Restoring the Tallgrass Prairie

Author: Shirley Shirley

Guide to restoring tallgrass prairie. Includes detailed descriptions and hand-drawn illustrations of each prairie species.

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Author: Shirley Shirley

Guide to restoring tallgrass prairie. Includes detailed descriptions and hand-drawn illustrations of each prairie species.

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Data sheet

Author Shirley Shirley
Page count 346
ISBN 978-0-87745-469-4
Copyright date September 1994
Publisher University of Iowa Press
Edition First Edition

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This is a great guide for people who are working on the scale of a small backyard planting to a unit just a few acres in size. The author dedicates the first fifty pages of this book to the subject of establishing small scale prairies.

What I particularly like about this book is the detail about each prairie species listed for seed collection and propagation purposes. Like most books, it describes the habitat and physical description of each species, but also how to propagate the plants; when and how to harvest seeds and how to process and prepare the seed for germination. There is considerably more detail on this subject in this book than either The Tallgrass Restoration Handbook or The Tallgrass Prairie Center Guide to Prairie Restoration provide.

The hand drawn images are not the most precise I have seen, but they show the necessary detail. Most importantly, they illustrate the plants, not only when they are blooming, but also when they are dormant which can help you identify them during seed collection season.

From the Publisher:

In this gracefully illustrated manual, Shirley has created a step-by-step guide to reconstructing the natural landscape of Iowa and the Upper Midwest.

Chapters on planning, obtaining and selecting plants and seeds, starting seeds indoors, preparing the site, planting, and maintenance set the stage for comprehensive species accounts. Shirley gives firsthand information on soil, moisture, sun, and pH requirements; location, size, and structure; blooming time and color; and propagation, germination, and harvesting for more than a hundred wildflowers and grasses.

Shirley's sketches—all drawn from native plants and from seedlings that she grew herself—will be valuable for even the most experienced gardener. While other books typically feature only the flowering plant, her careful drawings show the three stages of the seedlings, the flower, and the seedhead with seeds as well as the entire plant. This practical and attractive volume will help anyone dedicated to reconstructing the lost “emerald growth” of the historic tallgrass prairie.

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