Normally, frost flowers form during the first hard freeze in late fall. Frost flowers form as water freezes just underground and is forced up through dormant plant tissue. The plant tissue acts as a mold for the ribbons of ice that are then extruded from the ground in the shape of the plant stem.
Several native plants form frost flowers but the species we have here that forms them is White Crownbeard (Verbesina virginica). I suppose the long, sustained cold snap we’ve had this last week allowed them to grow and keep growing until they were covered with snow yesterday. Here are several of the frost flowers I photographed the day before the snow.
This Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja coccinea) has been blooming for more than a week. I thought it was a little early for it. Sure enough, there are probably a dozen more that we found today that are in varying stages of blooming. It’s going to be be our best year yet for them in the restored prairie!
This post is not about Pearl Creek Farm, but about another great place in Missouri: Buzzard’s Roost in Pike County. This area, scarcely a half mile from the place where I was born and raised, is unique in its own right, but is also fairly unusual for areas outside of the Ozarks. Included are two significant cave openings, at least two permanent springs, several minor cave openings, and a sheer, north-facing bluff that harbors at least two rare plant species, considered glacial relicts, for Missouri. The area also harbors some interesting habitats for northern Missouri and has some history and lore associated with it.
Much of this area is for sale in a 70-acre tract from a landowner who logged part of it and kept it as a hunting playground. The karst and sensitive habitats are protected by a lengthy hike from the main road. I’d like to see this property in the hands of a government agency, land foundation, or a conservation-minded buyer that understands its value beyond the abundant game species present.
Read on to see more photographs of the area, some characteristic flora and fauna (including two rare plant species), or head straight to the real estate information!
After nearly three years of planning and preparation, I sowed about 1/3 of an acre today with native seeds. Preparation included multiple passes with herbicide, including spot sprayings over more than two years. This year, I spent a great deal of time collecting native seeds from the surrounding counties. Today, right after our snow accumulation, Julian and I sowed them into two new areas (see map). This leaves a small “domestic” area between the workshop and the shed where we’ll have a garden, a fire pit, and continue to keep mowed and semi-manicured.
This is a poor photo, but it shows something Julian and I saw a couple of weeks ago. Four large gobblers wandered through the creek bottoms directly across from our house. We were sitting at the kitchen table, eating breakfast. What a great treat!
This morning, I was outside checking the rain gauge and I saw a flock of cedar waxwings eating persimmons from a tree near the house. That’s a nice way to start the morning! It’s also a new bird species for the species list.