Tuesday, February 28, 2017


Click on the above links for Prairie Forbs or Prairie Grasses for detailed information on each plant in the Demonstration Prairie.

The demonstration prairie was planted by the Dane County Parks Department in 1997 when the Lyman F. Anderson Agriculture & Conservation building was first built.  The plot has average moisture typical in a mesic prairie.  Currently, 23 plant species native to mesic prairies in Dane County (2 grasses and 21 forbs) have been identified in the demonstration prairie.  Two of the prairie species (blazing stars) are native to the southeastern part of Wisconsin.  The forbs are primarily mid to late season bloomers, with a mix of heights and colors. The pale purple coneflower, wild quinine and marsh blazing star are considered rare. Most of the wild flowers are attractive to insect pollinators and some attract birds.  In 2016, the Demonstration Prairie team created a trench around the prairie and filled it with mulch to prevent Kentucky bluegrass from invading.

In June 2017, a Seed Orchard Production Bed along the south side of the Extension building was planted with over 100 Sisyrinchium campestre, Blue-eyed Grass seedlings.  In addition, over 100 seedlings were planted in the Demonstration Prairie and Rain Garden. The seeds from these plantings will be harvested each Spring and then planted in numerous Dane County Parks.

In early April 2017, the prairie was burned to stimulate new growth and help control weeds (see video below).

Jane Graham has served as the Adopt-a-Garden Team Leader for the Demonstration Prairie since 2016.  2017 Team Members include:

Betsy Banks George 1st Year
Sharon Brancel 1st Year
Michelle Clasen 1st Year
Deb Goplin 1st Year
Mary Pelzer 1st Year