Prairie Grasses in Late Fall

Prairie Grasses

By December, the flowers of herbaceous plants have all faded and the leaves of woody plants have fallen.  But the landscape is not barren: some may think this is the most beautiful time of year.  Why is that?  Prairie grasses come into prominence, creating stunning pictures.


Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis) is one of the most versatile.



It dominates the Prairie Garden at the Chicago Botanic Garden in September.


Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) takes on a copper tone by November.



More Little Bluestem at Morton Arboretum.


Grasses become even more dramatic when combined with rocks.  This is Prairie Dropseed at Geneva River Park.



A  terraced limestone wall is filled in with Prairie Dropseed at River Park in Geneva.


Again–River Park in Geneva.

My beautiful picture

This dramatic photo of Indian Grass (Sorghastrum nutans) and stone  steps, along with the following  5 photos were taken at Coffee Creek at Chesterton, Indiana many years ago .

The Coffee Creek Watershed Preserve is a 157-acre complex of wetlands, woodlands, and prairie.  More than 400 native plant species have been identified on the property.  The magnificent display of wildflowers from spring through fall is one of The Preserve’s most notable features.  Many common mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and butterflies make their homes here, and there is a diverse birdlife, including both nesting and migratory species.  Coffee Creek is one of the healthiest streams in the southern Lake Michigan watershed.  Salmon, trout, and many other fish swim in its waters.

The Preserve is a magnet for outdoor enthusiasts.  A system of trails, including a three-mile loop around the perimeter, is popular with hikers, joggers, dog walkers, birders, and other nature lovers.

My beautiful picture

In addition to its natural bounty, Coffee Creek also boasts two outstanding outdoor venues for public and private events.  The Pavilion can be rented for picnics, family reunions, private and corporate parties, etc.


My beautiful picture

The Chesterton Amphitheater hosts municipal concerts and ceremonies, festivals, and weddings.

My beautiful picture

More grass and rock surrounding a patio.

My beautiful pictureA rock waterfall  has been added to  this picture.

My beautiful picture

Sepia, Burnt Sienna, Nutmeg, Copper, Brass, Tawny, Ochre, Cinnamon–How many colors do you see in here?


This look can  be adapted to houses, as well.  Prairie Dropseed edges flagstone walk and steps that climb a terraced hillside leading to June’s front door.


Can you create this kind of effect anywhere in your yard?  It adds beauty and interest summer, fall, and winter.

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