Transforming Habitat: At my house!!

How do you break it to your wife, that you plan to kill all of the grass in the front yard, and yes, you fully understand you just moved in four months ago, and you plan to plant some wild plants that yes, will grow to around possibly five feet tall...And then she approves it…

…Sweating bullets…

But also, very excited!

I’ve been waiting for the chance to plant a prairie on property that I own since I got out of college and first started into prairie restorations. Because who wouldn’t want to bring all of this life and colors that prairies attract to your front doorstep!?

So, I have the ability to order seed for 40+ species I’ve always wanted and that I deemed necessary for my first native planting.  I've done numerous other plantings and seedings throughout my career back in Chicagoland, and now the Twin Cities.  It was time I put my knowledge (and pocketbook) to the test. 

I ordered from Prairie Moon out of Minnesota and here were my five habitats I was planning to create:  Tallgrass prairie (in the back), Wetland sedge Meadow, Woodland, a rain butterfly garden, and a showy pollinator garden in the front.  

I pressed send and a couple weeks later my seed arrived.  

The grass was already dead brown, and I ordered a tiller for the day from a True Value up the street.  It wasn't the greatest, but the amount I spent on the seed, I had to cut into my budget somewhere.  

After the dead grass was all tilled up, I mixed up my habitats, and away I went spreading the seed like I was an original pioneer.  

Then I waited.  I was happy for a while. But then I noticed my neighbors…

They would walk by, and stare at my dead grass patch, and I have no idea what they’re thinking!

That winter I would wake up in the middle of the night thinking, this is never going to work!  My neighbors are all going to laugh at me!  I've never done this before.  I should have waited!

Yeah right.  I've always wanted to do this.  And besides, I’m not only doing this for myself. I'm doing this for the pollinators.  Helping to create a little pocket of vibrant vegetation to get the pollinators where they ultimately want to go.  It's like a stop for a marathon running, and I'm handing out the best Gatorade possible for them to continue on, and crush it.  

Well, guess what?  The plants came and it was a beautiful site to see.  

One thing to note.   A first year prairie isn't supposed to show every plant that was seeded.  Most prairie plants in fact spend their first, if not their second or third year growing their root system that's so integral in the success of prairie plants throughout the mid-west drought seasons.  Even with that being the case, I was very happy at what did come up the first year.  Can't wait for the years to come, and the pollinators I'll attract.  

Here are some pictures throughout the year.