On-site workshop for the Irrigation-Free Landscape

It’s MInnesota, it’s summer, and it’s hot and dry, yet again. Learn how to make proverbial landscape lemonade out of lemons, how to create a landscape that can beat the heat and not require a sprinkler, and come to the on-site workshop for the Irrigation-Free Landscape. Click on the photo above, then click on it again in its new window, to see the flyer. For more info, click here.

Irrigation-free: making progress

Irrigation-free landscape, with mulch laid down, bee high-rises in place

We’ve laid the limestone mulch down, the bee high-rises are in place. Now we’re just waiting for the interpretive sign to be printed out and we’ll install it and away we’ll go. The on-site workshop on the irrigation-free landscape will be held on July 28 at 11:00 a.m. The project location is at 2853 42nd Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN. For more photos and info, click here.

Front-yard evolution across the seasons

Check out how this front-yard prairie in Texas evolves across the seasons. Perhaps a bit too informal-looking for us, but it is still lovely and not the weedy hot-mess-up that many front-yard prairies can be. See evolution here.

Weekend viewing

A wee bit hokey, but a zippy romp nonetheless through some of the fundamentals of the prairie ecosystem. Enjoy and cringe all at the same time.

Prairie-infused daytrip

Boliou Hall overlooking prairie restoration at Carleton College

An ongoing conversation on PRAIRIEFORM has centered around the recurring persona non grata of maintenance, and how landscapes of increasing botanical complexity are oftentimes poorly maintained (which then begs the question of, Is there a point?). One of the more successful examples of a lawn-to-prairie conversion on a large scale is the Carleton College campus, where, since 1978, the college in conjunction with the Cowling Arboretum, has been turning over swaths of the outer areas of the campus into restored prairie, and oak savannah. There will ultimately be 140 acres of restored prairie within the lower arboretum along the campus grounds. Within the more formal areas of the campus, planting beds now consist almost primarily of uber-en-vogue-but-reliable prairie faves: schizachyrium scoparium, diervilla lonicera, and sporobolus heterolepis. What is most noticeable within these restorations and plantings is that they have been impeccably maintained – through skilled weeding, and prescribed burns. Rather than use merely run-of-the-mill lawn maintenance crews, students, and staff at the Arboretum play an integral role in the maintenance of these prairie and savannah zones.

Lyman Lake, riparian and prairie restorations, turf-grass pathway, and Evans Hall in the background

The juxtaposition of these wilder zones against and within the formality of the campus and its architecture could not produce lovelier results. They firmly root the campus in its place and have graduated the campus away from the tired English-garden approach to planting where every campus outside of New England attempts to trick you into thinking you actually are in New England. For the botanical-historical-curious who are in Minnesota, who are Minnesota-adjacent, or who might be visiting Minneapolis, a daytrip and stroll through the Carleton College campus is well worth the journey.