Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Prairie War

While it might not look it, the prairie is actually coming back to life. It's a little taken over at the moment by Creeping Charlie, Glechoma hederacea, which is the creeping plant with the bright blue flower. It's not native but I tolerate it because my honeybees like it. It's also very easy to weed out as it has a shallow root system. 

So far everything except the Milkweed seems to be emerging. Here I think we're looking at Blue False Indigo, though it's a little hard to tell. The Spiderwort looks like it's reseeded, some of the Asters are coming back aggressively, the coneflowers are sending up their first leaves, and it won't be long before the Jacob's Ladder will be flowering.

Something that shocked me was the Pavement Ants have already started fighting over territory. They're nonnative species that's "invasive" in that it displaces some species of Formica. Not the worst species in the world and they're almost control their own population thanks to wars like this. Their colonies can get huge, 80,000 or so, and they fight over sunny exposed areas to incubate their brood and speed up worker production. Often the losing colony is destroyed or crippled for the season.

So hopefully once all the native plants here in my monarch meadow get growing they'll be able to better fend off these foreign invaders.