December

 

1988 seeding

Charles Allen leads a group of students in the planting of the Cajun Prairie Restoration Project in Eunice in December 1988. Curtis Joubert, the Mayor of Eunice, and other dignitaries are present.

 

IMG_7129

IMG_7144

Two views of the Cajun Prairie Restoration Project in Eunice 26 years after its creation.

 

The year ends in the prairie, but it now time to think about creating prairie.

IMG_7188

Switchgrass in the Cajun Prairie Gardens. It looks dead and will burn with a flash, but its underground parts are alive and well and may extend as much as 10 feet into the earth.

 

IMG_6959

The gardens enter the dead of winter.

 

IMG_0048

With each passing week, the life juices of the plants move underground or into their seed. The aboveground stubble will disappear in moments under the flames of a cleansing fire.

 

The last blooms are appearing. But the prairie remains very much alive. Since more than 2/3s of the biomass of the plants in the prairie are underground and perennial, they will survive the winter and burst into growth in the spring. I like to describe the prairie as an upside down forest, since the massive parts of the plants are underground. The roots and stems that live underground host a myriad of associates, namely fungi, bacteria, protists and insects. Much of this underground biome is unknown and greatly underappreciated. Many species new to science are hidden among the roots of these plants. Recent research has shown that the soil contains a biotic community with a highly diverse chemistry that includes the precursors for many much needed drugs. The soil itself has an economic story as it is the matrix into which we plant seeds of our numerous cash crops that draw from its resources to produce food and other products. The soil provides us with our daily diet. Our lack of understanding of its role is one of our most important perils. Recreating prairie means recreating soil as it is the prairie plants and their associates that make the soil. Seeing bare ground for a few days after the winter burns reminds me of the importance of the soil–an ecosystem hidden all year long by the beauty of our wild gardens.

 

dec 88 south fenton seed collecting

High school students picking seed for the 1988 planting.

 

 

Mayor Curtis Joubert 1988 seeding

The Mayor, Curtis Joubert, hurls the first handful of seeds into the Cajun Prairie Restoration Project in Eunice in December 1988.

 

What was blooming in the Cajun Prairie Gardens on December 1, 2015?

 

  1. Nothoscordum bivalve
  2. Conoclinium coelestinum
  3. Salvia azurea
  4. Pycnanthemum albescens
  5. Agalinis spp.
  6. Symphyotrichum praealtum
  7. Baccharis halimifolia
  8. Pityopsis graminifolia

Powerpoint for Milkweeds and Monarchs

030216 Alexandria030216 Alexandria

Posted by M. F. Vidrine 022316 (malcolmvidrine@yahoo.com)

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s