Hey, I’ve got an idea!

Lovely grass that may or may not be bouteloua gracilis, aka blue grama. (We're still learning.)

We’re going to start a prairie! How cool is that?

We’re on a hilltop overlooking the Arkansas River valley. Deer, bison and prairie dogs used to live here. Now it’s home to neatly carved bermudagrass monocultures, fenced off and sprayed twice a year to fight back the prairie grasses and woodlands.

As a child I remember running through the grasses after my grandfather’s boots — hanging on his every word as he pointed out the indentions where deer slept overnight. His horses and cattle kept those bullying red cedars trimmed down nicely.

After his death in 2007, this land fell to me. My husband and I both moved to this hill in 2009 — lifelong city dwellers chasing the corporate paycheck of big oil most of our adult lives. We’ve adapted nicely to this “country style” life and don’t know how we ever used to live in town.

We’ve learned that all sorts of beautiful plants will spring up towards the sun if we just let them.  We don’t poison. We don’t use chemicals. And we’re teaching ourselves which plants are the friendlies and which ones need to be hand removed.

We’ve found three stretches of native buffalo grass still thriving. The blue grama grasses will wave hello if we don’t mow them down. Why spend hot summer days mowing down non-native grass, when we can encourage lovely native grasses to take over? With their long tap roots, the natives can survive even the most brutal Oklahoma droughts.

We really don’t know what we’re doing, but we’re learning. Hopefully we’ll find help here from other like-minded souls — surely you’re out there!

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12 Responses to Hey, I’ve got an idea!

  1. Jim Rau says:

    I recoginze that barn. Grama grass—really???

    Not sure how to show “like” it, so I’ll just say that here. LIKE!

  2. S.L. Dickey says:

    This is fantastic! I look so forward to watching the progress. What better idea in the world, than to grow a prairie that at one time was native to the state!! A place that animals love, where flowers bloom, grasses thrive, and no money is spent on a lawnmower or its voraious thirst for gasoline. And what a great boost to time – no more hours spent hacking down invavisive grass and weeds for hours every week! I love it! Not to say that it won’t take time. But it will be time spent in growth that only needs nature’s grooming. Growth that sustains the land that houses it, and gives as much back to it as it takes in nutrients and water. I am thrilled you are tackling this adventure and look forward to watching it GROW!

  3. hungryholler says:

    The world needs more grass……thanks for doing your part.

  4. Rich says:

    Nice photos, Shan. I still think a putting green would like nice back there, but I guess a prairie will do! Just kidding – way to go, Big Sis!

  5. shanleywells says:

    Rich: Well, we don’t let the dogs golf anymore, so the putting green would not be useful. 😉

  6. Jane Wells says:

    I think this is EXCELLENT idea, smart and will be very pretty. I would love to help with it especially on the wild flowers.

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