A Prairie for Us
We're planting a Piedmont prairie of our own. This summer, we posted about Sarah P. Duke Gardens planting one, so find out what it's all about.Read Post
At the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, they’re growing a Piedmont prairie, and we helped.
Both the gardens and our nursery lie in the Southern Piedmont. This region once hosted thousands of acres of prairie dominated by drought-tolerant grasses and wildflowers with a scattering of trees and shrubs. These Piedmont prairies, like many other ecosystems, are rapidly disappearing. Only a few remnant prairies remain.
Envisioning a Prairie
Stefan Bloodworth, curator of the H. L. Blomquist Garden, grew up in this area. He remembers playing as a child in fields filled with grasses and wildflowers. He was fascinated by the creatures who lived there and the plants that supported them. The Blomquist Garden did not include a prairie ecosystem, and he wanted to offer that experience to garden visitors.
Annabel Renwick, horticulturist in the Blomquist Garden, has been leading the project. She spent six months collecting seed from roadsides and remnant sites in Durham and surrounding counties. She sent the grass seed to Hoffman Nursery for us to grow into liners. Meanwhile, Annabel grew out the other herbaceous species.
The Prairie Begins
After extensive research, she developed a planting plan that would be ecologically sound and aesthetically pleasing for visitors. Earlier this week, staff from Duke Gardens picked up over 8000 grass liners from the nursery. Enlisting the help of a team of volunteers, they started planting. We visited the site the second day of planting to help out and document this exciting new project.
As the project progresses, we’ll keep you posted. Interestingly, as soon as the plants reached the site, butterflies and other pollinators showed up. We think it’s going to be a pretty lively place, and we can’t wait!
If you’re interested in pollinators and would like to know which grasses support them, try our pollinator post.