also you management them by protecting every part mowed again, often to about 6 inches within the first rising season.

After which you’ve got biennials that present up in a second 12 months, just like the black-eyed Susan and weedy biennials. And oftentimes you’ll should mow these within the second 12 months. After which the third 12 months, the extra quickly maturing perennials of the prairie flowers and grasses begin to present up. And by the fifth 12 months, it’s just about a prairie, if every part’s going in keeping with plan.

After which what’s attention-grabbing is the precise range of whole variety of prairie crops often peaks round 12 months 12 or 15. After which it begins to drop barely because the early successional and mid-successional perennials give technique to these longer-lived crops that dwell 10 to 20-plus years.

So it’s form of disappointing generally whenever you see a few of your favourite crops perhaps going by the wayside. However with disturbance… and that is actually essential, and disturbance is available in many kinds. There’s ripping the bottom up, there’s animal exercise, however the one we often use is managed burning.

With managed burning, you’ll be able to form of set succession again and hold what we name gap-phase succession the place you’ve got open soil the place a few of these different species that may be shorter-lived, can recede and proceed to keep up as a lot range as attainable. So burning is basically an essential facet of this. In fact, lots of people can’t burn or don’t wish to burn. It’s really very simple to burn if you happen to arrange your panorama accurately. And it’s actually plenty of enjoyable as .

Margaret: There’s a complete part in your e book about it, and once I first met you, you couldn’t wait to carry me and Ken Druse to your property the place you had been making a prairie. You had a younger prairie backyard in your entrance yard, I believe, and also you wished to point out us a managed burn. And so once more, you instruct do it within the e book.

Nicely, I really like that you simply stated that we may use a few of these crops as type of specimens. Let’s imagine, “I’m going to make a mattress of those prairie crops, not a group.” So we may do this and management it extra, however when it’s extra like a meadow or a prairie, the succession goes to take maintain and so forth.

Neil: And whenever you use seeds, it’s going to be an evolutionary course of. However in fact, we wish to have these early-successional, mid-successional species. So we now have curiosity in 12 months 3, 5, 7, 10, 15, 20, and on, however it form of reaches extra of a stasis after about 15 years or so. However it’s not dangerous. You continue to have plenty of flowers and delightful grasses, so there’s just a few species that will fall by the wayside over an prolonged time period.

Margaret: And also you simply stated grasses. And that’s an essential part as a result of simply selecting a complete lot of flowers, plenty of forbs, just isn’t going to do it, just isn’t going to carry all of it collectively and create that group, as a result of these had been crops which can be accustomed to having partnerships with grasses.

Neil: Sure. And prairies are grasslands, meadows are grasslands, and so you actually can’t have one with out the grass, and those who have tried to plant simply wildflowers. And it may be executed, however it’s just a little trickier for various causes. Primary, it’s the fibrous roots of the grasses that assist to discourage weeds, as a result of they don’t permit any open soil on the floor of the bottom. And in order that’s the place most weeds get established. There are at all times going to be weeds that may blow in and trigger issues, however you’ll enormously scale back that hazard by having enough amount of grass in your meadow or backyard. So that they’re actually form of your weeders. Like I say, make the crops do the be just right for you. I don’t wish to go on the market and weed. I’m going to design this backyard or design this prairie seed combine so it’s going to have enough grass in it to maintain weeds out as greatest as attainable.

And likewise, if you happen to’re going to burn a prairie, flower sticks, previous flower sticks don’t burn. You want what we name nice gas—grass—to be able to carry a fireplace. So if you happen to don’t have grass in your prairie, it principally received’t burn. And then you definitely lose that nice administration choice for protecting it very recent and new and looking out good and protecting out weeds and timber and shrubs, as a result of hearth is basically one of the simplest ways to maintain out invaders, most invaders. And persons are scared of fireside. Nicely, really on our web site, I’ve an article underneath sources and guides, it’s known as “The way to Burn Your Prairie Safely,” and there’s so many tips about how to do that.

So I imply, it’s nearly not possible to lose it if you happen to do it proper. And one actually easy trick is simply earlier than you burn it, simply minimize every part down and all of the gas is on the bottom. As an alternative of getting massive flames, it’s simply creeping alongside the bottom. And so it’s so easy. It’s very easy.

Margaret: I’m sorry that the home wren, by the way in which, outdoors my window—regardless that I’ve closed the window, the home wren is insistent on being on this program in the present day, so you’ll be able to hear him screaming.

Neil: Oh, yeah, that’s good. It’s good to have a accomplice on the present.

Margaret: [Laughter.] Somewhat bossy creature. Yeah. So we had been speaking about making this residing mulch in a way by having the part of grasses with the wildflowers, the forbs, and that it makes it extra weed-resistant. The opposite query I get requested quite a bit is when weeds do come by means of, particularly within the early years that I don’t need, ought to I pull them out as a result of then that will open up one other area within the soil? Ought to I pull them out and attempt to do the least opening of soil attainable or put one thing on it, like a bit of cardboard or no matter? Is there any weeding recommendation in any respect for these form of communities?

Neil: Yeah, as soon as once more, you’re speaking a few seeded meadow, seeded prairie, proper?

Margaret: Perhaps, yeah.

Neil: O.Ok. Nicely, if you happen to take a look at it, you need to take a look at it strategically, and it’s essential know your weeds. In reality, once I first began doing this again in 1977, I used to be taking a look at plantings that somebody had executed on the college the place I went to highschool, and it was a really new planting so all I discovered had been weeds. So I needed to be taught my weeds first, which really was very useful.

As a result of if you happen to take a look at weeds, you take a look at them because the species that may trigger issues in a grassland, you’ve got annuals, which present up principally within the first 12 months and the second 12 months as nicely. Then you’ve got biennials. Now we’re speaking about herbaceous crops, annuals and biennials. After which you’ve got perennial grasses, and you’ve got perennial rhizomatous grasses and perennial non-rhizomatous grasses. Then you’ve got perennial broadleaf weeds, and people are additionally divided into rhizomatous and non-rhizomatous, with the rhizomatous species being the actual drawback youngsters, these are those that creep in all places. Issues like Canada thistle and subject bindweed and horse nettle. These are actual, actual issues, and also you wish to get them out as quickly as you probably can. Crown vetch, oh, what a horrible plant.

Margaret: We’ve mugwort, and I do know your recommendation for mugwort.

Neil: Oh, mugwort is like, oh, good luck with that.

Margaret: Relocate. Relocate [laughter].

Neil: Yeah, relocate. Recalibrate, sure. It’s so tough after you have a longtime inhabitants of it.

Or what you are able to do is you’ll be able to kill all of it off. After which right here’s just a little trick. You probably have a long-term drawback with the seed financial institution, you’ll be able to kill every part off with whichever methodology you wish to use, whether or not it’s smothering or repeated tilling or herbicide or no matter, till there’s completely none of that perennial weed left and none across the edges the place it may well creep in. After which you’ll be able to put 3 inches of recent, clear, topsoil over that which is able to bury the weed seed financial institution, after which you’ll be able to seed or plant your crops into that recent soil, assuming that it doesn’t have some other problematic weeds. So this works on a small space, it’s not going to work on a bigger space.

However when you’ve got an issue web site with a longterm historical past of actually nasty, thuggish weeds, that is the way you overcome them, by utterly eliminating the weeds after which placing 3 inches of excellent, clear topsoil over that, that won’t have weed seeds. However if you happen to take a look at this, it’s essential know who you’re up in opposition to. So so far as pulling weeds within the first 12 months of a seeded prairie, you by no means pull weeds, as a result of whenever you pull the weeds, you undoubtedly, invariably carry up clumps of soil and there go your prairie seedlings with it. And also you would possibly as nicely go in there and spray it with Roundup. That’s why we hold every part mowed to six inches, as a result of few, if any of these prairie seedlings are going to develop greater than 6 inches within the first 12 months.

Within the second 12 months, if we now have drawback weeds with biennials like burdock, candy clovers, wild parsnip, plenty of these guys can actually be an issue. So proper after they end blooming, we minimize them all the way down to 12 inches, which then stops the seed formation course of.

Margaret: Proper, O.Ok.

Neil: And kills the crops excluding Queen Anne’s lace, which is an indeterminate bloomer and would require fixed reducing again of the flowers. Then within the third 12 months…

Margaret: I used to be going to say strategic relying on what plant you’re up in opposition to, you’ve got a method. Yeah.

Neil: Precisely. And that info is within the e book, “The Gardener’s Information to Prairie Crops.” It’s additionally on our web site. So there’s plenty of sources right here the place individuals can get to know these crops and what to do. However once more, you need to know who you’re up in opposition to and know strategically management them.

Margaret: Proper, perceive its life historical past and so forth. Yeah.

Neil: Yeah, precisely.

Margaret: So once we did the Instances story, we talked about how regardless that everybody just about coast to coast is aware of purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea, which by the way isn’t native coast to coast, however I even see it bought in catalogs promoting in California, for goodness sake. However there’s so many in every single place it appears [laughter]. However there’s so many nice prairie natives for the Japanese half or two-thirds of the nation, which is I assume roughly talking, plenty of them are your specialties, that folks don’t know but. And I believed it will be enjoyable to simply take a couple of minutes to name out so we don’t run out of time. Take a couple of minutes to name out some that you simply want you knew higher, as a result of it’s not simply purple coneflower and Rudbeckia, proper? [Above, hybrid coneflowers combining genetics of Echinacea purpurea and E. pallida.]

Neil: Proper. And persons are oriented towards the showy flowers. And let’s not overlook that the English had been planting purple coneflower within the nineteenth century, once we had been plowing up the prairies. In order that plant’s been fashionable for a very long time, simply not right here. However let’s take a look at another crops that maybe are just a little extra muted or are good companions for among the showier crops.

And I actually like plenty of the white-flowered crops, and white-flowered crops additionally significantly good for bees and parasitoid wasps, which assist to manage pests in your backyard. One among my favorites is Culver’s root, Veronicastrum virginicum [top of page]. It’s a stately, elegant plant. It’s about 5 toes tall. It has stunning whorled leaves up the stem and these pure white spires of flowers, completely beautiful plant, and it’ll develop in clay. It would develop in moist soil. It doesn’t like dry soil. It would develop in full solar, and it’ll develop partially shade. So it’s a fairly versatile plant, so long as you give it a great backyard soil or perhaps a barely damp soil.

One other nice plant is the rattlesnake grasp, Eryngium yuccifolium [below], attractive foliage, excellent flowers, which is able to bloom for a reasonably prolonged time period. Only a actually attention-grabbing, odd-looking plant, however it has actual character, and it blooms concurrently prairie blazingstar, Liatris pycnostachya. And you’ve got this lavender-white, fantastic pastel mixture.

That is the place the whites are so fantastic, and it’s attention-grabbing. Folks consider prairies, oh, it’s all filled with yellow flowers, however really there’s plenty of completely different colours. White is the second most typical shade of prairie flowers.

Margaret: I didn’t know that.

Neil: Yeah, it’s wonderful. And so rattlesnake grasp is also pollinated nearly completely by wasps, together with parasitic wasps. And I had a consumer who had horrible issues with tomato hornworm in his vegetable backyard. He planted a 1,000-square-foot prairie from us with a quarter-pound of prairie combine. And after the rattlesnake grasp began blooming, he stated, “I had no extra issues with tomato hornworms.”

And there’s a parasitic wasp that assaults the tomato hornworm by laying eggs on its again, which then burrow into the caterpillar, the caterpillar stage, and principally eats it from the within out and emerges like “Alien.” So the place do you assume they bought that concept for the film? From nature. So he says, “My prairie is my pesticide.” And so plenty of natural gardeners will use these crops to draw parasitic wasps to maintain, hopefully, in lots of instances, to maintain their pests down.

Margaret: And everyone knows… That’s one instance, and never simply with parasitic wasps, however the extra range, the extra layers of the meals chain are being supported, the extra assist there’s at each stage for any risk.

Neil: Oh, yeah. So true.

Margaret: Yeah. Meals and interventions each can be found.

Neil: So if you happen to plant a prairie combine with 20, 25, 30 species, you promote them, get one hundred pc. Mom nature’s fairly tough. However I imply, if you happen to get 70, 80 p.c of that and also you get a large range of flowers, you’re not simply feeding bugs, you’re additionally feeding birds as a result of they eat the bugs, and plenty of butterflies come. And naturally the bees, the wasps and all people.

And persons are so frightened of wasps, however most wasps, they don’t hassle you. The one wasps you actually have to fret about are yellow jackets. These are the one ones that may assault you in case you are not bothering them. Hornets received’t hassle you. Mud daubers received’t hassle you, cicada killers received’t hassle you except you hassle them. However the yellow jacket, they’d simply as quickly sting as take a look at you. However they often don’t come to the prairie as a result of they eat doughnuts and hamburgers and soda cans.

Margaret: They go to the mall [laughter].

Neil: They go to the picnic.

Margaret: They go to the mall.

Neil: That’s the place they go, they’re not coming to your prairie. So price, one other good selection are the mountain mints, genus Pycnanthemum. These are simply pollinator havens, and we couldn’t give these away 20 years in the past. Out of the blue, they’re tremendous fashionable due to the curiosity in pollinators. And so Pycnanthemum is within the mint household, and it’s wonderful at what number of completely different species it attracts.

Margaret: And there’s a number of completely different mountain mints, I believe. I don’t know what number of you carry.

Neil: There’s heaps. Pycnanthemum virginianum, Pycnanthemum tenuifolium, Pycnanthemum muticum [above]. All of those are actually good selections for attracting pollinators, and so they’re fairly adaptable species.

Margaret: One of many issues that folks ask me about quite a bit, and I believe we talked about perhaps one or two selections within the Instances story, individuals need issues which can be low to the bottom, like groundcover-ish issues, as a result of that was what, in fact, as gardeners, we had been all hooked on groundcovers, and there’s not as many selections perhaps, however there are some. I believe Antennaria, pussytoes is that one [below]?

Neil: That’s an amazing plant for a dry, sandy soil. You probably have a patio with sand in between the stones, it’ll develop in there. It stays actually low. It likes not less than a half a day of solar, however it stays very low. It has stunning silvery leaves.

And it really is dioecious: It has separate female and male crops. It’s arduous to inform the distinction except you stand up shut and private. However it sends up these little flower stalks about 4 inches tall and these stunning whitish-green leaves, and so they particularly have these little white hairs to mirror solar as a result of they develop in very dry environments, the place it’s simple to get overheated.

So it’ll develop in super-, super-difficult websites like sandy hillsides and locations like that, or alongside sidewalks, however it doesn’t like clay. So that you wish to have a very good-draining soil. However when you’ve got these spots which can be actual scorching spots, like up in opposition to the south aspect of a home that get simply burned up, it is a nice low-growing plant. And there’s another actually fantastic dry-tolerant prairie crops that attain taller heights as nicely for these sorts of troublesome conditions.

Margaret: The final one I wish to ask you about is there’s a petunia, however it’s not a petunia. It’s a Ruellia, I believe.

Neil: Yeah.

Margaret: Yeah. Is it a prairie petunia? Is that what it’s known as? What’s its widespread identify?

Neil: Prairie petunia, wild petunia, Ruellia humilis [above].

Margaret: Wild petunia, O.Ok.

Neil: Humilis: low-growing, humble, low-growing. This can be a actually stunning plant with only a violet flower. And it has a single faucet root, after which it simply spreads out. It sends out these branches alongside the floor of the soil. It doesn’t get greater than a pair toes tall, so it’s one other actually good groundcover-ish plant. It doesn’t creep and kind a floor cowl just like the pussytoes, the place it really creeps by rhizomes or the wild strawberry [Fragaria virginiana] is one other good one, which creeps by rhizomes and can develop in very tough soils, too, very dry soils. And the Ruellia can be tolerant of scorching, dry circumstances. So these are actually good selections in order for you some low-growing crops, particularly in powerful, scorching conditions.

Margaret: Nicely, I’ll embody some hyperlinks to a few of the tutorial stuff in your web site, as a result of as you stated in the beginning, training’s been a very essential a part of working with a product that folks didn’t actually, and nonetheless don’t totally, learn about, and are simply studying about. I at all times be taught quite a bit from you, Neil, even once I’m not at your home and also you’re not setting your entrance garden on hearth to terrify me [laughter].

Neil: Nicely, it’s been some time. Margaret. Subsequent spring it’s best to come, and we’ll do an anniversary prairie hearth.

Margaret: O.Ok. Extra trauma [laughter]. Nicely, thanks a lot. Thanks for making time in the present day.

Neil: It’s my pleasure, Margaret.

Margaret: Pull some extra invasives, I’m going to go do the identical. O.Ok.

Neil: All proper. It’s been fantastic. Thanks a lot.

(All images from Prairie Nursery, used with permission.)

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I’LL BUY A COPY of “The Gardener’s Information to Prairie Crops,” by Neil Diboll and Hilary Cox, for one fortunate reader. All you need to do to enter is reply this query within the feedback field under:

Have you ever added any native crops to your panorama in recent times? Inform us (and inform us the place you backyard).

No reply, or feeling shy? Simply say one thing like “rely me in” and I’ll, however a reply is even higher. I’ll choose a random winner after entries shut at midnight Tuesday, June 11, 2024. Good luck to all.

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MY WEEKLY public-radio present, rated a “top-5 backyard podcast” by “The Guardian” newspaper within the UK, started its fifteenth 12 months in March 2024. It’s produced at Robin Hood Radio, the smallest NPR station within the nation. Hear regionally within the Hudson Valley (NY)-Berkshires (MA)-Litchfield Hills (CT) Mondays at 8:30 AM Japanese, rerun at 8:30 Saturdays. Or play the June 3, 2024 present utilizing the participant close to the highest of this transcript. You possibly can subscribe to all future editions on iTunes/Apple Podcasts or Spotify (and browse my archive of podcasts right here).

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