There is a growing movement here in the Houston community. And when I say, “growing,” I mean it quite literally!
I can’t remember exactly when I caught the “prairie fever,” but I think that my first major exposure came during the regional Southern Plains and Prairie Conference (at the time called the State of the Prairie Conference) in the fall of 2011. With this first inoculation (what you call exposure to a disease-causing agent in the medical world), and after several later exposures to prairie and plant growing workshops, knew that I was infected. So much so, that after my husband and I purchased our home last year, I couldn’t help but look at our giant green Bermuda grass backyard and think, “What a huge waste of space!”
I feel like things are changing here in Houston. I think people are bored of their perfectly manicured lawns, dotted with expensive exotic plants that shrivel in the summer heat and die in the brief winter cold. I think we are becoming weary of fertilizing this green, yet sterile landscape, then cutting it back, then watering, and then fertilizing it again. Aren’t there better things we could be doing on a Sunday afternoon?
I see attitudes about our local environment shifting as people gaze with more anxiety out their windows as concern grows about the loss of our pollinating insects and the decline in migratory songbirds. It is hard to envision our otherwise mundane urban landscapes without a visitation from these colorful creatures, but we are rapidly headed in that direction. I think our citizens are starting to notice, and are starting to care, and hence helping to spread the contagion of the “prairie fever…”
What is this crazy “prairie fever” you ask, and is it something I should try to avoid? If you care about the environment and the health of our city, I’ll actually encourage you to get inoculated as soon as possible! Prairie fever is the conscious desire to help bring back and protect Houston’s native landscape – the coastal prairie. Home to countless plants and animals, it was the original support system for all of the amazing creatures that we now only periodically see around our homes and businesses. My personal “sickness” has inspired me to attempt to plant a “mini-prairie,” sometimes referred to as a pocket prairie, in my backyard.
Do I know what I’m doing? Heck no. But I’m I going to give it a try? Absolutely!
In my feverish mind I feel that anything I can accomplish (even if it is just a patch of Little Blustem) is better than the drab layer of Bermuda currently ruling the vast expanse of my yard.
Though this blog I hope to chronicle my progress, including my successes and failures, in the hope to encourage and inspire others to embrace their own prairie madness. After all, “misery” loves company, and I don’t want to suffer alone! I hope that my personal “prairie fever” spreads like wildfire…