While on a walk with my dogs, Mariah and Prancer, last week, I saw this lovely moss under the trees. It is prolific this year, probably because of all the summer rain. I also noticed that the native grasses were going to seed and showing off. What struck me was the architecture of each seed head. I thought I would share some of these with you. This is Little Bluestem. I am not a native grass expert, but after this walk, I wish I were. I thought about my grandmother, Edith Juanita, and how she knew all the names of common plants. She was raised in Kiowa, Oklahoma, and learned them as a child. She taught me many things like how to grow killer tomatoes and how to cook poke sallet in the spring (in order to cleanse the blood, she said,) but I wish I’d asked more questions before she passed.
I was curious about some of the other grasses I found like this one. I tried to capture the graceful seed heads, which swung in the breeze, with my camera, but I’m afraid I didn’t. However, you can see an ever present redcedar behind them. Hint: Santa, Baby, please stuff my stocking with a new camera for Christmas.
Since I don’t have Grandma Nita as a reference anymore, I first consulted the internet for identification. I am truly grateful for the internet and the ability to gather information, but this time, I struck out. Most photographs were of Big Bluestem and Little Bluestem, with some Indiangrass mixed in. Being a compulsive reader, I then went to Amazon and bought two books that I thought would be helpful. They came this week. Tallgrass Prairie Wildflowers, A Field Guide to Common Wildflowers and Plants of the Prairie Midwest, by Doug Ladd and Frank Oberle was somewhat helpful, and I do like the color pictures and chapter divisions by flower color. The section on grasses, sedges and rushes is colored gold, for example. The closest grass I found to mine is Prairie Brome, although I’m still not sure that this is correct. I then looked at Common Texas Grasses, an Illustrated Guide, by Frank W. Gould. I’m not as fond of the illustrations, which are in pen and ink, but I do like the detailed explanations beginning with the common name, followed by the Latin. If anyone knows the name of this little grass, please let me know, and I’ll update this post.
Inspired by what I saw in the landscape, Bear and I cleared out a section of the lower garden and planted a package of wildflower seed that a friend bought for my birthday. The package stated that they could be planted in spring or fall. I’ll be interested to see what comes up in the spring, and I’ll post a report then. In the meantime, if you’re interested in having your own small wildflower meadow, you can find the seed at Wildflower Company. They have different mixtures for different parts of the country.