350 Million Year Old Sculpture

Devonian Fossil Sculpture

Devonian Fossil Sculpture

Bill Knight has created a wonderful sculpture for us. By cutting, grinding and polishing he has created a gorgeous sculpture. It stands about 19-inches tall and must weigh over 50-pounds.

This sculpture started a couple of years ago when he collected a few rocks in the creek here at the Prairie Garden Trust.

Bill’s polishing revealed the hexagonal shapes of fossilized coral. That coral is known as Hexagonaria. Apparently it thrived in the shallow sea that was here during the Devonian Era 350 million years ago.

Thanks Bill for creating such a wonderful work of art!

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Bald Eagles at the PGT

Bald Eagle Flying

Bald Eagle Flying

Twice this week we’ve spotted mature Bald Eagles flying over the Prairie Garden Trust. In 1970 when we moved here we never saw eagles. Over time we are starting to see them more and more. Perhaps some day we will be lucky enough to have them nest here.

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Peter Raven joins PGT Board

Today Peter Raven agreed to join the Board of Trustees at the Prairie Garden Trust.
Peter has been tremendously helpful by connecting us with many people and organizations. He initiated an inventory of native plants on the property. Peter has had many suggestions on how to make the PGT be more effective. We look forward to working with him more closely!
Peter is famous around the world for his leadership on environmental issues and for his role as Director of the Missouri Botanical Garden. He was named a “Hero for the Planet” by TIME magazine and served as President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He also serves on the board of trustees at the National Geographic Society.
Above is a snapshot I took of Peter and his wife Pat when they were visiting the PGT to collect Butternuts for the herbarium at the Missouri Botanical Garden.

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The PGT is Growing!

This morning Lorna signed the papers to buy 60 more acres for the PGT. That brings the total property now to 600-acres. The land (shown in color in this picture) was Will Marshal’s property. Adding it was important to protect our borders and complete the vision that Will Marshal shared with the PGT Board.

With that completed we can move on to continuing to carry out the ideas in the PGT Master Plan. In 2015 we will add new paved trails, more plantings and new structures to welcome you as you hike to Hillers Creek.

Happy New Year!

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Exponential Growth of Bush Honeysuckle

Bush Honeysuckle
This week I’ve come to understand how wildly invasive Bush Honeysuckle is. 5-year ago we found the first Bush Honeysuckle at the PGT and immediately killed it. Because many nature areas and suburban wood lots are filled with this exotic shrub we’ve been on alert and have maintained an attitude of “search-and-destroy”. Despite being aggressive about control it can now be found on many parts of the PGT. I’ve found hundreds of plants this week. The growth is exponential. Will we be able to stop it?

Attached is a picture of the first Bush Honeysuckle that I found 5-years ago. The berries are very attractive and birds like to eat them. Apparently birds are the main way that the seeds are spread.

Click here to see good information on controlling this plant.

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Planting Oaks

Quercus macrocarpa

Bur Oak

Lorna and I wandered over the entire property today inspecting trees that we’ve planted. We were particularly interested in the oaks since they can be majestic trees that live for centuries. The Bur Oaks planted next to our family cemetery 30-years ago are now over 30-feet tall! The Bur Oaks and Swamp White Oaks planted along the edges of the prairie have had a more difficult time. Over half of those trees have died back to the ground and now have multiple stems

Oaks are known for their resistance to fire so we planted them in areas where we know they would be burned. However it seems that the trees need to be old enough (20-30-years?) to have the thick bark to resist the intense heat of a prairie fire.

It was a perfect fall day to be out. While we were talking around I heard the calls of Bob White Quail and White-throated Sparrows. I startled a big fat groundhog relaxing in the sun near the barn.

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Lorna named “Prairie Landowner of the Year”

Lorna-Prairie-Landowner-of-the-Year-Award-Crop_5842 Lorna-Domke_3019
Yesterday the Missouri Prairie Foundation awarded Lorna Landowner of the Year for the work she is doing here at the Prairie Garden Trust. As the President and Director of the PGT Lorna is leading the effort to turn the property into a successful public nature garden.

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New Bathrooms at the PGT Center

PGT Bathrooms
Thanks to some generous donors there are new bathrooms at the Prairie Garden Trust. They will usually be unlocked which will be helpful for people who arrive when the main building is closed. They will also be appreciated when buses arrive.

I invite you to come out and check them out. They next couple weeks should be peak Fall color. A great time to come out for a walk.

In the attached picture the bathrooms are on the left side of the building. Jesse Mudd and his crew did the construction. As usual the work is first class.

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Will Marshal Dies

Will Marshall
Will Marshal died yesterday after a long illness. He will be missed. Will was a close friend, neighbor and a long term leader and supporter of the Prairie Garden Trust. He served on the PGT Board of Trustees up until the time of his death. For many years he served as the president of the board.

Will owned much of the land that is now the Prairie Garden Trust. In 1970 he sold 80-acres to my parents. More recently he sold us 270-acres along Hiller’s Creek. He loved the idea of turning the property into a public nature garden. He loved the property and was able to stay there until the last few weeks when he moved to hospice to be closer to his children in Kanas City.

Of all the chores at the PGT he especially enjoyed helping with controlled burns. He was helping with a burn when I snapped this picture ten years ago.

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Clouded Sulphur Butterfly

Colias philodiceClouded Sulphur, Colias philodice

Today I’m finding butterflies feeding on the Maximillian Sunflower. These tall plants with yellow flowers can be found scattered over many of the prairie areas here at the Prairie Garden Trust. This butterfly is known as a Clouded Sulphur.

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