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

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

Simply ask at the moment’s visitor, Neil Diboll, who has operated Prairie Nursery in Wisconsin for 42 years, since lengthy earlier than phrases like “pollinator backyard” have been modern. He’ll share a few of his favourite species you might 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 example.

Neil has been president and consulting ecologist for Prairie Nursery in Westfield, Wisc., since 1982. Final yr, in collaboration with backyard designer and horticulturist Hilary Cox, he printed “The Gardener’s Information to Prairie Vegetation” (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 beneath. You’ll be able to 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 like the e book, Neil; it’s so severe, but additionally accessible. I don’t know should you may 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 referred to as “The Pure Habitat Backyard” with Ken Druse, and we came around you and study all issues prairie from you. And again then, natives, you jogged my memory once we labored on the current Instances piece, have been extra more likely to be thought of weeds than modern [laughter]. Sure?

Neil: Oh, sure, sure. Let’s simply say we have been somewhat forward of the curve on this. So there was some fairly laborious years making an attempt to persuade individuals to make use of natives once they weren’t accustomed to figuring out something about them.

Margaret: Yeah, we’ve come a good distance, nevertheless it feels someway to me—I assume as a result of I get numerous reader and listener questions—it feels to me like within the mainstream horticulture market, the analysis and growth and advertising efforts have been actually to invent flashy new types of natives and promote, promote, promote them possibly greater than to teach the shoppers. And I do know you suppose training is likely one of the most essential components, and I completely agree, listening to what individuals are confounded by.

Neil: Yeah, training is super-important, particularly when 40 years in the past we had a product that no one 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, you want to be sure that 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 slightly than recreating nature in our personal picture, if you’ll, we’re utilizing nature’s ideas to create a mannequin of nature. So slightly than a homocentric backyard, it’s a extra of a nature-centric mannequin. And that basically helps to tell gardeners so far as methods to use these crops and methods to 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, knowledgeable 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 primarily in the identical place that they was [laughter]. what I imply? We knew methods to handle them, we knew what they wanted. We knew when to chop them again. We sort of knew the routine. They have been the acquainted palette. And these are usually not 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 totally different mindset. So I get numerous questions from people who find themselves thrown off by, effectively, how do I make this all work? It’s somewhat complicated.

Neil: And it helps to know your crops, and lots of gardeners know their crops phenomenally effectively, however they’re simply totally different crops. And so what we’re seeing now could be that severe gardeners are attending to know native crops and making use of ecological ideas in how they design with them, how they handle them, and so forth.

Particularly past simply using the crops as one thing aesthetic for human beings, however slightly 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 slightly than spraying the whole lot 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 type the muse of the meals chain that feed the whole lot up, they’re going to eat my crops, and that’s why half the explanation why these crops are there, not only for me, however for all of us.

Margaret: Proper. Perfectionism will not be the objective [laughter]. And a static image, as I stated, I’ve hostas they usually’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 primarily, they’re larger, however they’re nonetheless there. However with let’s say… and possibly we must always inform the distinction between what’s a meadow versus a prairie planting as a result of that’s kind 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 seen as a extra cool-season grass, with grasses that come up early in spring, with numerous wildflowers which are extra predominant within the Jap a part of the US, often a decrease profile. And a prairie is absolutely 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 after all is the French phrase for meadow. However if you take a look at the best way 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 usually a taller plant neighborhood and typical of the Midwest slightly 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 numerous Easterners they usually say, meadow, “I’ve a brand new meadow backyard or no matter.” “I’m managing my meadow.” And within the third yr, 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 neighborhood that they thought was going to remain static, keep like a postcard picture without end, and it’s evolving, proper? So uh-oh, succession [laughter].

Neil: Precisely, yeah. And let’s take a look at the 2 alternative ways you need to use these crops. You’ll be able to create a prairie backyard with transplants, the place you may choose long-lived crops if you would like it to be extra static. And that’s why in our e book, we listed flowers expectations. We don’t have any annuals in there, however we now have a number of biennials, after all, 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 stay 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 if 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. what I imply? That’s a keeper that’s staying round. It settles down, and it’s there.

Neil: Properly, I believe that is actually essential for gardeners, so that they know what they’re getting. As you level out, what occurred to my Rudbeckia hirta? Properly, 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 yr, and it would hold on for one more couple of years, however by the fifth or sixth yr, it’s just about gone due to, as you identified, ecological succession.

And that is actually essential for individuals to know ecological succession, whereby if you seed onto open floor, often the primary yr it’s all weeds, which you didn’t plant. They’re simply dormant seeds within the soil, and also you management them by retaining the whole lot mowed again, often to about 6 inches within the first rising season.

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

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

So it’s sort of disappointing generally if you see a few of your favourite crops possibly 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 sort of set succession again and maintain what we name gap-phase succession the place you’ve got open soil the place a few of these different species that might be shorter-lived, can recede and proceed to keep up as a lot variety as potential. So burning is absolutely 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 should you arrange your panorama accurately. And it’s actually numerous enjoyable as you realize.

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

Properly, I like that you simply stated that we may use a few of these crops as kind of specimens. Let’s imagine, “I’m going to make a mattress of those prairie crops, not a neighborhood.” So we may try 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 if you use seeds, it’s going to be an evolutionary course of. However after all, we wish to have these early-successional, mid-successional species. So we now have curiosity in yr 3, 5, 7, 10, 15, 20, and on, nevertheless it sort of reaches extra of a stasis after about 15 years or so. But it surely’s not dangerous. You continue to have a lot of flowers and exquisite grasses, so there’s just a few species that will fall by the wayside over an prolonged time frame.

Margaret: And also you simply stated grasses. And that’s an essential element as a result of simply selecting a complete lot of flowers, numerous forbs, will not be going to do it, will not be going to carry all of it collectively and create that neighborhood, as a result of these have been crops which are 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 that have tried to plant simply wildflowers. And it may be carried out, nevertheless it’s somewhat trickier for quite a lot of 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 significantly cut back that hazard by having enough amount of grass in your meadow or backyard. In order that they’re actually sort of your weeders. Like I say, make the crops do the give you the results you want. 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 potential.

And in addition, should you’re going to burn a prairie, flower sticks, outdated flower sticks don’t burn. You want what we name fantastic gas—grass—with the intention to carry a hearth. So should you don’t have grass in your prairie, it principally received’t burn. And you then lose that nice administration choice for retaining it very contemporary and new and looking out good and retaining out weeds and bushes and shrubs, as a result of fireplace is absolutely the easiest way to maintain out invaders, most invaders. And individuals are scared of fireplace. Properly, really on our web site, I’ve an article below assets and guides, it’s referred to as “Learn how to Burn Your Prairie Safely,” and there’s so many recommendations on how to do that.

So I imply, it’s nearly not possible to lose it should you do it proper. And one actually easy trick is simply earlier than you burn it, simply lower the whole lot down and all of the gas is on the bottom. As an alternative of getting large 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 best way, outdoors my window—although I’ve closed the window, the home wren is insistent on being on this program at the moment, so you may hear him screaming.

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

Margaret: [Laughter.] Just a little bossy creature. Yeah. So we have been speaking about making this dwelling mulch in a way by having the element of grasses with the wildflowers, the forbs, and that it makes it extra weed-resistant. The opposite query I get requested so much 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 house within the soil? Ought to I pull them out and attempt to do the least opening of soil potential or put one thing on it, like a bit of cardboard or no matter? Is there any weeding recommendation in any respect for these sort of communities?

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

Margaret: Perhaps, yeah.

Neil: O.Okay. Properly, should you take a look at it, it’s a must to take a look at it strategically, and you want to know your weeds. The truth is, once I first began doing this again in 1977, I used to be taking a look at plantings that somebody had carried out on the college the place I went to high school, and it was a really new planting so all I discovered have been weeds. So I needed to study my weeds first, which really was very helpful.

As a result of should you take a look at weeds, you take a look at them because the species that can trigger issues in a grassland, you’ve got annuals, which present up principally within the first yr and the second yr as effectively. 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 every single place. 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 now have 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 troublesome after you have a longtime inhabitants of it.

Or what you are able to do is you may kill all of it off. After which right here’s somewhat trick. When you’ve got a long-term drawback with the seed financial institution, you may kill the whole lot off with whichever technique 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 could creep in. After which you may put 3 inches of contemporary, clear, topsoil over that which is able to bury the weed seed financial institution, after which you may seed or plant your crops into that contemporary soil, assuming that it doesn’t have another 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 fully eliminating the weeds after which placing 3 inches of fine, clear topsoil over that, that won’t have weed seeds. However should you take a look at this, you want to know who you’re up in opposition to. So so far as pulling weeds within the first yr of a seeded prairie, you by no means pull weeds, as a result of if you pull the weeds, you undoubtedly, invariably deliver up clumps of soil and there go your prairie seedlings with it. And also you may as effectively go in there and spray it with Roundup. That’s why we maintain the whole lot 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 yr.

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

Margaret: Proper, O.Okay.

Neil: And kills the crops except for Queen Anne’s lace, which is an indeterminate bloomer and would require fixed chopping again of the flowers. Then within the third yr…

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

Neil: Precisely. And that data is within the e book, “The Gardener’s Information to Prairie Vegetation.” It’s additionally on our web site. So there’s a lot of assets right here the place individuals can get to know these crops and what to do. However once more, it’s a must to know who you’re up in opposition to and know methods to 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 although 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 offered in catalogs promoting in California, for goodness sake. However there’s so many in all places it appears [laughter]. However there’s so many nice prairie natives for the Jap half or two-thirds of the nation, which is I assume roughly talking, numerous them are your specialties, that folks don’t know but. And I believed it could 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 individuals are oriented towards the showy flowers. And let’s not neglect that the English have been planting purple coneflower within the nineteenth century, once we have been plowing up the prairies. In order that plant’s been well-liked for a very long time, simply not right here. However let’s take a look at another crops that maybe are somewhat extra muted or are good companions for a number of the showier crops.

And I actually like numerous the white-flowered crops, and white-flowered crops additionally significantly good for bees and parasitoid wasps, which assist to regulate pests in your backyard. One in all 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 lovely whorled leaves up the stem and these pure white spires of flowers, completely beautiful plant, and it’ll develop in clay. It’s going to develop in moist soil. It doesn’t like dry soil. It’s going to develop in full solar, and it’ll develop partially shade. So it’s a reasonably versatile plant, so long as you give it an excellent 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 frame. Only a actually attention-grabbing, odd-looking plant, nevertheless it has actual character, and it blooms concurrently prairie blazingstar, Liatris pycnostachya. And you’ve got this lavender-white, great pastel mixture.

That is the place the whites are so great, and it’s attention-grabbing. Folks consider prairies, oh, it’s all stuffed with yellow flowers, however really there’s a lot of totally different colours. White is the second most typical colour of prairie flowers.

Margaret: I didn’t know that.

Neil: Yeah, it’s superb. And so rattlesnake grasp is also pollinated nearly solely by wasps, together with parasitic wasps. And I had a shopper 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 suppose they received that concept for the film? From nature. So he says, “My prairie is my pesticide.” And so numerous 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 variety, the extra layers of the meals chain are being supported, the extra assist there may be at each stage for any chance.

Neil: Oh, yeah. So true.

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

Neil: So should you plant a prairie combine with 20, 25, 30 species, you promote them, get 100%. Mom nature’s fairly tough. However I imply, should you get 70, 80 % of that and also you get a large variety 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 everyone.

And individuals 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 can 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 until 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 fee, 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. Immediately, they’re tremendous well-liked due to the curiosity in pollinators. And so Pycnanthemum is within the mint household, and it’s superb at what number of totally different species it attracts.

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

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

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

Neil: That’s an excellent plant for a dry, sandy soil. When you’ve got a patio with sand in between the stones, it’ll develop in there. It stays actually low. It likes no less than a half a day of solar, nevertheless it stays very low. It has lovely silvery leaves.

And it really is dioecious: It has separate female and male crops. It’s laborious to inform the distinction until you rise up shut and private. But it surely sends up these little flower stalks about 4 inches tall and these lovely whitish-green leaves, they usually 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, nevertheless it doesn’t like clay. So that you wish to have a very good-draining soil. However when you’ve got these spots which are actual scorching spots, like up in opposition to the south facet of a home that get simply burned up, it is a nice low-growing plant. And there’s another actually great dry-tolerant prairie crops that attain taller heights as effectively for these sorts of troublesome conditions.

Margaret: The final one I wish to ask you about is there’s a petunia, nevertheless 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 referred to as? What’s its widespread title?

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

Margaret: Wild petunia, O.Okay.

Neil: Humilis: low-growing, humble, low-growing. It is a actually lovely 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 type 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 troublesome soils, too, very dry soils. And the Ruellia can be tolerant of scorching, dry situations. So these are actually good selections if you would like some low-growing crops, particularly in powerful, scorching conditions.

Margaret: Properly, I’ll embrace some hyperlinks to a few of the tutorial stuff in your web site, as a result of as you stated firstly, training’s been a very essential a part of working with a product that folks didn’t actually, and nonetheless don’t totally, find out about, and are simply studying about. I at all times study so much from you, Neil, even once I’m not at your home and also you’re not setting your entrance garden on fireplace to terrify me [laughter].

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

Margaret: O.Okay. Extra trauma [laughter]. Properly, thanks a lot. Thanks for making time at the moment.

Neil: It’s my pleasure, Margaret.

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

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

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

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

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

No reply, or feeling shy? Simply say one thing like “depend me in” and I’ll, however a reply is even higher. I’ll decide 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 yr in March 2024. It’s produced at Robin Hood Radio, the smallest NPR station within the nation. Pay attention domestically within the Hudson Valley (NY)-Berkshires (MA)-Litchfield Hills (CT) Mondays at 8:30 AM Jap, rerun at 8:30 Saturdays. Or play the June 3, 2024 present utilizing the participant close to the highest of this transcript. You’ll be able to subscribe to all future editions on iTunes/Apple Podcasts or Spotify (and browse my archive of podcasts right here).

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