Visit the prairie lands in our Outdoor Gardens and learn about how we manage them.
The Mid-Western American prairies were partially created by man, using controlled burning to ease travelling and to attract game – who like the young, post-fire grass. These diverse grasslands, where buffalo roam, are known for their rich soils and beautiful flowers.
We manage our prairie at Eden by burning it in February or March each year – you can see the charred tree stumps. It’s this that encourages the lovely flowers to grow through, including camassias, liatris and echinaceas, which are in full bloom in August.
While prairies once covered a quarter of the US, up to 99% of them have been destroyed in the last 150 years, much of them ploughed up by European-American settlers to plant crops to feed incoming railroad workers and the expanding industrial nation.
Today many farmers and the young are giving up and getting out. The prairie is a hard place to scratch a living. The growing season is short and the weather is harsh and unpredictable.
However some of the locals, both white and Native American, are looking to recreate a ‘buffalo commons’ where the buffalo roam free once more. This initiative could help to regenerate the prairies and provide a means of living, through buffalo meat and tourism.