Thursday, June 3, 2010

Prairie Tall Grass Flowering Garden

A prairie is a region of flat, gently sloping, or hilly land covered chiefly by tall grasses and not many trees. Pioneers who first saw the flat prairies of the American Middle West called them a 'sea of grass.'

Prairies, also called grasslands, are one of the main types of natural vegetation or biomes (Others include forest, desert shrub, and tundra). Prairies are areas where either low total annual rainfall (10-20 inches) or uneven seasonal rainfall favor grasses and herbaceous plants over the growth of trees. In some locales, soil conditions or geology also favor grasslands over other types of vegetation. Therefore, most prairies lie between desert shrub and forest lands. Prairies are found on every continent except Antarctica.

Prairie plants are easy to grow among nature’s most spectacular flowers, producing waist high blooms of brilliant yellow, flaming crimson and soft lavender. Because of their extensive root systems, prairie plants can be the answer to problem garden spots. Once established, they require little maintenance.

Most prairie grasses and forbs are adapted to drought, fire, and grazing. They are perennials that grow back every year and have their growing points underground. During a prairie fire, the above-ground portion of the plant is destroyed, but the below ground growing structures are unharmed because the soil protects the underground structures.

In recent years, however, interest in prairies has soared, since people realized the beauty of native grasses and wildflowers. Much of the charm and appeal of prairies comes from wildflowers, such as coneflowers, prairie phlox, false indigo, and orchids. The great beauty of prairie wildflowers and grasses has prompted many people to create prairie gardens in their landscapes.

The prairie blazingstar is one of the most beautiful flowers on the tall grass prairie. It has magenta colored flowers arranged along a spike at the top of a long stalk up to 5 feet high. Many kinds of butterflies are attracted to this flower. Sweet coneflower can grow to height of 6 feet if planted in moist soil. The purple coneflower is used by many people in their gardens at home. It has the orange colored large cone. This is the part of the flower which produces seeds after the purple petals fall off. Birds like goldfinches love to eat these seeds.