Saturday, September 7, 2013

On the Dry Hillside

Ratibida columnifera
Sunny, hot and dry. The south facing slope down to the road is brutal to plants. The soil is crushed granite, once disturbed by the grading for the road cut. Elk traverse along it in the fall and early spring, browsing as they go. Moose, too. Seeding in early winter is the way to go - I try to time it with the first snow. However, the most creative and fun way to go is to let children throw mud balls made of topsoil and seed down the slopes. We did this with my willing niece and nephew, a bucket of damp soil with native wild flower seed mixed in and the thing that tosses tennis balls for dogs. The Mexican Hats above sprouted from that activity the following summer. It did take a few years for the plants to really show themselves, but we have Penstemon, Gilia, Rudbeckia, and lots of flax now. And, of course, no water but rain.

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