Troutbirder II

Troutbirder II
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Monday, August 31, 2015

Two Prairies

I have mostly shady gardens now that we built a new house in the woods on "Oak Hill." I love our native prairies though and visit them often. Two of my favorites are Hayden Prairie in Iowa and and my friend Gary's restored prairie near Forestville State Park here in southeastern Minnesota.
He bought a 30+ acre farmstead which partially consisted of some untillable land covered by burdock and other weeds. An acre at a time, he has begun to remove the weeds and restore the land to natural prairie. In each season the prairie now does it's thing with native grasses and flowers adding color to the landscape. Late summer and fall it is at its peak although spring and early summer have their moments as well. Here is what I saw the last week in July several years ago.

The cup plant is one of many types of sunflowers found here. Several grow six feet or taller. It holds rainwater in the small "cup" formed by the intersection of it's basal leaves. A little water might come in handy...

The compass plant is another member of the sunflower family. It's unusual name derives from the fact that it bottom leaves orient themselves in a north south direction. Get lost on the prairie and you've got help!

With Bergamont (Monarda) everywhere one is sure to see many butterflies. As with many wildflowers, domesticated and hybridized descendents can be found in many gardens, but the native plants have their special charm.

Grasses bind things together with Blue Stem reminding us of the tall grass prairie that flourished here before the arrival of the plow.
Hayden Prairie is located in northeastern Iowa about 5 miles due east of Lime Springs. It has reportedly never been plowed. Consisting of over 300 acres, it is a place where one can wander about almost sure to find some interesting surprises.

Hayden Prairie near Chester Iowa on the Minnesota - Iowa border/

Blazing Star

Canada Tick Trefoil


Rattlesnake Master

Swamp Milkweed

Common Yellowthroat  Warbler

Mrs. T. - The Wildflower Paparazzi.



  1. What a beautiful place! Thank you for sharing your pictures. I especially like that paparazzi in the last shot. :-)

  2. LOL, love that last photo.

    Goldenrod is one of my very favorites.
    Beautiful place indeed!

  3. You have to slow down a lot to catch prairie beauty. Congratulations and thanks for pointing out some of the wonderful details.

  4. Nice! I really like that compass flower.

  5. This is really lovely. so wild and natural. I'm interested in the name Rattlesnake Master, what's the origin of this name? Does it make a noise like a rattlesnake?

  6. Oh yes, the last picture is brilliant. Wish I was there right now.

  7. The wildflowers don't seem to mind the paparazzi at all ! I think it is Mrs. T's quiet approach.

  8. The prairie is so pretty in late summer.

  9. Gorgeous. What a wonderful place to roam.

  10. Just breathtaking. Such a vast expanse.