Third, the area close to the beach has a significant slope. The local landscaper's grading work opened this surface up to erosion and did nothing to mitigate it. Stabilizing the slope was a priority.
In addition to the seed mixes, I planted plugs of forbs and shrubs, and transplanted two B&B'ed Redbuds and a Burr Oak. I selected the following native species based on site factors and availability from Wildtype.
- Amorpha canescens, Leadplant (gallon container, 3 count)
- Diervilla lonicera, Bush Honeysuckle (gallon container, 3 count)
- Potentilla fruiticosa, Shrubby Cinquefoil (gallon container, 3 count)
- Rudbeckia hirta, Black-eyed Susans (plugs, 38 count)
- Asclepia syriaca, Common Milkweed (plugs, 38 count)
- Penstomen hirsutus, Penstomen (plugs, 38 count)
- Euthania graminifolia, Grass-Leaved Goldenrod, (plugs 38 count)
- Mimulus ringens, Monkey-Flower, (plugs, 38 count)
- Physostegia virginiana, Obedient Plant, (plugs, 38 count)
- Eupatorium maculatum, Joe Pye Weed, (plugs, 38 count)
- Ribes americanum, Wild Black Currant (gallon container, 3 count)
To someday hopefully provide a prominent feature of the property, I planted a Burr Oak, Quercus macrocarpa. I selected this species both because of its adaptability to poor clay soils but also because it seemed to fit into this planted oak savannah. Digging the hole large enough to accommodate this planting in the clay soil was the opposite of easy!
Once fully grown, the prairie beach park will help protect the water quality of the lake. Especially so when compared to many other lakeside properties which have lawn right down to the shore line. Surface runoff from the prairie should be well filtered and refresh the lake, whereas runoff from lawns often carries fertilizer and pesticides.
Possibly the most important quality to exhibit when starting a prairie from scratch (and mostly seed) is patience. Jerry Stewart of Native Connections emphasized that the seeds are there, but just may take awhile to germinate and flourish.
Definitely stay tuned for the past due update. All links to update posts will be added here, once said posts are written! EDIT: Here is the post describing the park in Fall 2014. Here is the post describing the park in August 2015.