It is easy to reflect back on the year and enjoy the fruits of your laborers, especially after a four day Thanksgiving Holiday weekend. The gardening year has had its typical atypical events, wet when one would expect dry, dry when one would expect wet. All the while, the natives have loaded up on the seed production – packing their inflorescences and seed pods with bundles of botanical wisdom waiting for a chance to explode in the future. The milkweed pods which I grew up blowing into the wind, all the while marveling how milkweeds could out do the pesky dandelion for seed dispersal, seem take on a new meaning for me now. Now I wonder where will those giant parachuted seeds land? When will they germinate? How long will they last caught up in the prairie duff from the past year? How many pollinators will seek them out for food and nectar?
In mid-November, I spent a weekend upland game hunting just south of the Konza Prairie in Kansas. Toward the end of the day, partially spent wondering at the prairies and grain fields, I passed the Woodbine Co-Op with mountains of sorghum. The varying shades of cultivars of the harvest, were mounded 20’ tall in some locations – truly a harvest to garner a moment of awe. As I spent that late afternoon grooming my Griffon, I again found myself thinking of a bountiful harvest and seed dispersal. Our Griffon rarely misses a brush pile or thicket- eager to plunge in looking for feathered residents. Nestled or entangled in deep parts of his wire haired coat were seeds from no less than 10 species of forbs and grasses. None worse of course than the dreaded cocklebur, the only seed worth a nip from the Griffon as I found myself pulling almost each hair from the barbed seed coat of the agricultural menace. Just that day those nasty cockleburs traveled over 100 miles, no doubt increasing their average distance before falling from their un-expecting mode of transportation.
It is time to collect seeds to disperse again in spots of our prairie missing a few, it is time to be stewards of the native parcels in an unique way. And yes, it is time to sit back and revel in the bountiful harvest and all of the future promise it holds.
When the world wearies, and society ceases to satisfy, there is always the Garden.