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Showy Penstemon – A Favorite

Over the years I’ve been asked dozens of times what my favorite prairie species is. The answer is Penstemon grandiflorus, commonly known as Showy penstemon. I can’t definitively say why I answer the question this way but I do. Maybe it’s because of the early season bloom in late May and early June. It could be the color, as this one is vibrant and easy to pick out. The waxy blueish-green foliage really jumps out at you as...

Bringing People Together With The Land

As an employee of PRI for over two years now, I have heard and seen our slogan, “bringing people together with the land” many times. Not only is it catchy and on the bottom of all of my email signatures, but it is also rather fitting for a company like ours. I have never really stopped to think about it until the other day while I was working in my own little prairie at home. Last year, my wife and I decided to replace a small flower bed in the middle of...

Prairie Restoration for Dummies

I’ve learned a lot over the last 3 years working here, with still so much more to learn, but hopefully I’m not a “prairie dummy” anymore. 2008, our first spring living on our little hobby farm, better known at that time as ‘little dump on the prairie’, I looked south out the window one afternoon and saw black smoke billowing from Carleton hill (near Northfield, MN). I immediately thought there was a wild fire and I should probably call 911. Luckily, my neighbor, a wise old farmer from down the road, stopped in and I told him...

Interview with President Ron Bowen: How Our Minnesota Native Landscaping Company Got Its Start

Editor’s note:  President and founder Ron Bowen was interviewed by St. Cloud radio station KVSC manager Jo McMullen a few years ago prior to one of our Prairie Day events.  Among other things, Jo asked Ron about how he got his start in the native landscaping business.  What follows is an excerpt of that interview, which is basically our company’s back story.   Jo:  It’s probably become in vogue, if you will, in the last decade to restore prairies around businesses or for green-minded homeowners. But you’ve been doing this for...

Preserving Natural Prairie Lands in Minnesota

In our earlier post, we shared about pockets of remnant prairie that still remain in their natural state in Minnesota. When these areas are found, it’s crucial that we protect them from development and preserve what exists. In this article we’ll share about one success story – Roscoe Prairie.   About 20 mile west of St. Cloud near Paynesville there is an area called Roscoe Prairie.  It’s a beautiful little parcel, about 56 acres. In the St. Cloud area there are many outcroppings of granite.  Obviously rocky land like that couldn’t be plowed.  Farmers may have grazed their livestock on...

Identifying Natural Prairie Lands in Minnesota

At Prairie Restorations, Inc, most of our projects involve restoring prairies and other native landscapes in Minnesota and other states in our region.  These projects also involve converting already built landscapes into ecologically sound native landscapes.  But occasionally we hear about a pocket of land that still exists as it has been for hundreds of years.  And when we find those areas, it’s very gratifying, for a number of reasons. In the not-too-distant past, before...

Early Summer Wildlife Encounters

Many of us here at Prairie Restorations know that early summer does not only mean the arrival of spring-time forbs and cool-season grasses. It also means the arrival of nesting waterfowl birds, upland game birds, and also the birth of many different species of animals. In the early part of June many different species of waterfowl take full advantage of our native prairies. From birds as small as the Blue-Winged Teal to birds as large as the Canadian Goose, they...

Bringing People Together With The Land

Hello from the retail store in Scandia! As we move into the new season here, it has been lot of fun to watch throughout the years how our prairie around the building has matured. Our customers enjoy it as well; when they come in and tell us after walking past “that is what I want my yard to be!” From the beginners to the people who’ve been at it awhile, it’s great to talk with them about their experiences and hear about what is working and what isn’t. For those we see on...

Spring Means Freshly Tilled Soils

As cliché as spring can be with people going on about the birds singing and flowers blooming, my favorite part of this season is stepping outside and enjoying the smells that have erupted from seemingly nowhere all winter long. My favorite springtime aroma is that of freshly tilled soil. I am never sure if it is the actual smell that I like or if it’s what this scent evokes that I like so much. To me, this smell has always been associated with a fresh start, new beginnings and the hope for...

Fall Harvest is Upon Us near Glyndon, Minnesota

combineThe harvest season is upon on once again and we are working in full force here on the Bluestem Farm near Glyndon, Minnesota. Harvest season usually consist of harvesting native grasses and forbs on our farm but this year, we are harvesting an additional 550 acres off site. This additional seed that is being collected will be used to enhance existing prairies and create new ones throughout western Minnesota. The process of collecting a large volume of seed is not easy and takes the right equipment and experience. Each day our crew...