Listen to the podcast of this information.
Winter is a season of rest
for the garden. Can your garden remain a showplace in winter? It can if you use
native plants in your landscaping. These species are adapted to the
their foliage can add color and interest to the garden in winter, as well as
providing food and shelter for wildlife species. As perennials, you can enjoy
them for many years to come.
prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis)
Photo © 2009, Adele
Hodde, IDNR Office of Public Services. Photo rights available for purchase.
is a native grass that can be found throughout
although it more commonly grows in the northern half of the state than in southern
grows in mesic prairies, those that have good drainage but remain moist during
most of the year, and also in hill prairies and other dry areas. This bunch
grass grows in a cluster and is sometimes described as looking like a “fountain
of grass” as the long, thin leaves arch gracefully to the ground from the
central portion of the plant. Leaves may be 20 inches long and are about
one-eighth inch wide. The plant can be two to three feet tall. It blooms in
August and September. The flowers are on individual stalks in a cluster at the
top of the flowering stems. Prairie dropseed turns orange-brown in autumn, and
its leaves and flowering stalks persist in winter.
For more information about
plants, including where to purchase them and planting guides, the following
publications are available through the IDNR order form at http://dnr.state.il.us/teachkids.
Prairie Establishment and
Landscaping for Wildlife