Sunday, April 24, 2016

Prairie in Bloom

Text and photos by Nancy Partlow ©

Every year, I  keep trying to see the prairies at the peak of bloom, but never manage to time it just right.  This year, serendipitously, I finally did.  A few days ago I was driving along  Delphi Road when I noticed that the grounds of the Old Delphi Schoolhouse were a gorgeous carpet of blue camas lilies. 

Wow!  What a knockout sight.

This told me that the prairies must be in full flower as well.

So yesterday I drove to the Mima  Preserve trail to check out the show.  But when I got there, I was kind of disappointed.   The bloom was nice, but not what I was hoping for.
Knowing that farther south on Mima Road near Bordeaux  the camas fields are more robust, I headed there instead.   Upon arrival, I was not disappointed.  The roadsides were thick with blue stars and the prairie itself  an undulating patchwork of  azure lilies and yellow lomatiam. 

As I soaked in the beauty of the scene, the naturalist in me wondered if the  unseasonably hot weather earlier in the week  had brought on a sudden and intense flowering that usually takes place over a longer period of time. I also pondered whether climate change will eventually cause spring-emerging insects that rely on native flowers for food to miss an ever-earlier bloom period.   

Queen Bombus vosnesenskii bumble bee gathering nectar
and pollen from a camas lily

Such gloomy thoughts aside, I also remembered my great-grandmother Cynthia, who lived with us while I was growing up.  Cynthia was born and raised on the Camas Prairie in Idaho in the late 1800's.  Sights such as this must have been very familiar to her.
In researching this story, I learned that the camas prairie she knew is now gone.  This makes me grateful that at least some of ours have been preserved.  Long may they flower.


  1. We can only hope the fields near Bordeaux will be preserved. Do you know anything? Maybe show your photos to Capital Land Trust and suggest a meeting with the owners?

  2. I put some of these on my green roof and they look wonderful. Anne

  3. So refreshing !! I am so grateful that you can find such beautiful reflections of God's great love in the world of nature. Also grateful that you are so kind to share it with those of us who most likely would never see these light and loved filled images and be uplifted by them, and join you in giving thanks.
    God bless you for your work and spirit of loving-kindness.
    Sending love,

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