Palm sweat pilot

You’re grasping a vintage palm pilot,

When a Hoverfly lands! And while it

Licks salt and tastes ya

Record echinacea 

With palm sweat, palm tears, palm pilot

What’s blooming at Staffanson?

The west unit of Staffanson burned this spring, so we expect a multitude of flowers this year. When Jared, Lindsey, and I visited Staffanson to stake random points on Wednesday, we noted which plants were flowering after the burn. Here’s what we found, from A to Z:

  • Anemone patens (pasqueflower)
  • Astragalus crassicarpus (ground plum)
  • Comandra umbellata (bastard toadflax)
  • Fragaria virginiana (wild strawberry)
  • Geum triflorum (prairie smoke)
  • Hypoxis hirsuta (yellow star-grass)
  • Lathyrus venosus (veiny pea)
  • Lithospermum canescens (hoary puccoon)
  • Maianthemum stellatum (starry false Solomon’s seal)
  • Nothocalais cuspidata (prairie false dandelion)
  • Oxalis violacea (violet wood sorrel)
  • Pedicularis canadensis (wood betony)
  • Ranunculus rhomboideus (prairie buttercup)
  • Sisyrinchium campestre (prairie blue-eyed grass)
  • Viola pedatifida (prairie violet)
  • Zizia aptera (heart-leaved Alexander)

Honorable mention goes to several plants that weren’t blooming yet. We’ll check on them later in the summer:

  • Amorpha canescens (lead plant)
  • Anemonastrum canadense (meadow anemone)
  • Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)
  • Cypripedium parviflorum (yellow lady’s slipper)
  • Heuchera richardsonii (prairie alumroot)
  • Lilium philadelphicum (wood lily)
  • Pediomelum esculentum (prairie turnip)
  • Thalictrum dasycarpum (tall meadow-rue)

We spotted several Echinacea plants on our walk. No flowers yet, but the leaves were as long as my finger!

What’s blooming at Landfill East?

We burned Landfill East last spring. Which plants are blooming one year post-burn?

  • Astragalus crassicarpus (ground plum)
  • Comandra umbellata (bastard toadflax)
  • Viola pedatifida (prairie violet)
  • Sisyrinchium (blue-eyed grass)
  • Geum triflorum (prairie smoke)
  • Lithospermum canescens (hoary puccoon)
  • Zizia aptera (heart-leaved Alexander)
  • Antennaria (pussytoes)

These photos were taken on May 26th.

It’s spring at the Garden!

Are more words necessary?

10 Sept 2015: A photo-journey


Smiles to begin the day!


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See ya!



Recruitment plot, ahoy!


Danny and Ali visible in distance


Captain K$ at the helm of USS Echinacea

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~*~ If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail ~*~ Katherine prepares to harvest!


Sub-optimal path to P2




“Make a face describing how you feel right now”




Musings from the field: “Do you think that the Vikings colors are purple and yellow because those are common prairie flower colors?”


“I like the clouds today! They’re very cloud-like!”- KGS




After yesterday, we thought we were going to need all of the mini-gBags!


Ali and Danny or Team Pallida in disguise?


Yessir yessir three bags full!


Yippee done before lunch!


The Pouch-Scarf: the field-fashion trend that’s sweeping the nation!


It’s like the cover of abbey road except that there’s only two of them, it’s close up, and they’re in the prairie



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“It’s the summer of mini-wheats and I’ve never been happier” – KGS

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Today several of us learned that “LetNo” is short for “letter-number”


Teamwork making the dream work!


Paper data sheets lost today: 0!


Don’t ask Ali how she feels about the Olympics


“Wow!! Look at the subtle gradation of color in this grass! It’s so beautiful!”


Hard times


Loyal follower


K$ saves the day


Danny “Banana” Hanson drives the tractor back to Town Hall at the end of the day

7 September 2015: Labor Day fun

Happy Labor Day from Team Echinacea! We made the most of the long weekend by doing lots of traveling. Danny went to Evanston to move things in before he moves there in a few weeks. He brought lots of the heads we harvested last week in an effort to keep up with the volunteer’s fast-paced processing of our harvest thus far! Meanwhile, Katherine, Ali, and I went up to Ely, MN to visit a friend of mine who works at a camp up there. The camp was hosting a music festival this weekend with artists like Lucy Michelle, Jeremy Messersmith, and The Pines. We were very excited to see the rocks, trees, and varied topography of the region which were all very different from what we’ve been experiencing in Douglas County. On Saturday morning we went mushroom hunting with Jeremy Messersmith, who happens to be a big mushroom enthusiast. Who knew! Later that day we went paddle-boarding and kayaking on the lake, which was really fun. Then we watched the concert! Super good. We capped off the day with some square-dancing with our fellow concert-goers. A great day. Sunday was similar, with more awesome music in the afternoon. We drove back today taking a scenic route through some good Minnesota towns I hadn’t been to before like Hibbing, Grand Rapids, and Akeley, which is the birthplace of Paul Bunyan. Danny is still on his way back from Chicago now. Stuart will be working at the Garden for the week, so it’s just us kids here in charge of getting everything done this week. There’ll be lots of harvesting to do in the experimental plots as well as plenty of refinding the seedlings that Team Echinacea has kept track of over the past 6 years in the remnants.

Us and Paul

Us and Paul

August 21: Last day on the Job

Today was my last day of work for this summer. It was also Hattie and Per’s last days. They go back to school next week! It’s crazy how much this summer has flown by! To inaugurate my last day we started with rechecking demography records. We then had our last lunch with the Wagenius’ as a whole. They are headed off towards Chicago where Gretel, Hattie, and Per will be staying for the fall (Gretel will be back and forth). The afternoon became warmer and the sky cleared up. The rest of the team got trained in on how to harvest Echinacea heads in P1. I stayed behind to finish up some work on my independent project. At the end of the day Abby and Will left without saying goodbye (I wish you both good luck in the new school year and hope that excellent times come your way). But out biggest trouble was figuring out what to do with Ricarda/Ricardo/Erica/Rica/Ric/Rick/Richard/Ricky. We debated whether to let him go on the grape vine outside the Hjelm house or to bring him back to town hall. We ultimately decided to let Ricarda/Ricardo/Erica/Rica/Ric/Rick/Richard/Ricky go on the grape vine outside of the Hjelm house.

We then headed home for our usual Friday night pizza making session! We made wonderful veggie, sausage and green pepper, and pineapple pizzas! We then went outside to watch the sunset through the smoke from the wildfires in Montana and Washington. The sun was a beautiful orb of orange as it set over the soybean fields to the west of K-town. Then someone put Kent in the shower.

Well hello there Kent!

Well hello there Kent!

Grand Water Bottle Clip 3000

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Is the Minnesota humidity too hot to handle? Are you tired of refilling your water bottle every so often? If so, the Grand Water Bottle Clip 3000 is just what you need! Tested and proven by our very own, this small piece of equipment is guaranteed to hold at least 10 bottles—- that means no more trips to refill your bottle! The GWBC 3000 is sure to have you well-hydrated enough to concentrate on recording proper phenology data AND increase your performance in sire/dam crosses! Get your Grand Water Bottle Clip 3000 today!— but it’s not in stores! Call 1-800-GWBC3000 to receive yours today!

*TODAY ONLY* BUY ONE, GET ONE 50% OFF GWBC3000! Call today and to order your very own Grand Water Bottle Clip 3000 & get the second 50% off (buyer pays separate shipping & handling) (no money back guarantee) (may not work if you are not a member of Team Echinacea) (bottle clips are not meant, for 10 bottles, please don’t try at home) (may not enhance phenology data recording or ability to cross Echinacea plants).


Prairie Peeping

Nancy Braker and Marie Schaedel came to visit today! Nancy is the director of the Cowling Arboretum at Carleton College and Mary was a member of Team Echinacea 2013. They are also good friends of Jared’s and mine and prairie enthusiasts–so there was no disagreement about how we should spend our time.

We spent the day on a grand tour of three of the area’s largest and most diverse prairie remnants: Staffanson Prairie (right here in southwest Douglas County), Seven Sisters Prairie (near Ashby in Otter Tail County), and Strandness Prairie (Pope County). All are owned and managed by the Nature Conservancy. Every few steps we would find a new wildflower, grass, or insect to inspect, identify, and appreciate. It was a nice reminder of why we spend our days toiling in experimental plots and roadside ditches: to preserve the vibrant beauty of the healthy prairie.

Here are a few photos from our journey:

The sumac forest at Seven Sisters swallowed all but Jared’s binoculars.

In western Minnesota, a little elevation goes a long way (on top of Seven Sisters, 190 feet above Lake Christina).

Echinacea at Strandness Prairie. They look a little weird without flags and tags.

Prairie peeping makes for happy campers. (Strandness Prairie.)

Flowering Echinacea!