Thursday, June 17, 2010

On The Tallgrass with A Tallgrass Journal

 Prairie Coreopsis and Prairie Phlox
(Coreopsis palmata and Phlox pilosa
(click on all images for a larger view)

If you have been a subscriber to "A Tallgrass Journal" you certainly noticed the past year's hiatus I've taken from the journal.  After long deliberation I've decided I can no longer support the lengthy time spent making even a quarterly journal work.  I carried it for 7 years but have made the decision to change it's format to a blog.

I hope you can still find some good reading, information or even a diversion following the occasional posts from the new "A Tallgrass Journal".

I'll still discuss a good "read" I come across; an informative and useful link or website that could be valuable to prairie enthusiasts or owners; and even interject the struggles here at Prairie Hill Farm's prairie.

There are no goals for set time frequency for the new "A Tallgrass Journal" blog.  I hope to use it with regular frequency, but the postings will be typical blog length and likely limited to one or two issues/observations/etc at a time.  I hope this will be more spontaneous and interesting for prairie folk and the uninitiated as well!

I hope you'll stay with A Tallgrass Journal and drop in from time to time - and even comment!  Blogs are perfect for injecting a point of view or to correct me if I need to be!  :)

When I think of the prairie I think of grasses, forbs (wildflowers), birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates (insects).  As an artist, I work on what interests and inspires me...that's what anyone should do.  The tallgrass prairie interests me.

In my 3 year old blog "Prairie Hill Farm Studio" you'll often see artwork...paintings, drawings, and photographs with the prairie as the subject matter...why wouldn't I be inspired by it?! :)  I'll still illustrate this "A Tallgrass Journal" blog with photographs I take in the field or the remnant pasture here, and even occasionally with drawings or other artwork to illustrate a topic.  And unlike the web based journal of past years, you'll be able to click on the images for a larger view.  I'll make an effort to give a relatively good size image file to view, yet not so large as to make you have to scan back and forth too much on your screen.

Today I wanted to share a couple cool season natives we have here in our north pasture remnant...yesterday morning was my first opportunity in 2-3 weeks to get out and walk the prairie myself!  The morning was perfect for the camera...barely a breath of wind makes photographing grasses and forbs simply a pleasure!  

Porcupine grass (Stipa spartea)

A couple grasses in our remnant pasture are flowering and fruiting nearly the same time - one is Porcupine grass (Stipa spartea)...the other is Scribner's panic grass (Panicum oligosanthes).

Georgie and I started the Porcupine grass here ourselves and it couldn't have been easier.  We simply walked the roadside ditch just south of us and picked the "awls" when they began to start releasing in late June.  Planting this grass is as simple as sticking the needles into the ground...maybe a half inch or more...the awls will take care of the rest.  They twist and turn the seed into the ground the rest of the way as they dry.  Try putting some in an envelope right after you pick them and then look at them a few hours later...they will demonstrate their ability to twist them selves into the soil on their own!

   Scribner's panic grass (Panicum oligosanthes)

The Scribner's panic grass is localized in a small area on our north pasture.  We have another type of panic grass here too but the Scribner's seems to be more numerous at some higher quality prairies - which makes it more special to our site.  I did not find this grass here until our 2nd or 3rd year here.  I'm going to try and ensure it gets some space and do some manual seed spreading to see if it becomes more plentiful in future years.

On my "studio" blog I recommend people look closely at the grasses - I certainly find them inspiring!  In the mean time I'd just suggest - stop and take a real close look, even touch or step back and admire as well...there's a lot to see on the prairie.

Hope to see you back again when you're out on the Tallgrass!



  1. Nice job Bruce-keep up the great work and thanks for sharing!

  2. Thank you Mike; see you on the Tallgrass! :)