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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Prairie Seeds

Phyllis Root's latest book - Plant a Pocket of Prairie - opens with words of reminiscence: "Once prairie stretched for thousands of ocean of flowers and grasses, a sea of sky..." The book's lyrical text encourages readers to imagine who and what might come if even a pocket of prairie was planted. Plant things like foxglove beardtongue, butterfly weed, rough blazing star, asters, purple coneflowers, goldenrod, cup plants, big bluestem and Indian grasses, and numerous others. Birds like the ruby-throated hummingbird, chickadee, and dickcissel might come to nest. Monarchs, swallowtails, great spangled fritillaries, and checkerspot butterflies might flit amongst the blooms and grasses. One plant or being attracts others, widening the prairie's reach. Betsy Bowen's block prints and watercolors complement the words with lovely colors, often extending the story beyond the text.

Those prairies (which covered about 40% of the United States) have been transformed into farms and towns and citified, reducing their coverage to a mere one percent of the land. The author's note offers ideas for planting pockets of prairies wherever there is soil...a windowbox, a backyard plot. All the flora and fauna mentioned in the text are explained in greater detail at the end of the book. I plan to scatter my own seeds!


  1. The litany of flowers and birds is poetry itself. Sounds like a wonderful book and a boon for the bees.

  2. Scatter seeds, like Johnny & Miss Rumphius.the lupines in my little prairie out back have gone to seed pods now...Soon I think they will start to scatter themselves...