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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Plants 101

Today was my 2nd class about "Plants"; the topic was about plant communities and we walked through the prairie restoration area of the Arboretum.

We talked about the ecosystems such as prairies, savannahs, bogs, etc; we talked about the link between plants, animals, and insects. Our reading material and the class in general really stressed how we, as gardeners, have to be sensitive to plant communities and the links between what we create and our surrounding environment. I was inspired by the environmental standpoint of the class, as opposed to "let's plant a pretty garden" frou frou.

Our walk in the prairie was rejuvenating, the tall grasses were almost as tall as we were and it felt like swimming in a sea of yellow. We identified wild sumac, compass plant, prairie clover, baptisia, leadwort, prairie dropseed (which I have in my yard), and big bluestem. I learned that most of the plants in this prairie were taken from settler cemeteries and along railroads in the country, and that without this we would have no idea what our prairie would look like because it is one of the most endangered ecosystems in the country.

2 comments:

Annie in Austin said...

Hi Rosemarie,

Not only does the class sound very cool - you get to take it at the wonderful Morton Arboretum! Just the drive in ought to be spectacular as the leaves turn.

The horticultural Latin stuff is fun, isn't it!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Benjamin Vogt said...

Aldo Leopold talks about that phenomenon of finding old prairie plants in cemetaries in WI (Sand County Almanac). It's sad, but I had no idea how extensive the problem was. Thanks!