Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Prairie is Blooming

Wild White Indigo
White Wild Indigo
Baptisia Lactea

 On my morning bicycle ride, I circled Big Woods Lake. The trail took me through the 10 acre Rotary Prairie Reserve. The Wild White Indigo was the most showy plant in bloom. This one stood about 2-1/2 feet tall. Mosquitos (the summer scourge for plein air sketchers in Iowa) haven't arrived, but the gnats have. I found a spot with enough breeze to keep them off me to set up my folding stool. 

 Iowa, in the middle of the United States, is part of the Great Plains. Before it was tilled and became some of the planet's most fertile cropland, it was prairie. I have lived much of my adult life in the Great Plains and have come to love and appreciate the delicate beauty of the prairie. Only patches of it have been preserved and restored. This prairie is a joint project with the Rotary Club, The University of Northern Iowa, and the Black Hawk County Conservation Board.

I love this plot of land. It gives me a sense of peace and calm each time I come. Watercolor and ink on 140lb hot press. May 22, 2012. Cedar Falls, Iowa.


  1. Fascinating Marcia. I have no experience with prairie so it's interesting to hear about it. Your sketch is lovely. I have blue, false indigo blooming in my garden now so I'm glad to see your wild, white one. Thank you.

    1. I hope to keep circling back and to capture more, so I can share my prairie-love. One needs to get up-close and in a prairie to appreciate its wonderment. (Unlike mountains and oceans). The garden varieties are very similar. They seem to have more blooms than the wild ones. One of my flickr artist friends says she purchased a cultivated white indigo in the Puget Sound area. I like your personal statement about laughing! Here, here!

  2. This is so beautiful, Marcia...we have bits of prairie here in Missouri, too, and it never fails to fascinate.

    1. I'm not the final expert word on this, but I believe some of the largest prairies are in Kansas, where not only are the native flora of the prairie thriving, but also the fauna--I'm talking bison and prairie chickens! The Nature Conservancy is a great resource for finding where patches of prairie are. As always, Kate, I appreciate your attentive appreciation.


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