Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Meadow Burn!

Every year we get comments that folks would like to see our prairie burn. Here's your chance to see it! Don't try this at home, we have professional and trained staff to conduct our landscape burns. We conduct our burn when the conditions are right: a combination of wind speed and direction, relative humidity, plus conditions of surrounding turf.

Jeremy West, Senior Gardener - Turf & Trails is also a fireman for the Western Johnson County Fire Protection District. The situation is actually under control with newly greened up turf and a backfire out of view as fire breaks.

The meadow pavilion in the background shows how big the flames can get. It is quite a sight as prairie grasses are meant to burn as part of their ecology. The fire recycles nutrients and invigorates the grasses for splendid growth this season. We burn the "Meadow" each spring because it is a landscape expression of prairie at Powell Gardens and we want the grasses to be full and billowing each season.

The wall of fire (head fire) through the prairie grasses rages with the wind towards the back burn. If only you could hear its crackling. The chapel is quite safe in the distance! (There is the back burn, path and turf in between).

Here Richard Heter watches over the lower meadow burn which is contained by turf, path and lake. You can see the bridge to the Island Garden in the distance.

The post burn landscape looks charred and dead but with the coming rains and springtime warmth it will quickly green up. It was a great burn when there are not any or many stalks left ; Senior Gardener, Janet Heter in charge of the meadow said "it was the second best burn ever." By next week you will see a new landscape alive with new shoots of green.

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