Where to find local prairie seeds

Narrow Leaf Purple Coneflower JulyFrom purple coneflower to butterfly milkweed, Iowa is home to beautiful native prairie plants. These forbs and grasses not only look pretty, but also provide habitat for Iowa’s pollinators and songbirds. Enjoy all these species have to offer by planting your own! Whether you’re looking to start a native garden or a full-fledged landscape, the right seeds can make all the difference.

INHF thinks having not just native, but local seeds is important for planting. Local simply means seeds that are sourced as close as possible to where they will be planted. This allows for plants to grow in areas that are well suited to accommodate their needs. Continue reading

How to make a healthy prairie

One of our main goals at INHF is to preserve, protect and restore Iowa’s prairies. In addition to creating beautiful landscapes, a thriving prairie ecosystem can prevent soil erosion, provide crucial habitat for wildlife and insects and promote water quality.

We’ve put together a hypothetical recipe for a healthy Iowan prairie. Our mix contains a balanced combination of grasses, sedges and forbs. Each ingredient was hand-selected for a central Iowa ecosystem, and the ideal ratio of grasses to flowering plants promotes optimal prairie health.

We used a grass, sedge and switchgrass mix, and eight varieties of forbs. Each forb serves a specific purpose. Milkweed, for example, provides a food source for pollinators. The greater the diversity, the more resistant the prairie will be to encroaching invasive species.

Want to concoct your own prairie? Contact a local conservation specialist or find a prairie seed dealer, listed under “Services,” here.

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Monarch butterflies migrate through Iowa

*Video by Courtney Turnis, 2007 INHF Land Stewardship Intern.

This September, watch for Monarch butterflies as they migrate through Iowa. They can be spotted by their bright orange wings with black lines and spots. The month of September sees the heaviest migration period for Monarchs, migrating down to the Sierra Madre in central Mexico. Continue reading