Why I Love My Prairie Garden

by Nicole Paull

No other garden I’ve known has given so much for so little.

Today, the smooth penstemon is in full regalia, the flower-decked stems curtsying to every passing breeze. Given just a little more coaxing, the rest of the garden sways and ripples hypnotically. The yellow coneflower and sweet joe-pye weed are heavy with buds, the monarda soon will be (therafter to be guarded ardently by the local hummingbirds). I await the show the cupplant will treat me to: the saw-toothed leaves are a dramatic focal point in themselves but will soon be eclipsed by flower stalks that may stretch eight feet tall.

For no small time today, I watched a little song sparrow perch on the fence over my little square of prairie, his speckled throat pulsing impressively as he warbled forth his claim to all would-be intruders, “This land is my land!” I wonder where his lady-love is. Puffed up broodily over a clutch of eggs, nascent with life? In one of the trio of yellowwood trees by the driveway, maybe; he’s in and out of there a lot, too.

This is a garden abuzz with bees and dancing with butterflies, home to a swelling chorus of crickets that greet the evening. What birds will come to feast on seeds as the light grows long and the asters and goldenrod reign supreme? This is a garden bursting with life in all its moods and seasons.

And all for a little cossetting in its babyhood and an annual mowing…

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