Browsing Archives for Grounds

The Harvest Moon Cone-flower is absolutely my favorite perennial.  


That’s the one.

No doubt about it.

Now what should we talk about?



Did I say the Harvest Moon Cone-flower?  

What I meant to say was the Purple Cone-flower.  

The same one that Hal used to make his tincture.






It’s Russian sage!  

It’s Russian Sage!  

Gosh I’m spacey today!

Russian Sage is my absolute favorite perennial.




Except for the Purple Cone-flower.

Did I say this one before?





What I meant to say was Purple Gay Feather.


Because of the name and also…



The way it seems to glow when the sun catches the spiky leaves.  

Can you see the glow?

Can you see it?

You are just going to have to trust me… 

It glows.

And it’s my favorite…





How can lavender not be my favorite?!?

I love lavender!

With all my heart!



But what about the humble Valerian?

Such a sweet flower.

And if you know what you are doing, you can turn this plant into a sleep aid.

Maybe I can get Hal to teach me how sometime…




Be still my heart.

I do love Bee Balm.  

I do.

It might really be my very favorite of all the perennials.

That funky bright red bloom just really gets to me.



Did I mention the Purple Cone-flower yet?   

It is certainly winning the ‘most photogenic’ award today.

I love coneflowers.

And they really are my favorite.


They are all my favorites.




Perrenials take time… they take patience… they tend to come on slowly… but once they are established, they thrive under benign neglect.

Maybe that’s why perennials are my favorite of all the plants…

I raise them the same way I raise my kids.

Long ago in the days of yore….

As pink and purple dusk woman shot magenta rays across the little water.

In the season of bone baking fire time…

Only the most skilled and brave men would be sent forth to load their sailing vessels with the sacred crop of algae.

So that the tribe could feed itself… and make clothes… and build the simple tent like structures… woven from the sacred algae threads.

The hearty and brave men placed themselves in great peril to get the sacred algae, but they all loved to suffer so much that it was almost fun for them.

Deeper and deeper into the murky depths they ventured, carefully avoiding the snapping turtles and the water snakes…

Neighboring tribes had long ago abandoned the algae harvest.

They had begun to sprinkle the mystical powders and to use the magic enzymes to keep the algae from forming.

They had forgotten the ancient rhythms of olde.

And so the last lone tribesman worked on and on… as mother sun descended to her cave of night… and father moon rose to his lofty perch… the tribesman trusted to the wisdom of the song frogs to guide him.

Neck deep he continued… scooping algae…. loading algae….
He mused quietly that the more he scooped… the more there seemed to be.

It was as if the algae muse was granting him a blessing of an unending algae tide.
He drew the algae vapors into his nostrils and felt complete.

Night descended. The tribe slept. The algae drifted and multiplied and the tribesman drug his heavily laden boat up on the shore. His shoes squished with the mud of his ancestors. He dug his hand into his mountain of algae and raised it to the sky in triumph and felt vast relief knowing his tribe would eat, and be clothed and be sheltered for the algae harvest had been bountiful.

Dripping water and mud he wandered back into his hut.

Tomorrow they would feast, and weave and build.

But tonight he must rest.
He shut his eyes and slept the sleep of the deeply satisfied.
Contest one post down – ends tonight at 7PM CST

Our town is nestled in at the northern edge of the Flint Hills, one of the last places on earth where Native Tallgrass can still be found covering the prairie in huge quantities.  There are several Tallgrass preserves in our area, and the Country Doctor and I love to take the kids to the Konza outside of Manhattan and the National Tallgrass Preserve near Cottonwood Falls for hikes.  We both love the wide open, wind swept, ocean of grass that is the Flint Hills.   (For great pictures, click the Flint Hills link.)




We have long wanted plant our own little patch of tallgrass on the further reaches of our yard.  

This Spring, we finally got the seed in the ground.  




Besides finding the time, our only other obstacle was deciding how to best plant the seed.

 The task was somewhat daunting as everyone we talked to gave us a different set of complicated directions.  






“You are going to have to kill all the existing grass with Round-up, before you plant anything…”

“You gotta get yourself a disk, plow up the ground, and then you can plant the seed…”

“First you need to plant a cover crop of milo…. then plow it in and the next year you can plant tall grass…”

“Get a boom truck… spray all the existing grass with Round-Up… plant clover…. wait six years and then spray Round-Up again.”


The suggestions and recommendations went on and on and on.  The Country Doctor almost gave up on the idea as he just doesn’t have time to follow all those steps and he didn’t know which way was the right way to go.   I absolutely insisted that we would not be spraying mass quantities on Round-Up on our land.  We have fish in the pond and plants that I don’t want to die and a neighborhood full of kids… I just don’t like putting poison on the ground for any reason.





Finally, I said, “Honey?… when God planted the tall grass prairie did He use Round-Up?  Did He plant a cover crop of milo first?  Did God get a boom truck?  Good Grief!  Sometimes we just need to have a little faith in the laws of nature!  You put a seed in the ground, cover it with dirt, pray for rain, and usually something will come up.”



And that’s how I ended up sitting on the tractor.







Which the Country Doctor has to start for me because you can’t just turn the key… oh no… you have to pull this knob, flip this switch, push this button, turn around and bow to the East, pump the throttle, jimmy the clutch, jiggle the handle, yank the hydraulic, and then you turn the key…at which point nothing happens… so you start all over … except this time you bow to the West as you aren’t quite sure which benevolent force you have to please before the tractor will start… go through the whole process again… and finally you realize that you are in park… or have the mower engaged… or are out of gas…

It takes about three hours to start the tractor.





And another three hours to get the planter that you borrowed from the USDA to work.







But we did finally get that seed in the ground. My best guess is that some of it will wither in the ground… and some of it will get choked out by the brome and the weeds… but some of it is going to sprout and grow, and thrive.  Just like in the Bible… except back then…


…they got the boom truck first.