Last week I went with the girl's class to Grigsby Prairie in Barrington Hills, Illinois. This is a restored prairie owned by a private organization, Citizens For Conservation. (Last year I chaperoned my son's class to this same prairie, but that was in November, when there were no flowers in bloom and it was quite chilly.) This year it was warm and the prairie forbs were still in bloom.
I wish I could remember who* asked about the identity of this plant, but my memory is starting to resemble a teenager's bedroom: what I want is in there somewhere, but I just can't find it right now. Whoever it was, here it is, Indian Plantain (Arnoglossum plantagineum), from the Aster family. Someone else (I can't recall who) had a question about the identity of a Goldenrod, which she described as having almost round leaves. I wonder if it was this oneStiff Goldenrod (Oligoneuron/Solidago rigidum), which has flat-topped flower clusters.
I've been seeing Praying Mantises on blogs a lot lately, including Prairie Rose's Garden and Ledge and Gardens, so I thought I'd join in the fun. One of the boys in the class spotted this one.
I felt like abducting it to my garden.
In addition to the standard blooms of Asters and Goldenrods, we saw the blooms of Prairie Penstemon,and the jewels of the prairie, the Gentians. That's Closed or Bottle Gentian (Gentiana andrewsii) in the above photo and this is Fringed Gentian (Gentianopsis crinita).
The Illinois prairie is at its peak of beauty right now. I wish I could take everyone along to experience its sights and sounds, but we can't hold the 2009 Spring Fling in the autumn because it would conflict with the Garden Writers of America Conference. Maybe I'll learn how to upload videos and post a mini tour that way. I love the prairie, it is such a special and unique place.
*Thanks to Beckie for refreshing my memory. It was Lisa of Greenbow who asked about a wild, white-flowered plant. It might this.