Badlands Garden 14 by 48 feet

Badlands Garden
14 by 48 feet
Grassland Plants of South Dakota and the Northern Great Plains classifies this area as
Northern Wheatgrass/Wheatgrass plains. Grasses found here include many varieties of wheat
grass, buffalo grass, and grama grass. For the central arc between the paths, I recommend
planting seeds of buffalo grass and wild flowers, covering the area with erosion blanket, and
watering and weeding as the plants germinate and come up. This will give the area a natural
prairie look.
Ground plum milkvetch (Astragalus crassicarpus)
Seeds PMN
Light: Full sun.
Soil: Any but clay.
Moisture: Dry.
Benefits: Rodents cache the “plums.” Larval host
for Afranius Duskywing (Erynnis afranius).
Height: Eight inches high and 2 feet wide.
Blooms: May to June.
Color: White trimmed violet to purple flowers
followed by plum-like fruit.
Afranius duskywing
Overwinters as a full-grown caterpillar.
Buffalo grass (Buchole dactyloides) Seeds
Light: Full sun. Does not tolerate shade.
Soil: Prefers heavier soils and does not thrive in
sandy soil. It is most productive in rich, welldrained clay and loam soil, but also grows well in
rocky limestone soil.
Moisture: Dry to medium. Goes dormant,
turning yellow to golden brown in winter and
times of drought.
Benefits: Growth habit accommodates
wildflowers and native bunch grasses.
Height: 3 to 6 inches tall.
Blooms: Buffalo grass is dioecious, which means that male and female reproductive parts are
found on separate plants. The female plant blooms low to the ground, probably as an adaptation
to protect seeds from being grazed. Flowers on the male plant, often called flags, reach a height
of five to six inches and protrude slightly above the foliage.
Color: Fine-textured, and when actively growing, buffalo grass varieties range from green to
blue-green in color.
Planting: Because buffalo grass is a warm-season grass, it will not
germinate until warm spring days arrive. Sow the seeds after the
danger of frost has passed, and the soil temperature is 70 to 80
degrees Fahrenheit. A seeding rate of two to four pounds per
1,000 square feet is recommended. Buffalo grass produces
runners about four weeks after germination.
Water new plantings regularly to assure germination and root
establishment. Optimum growing temperatures are 80 to 95
degrees Fahrenheit during the day, and around 68 degrees
Fahrenheit at night.
To stay green during the summer, buffalo grass must receive 1
to 1.5 inches of water per week. Mow once a year but never
shorter than three inches. The best time is late winter before new
growth begins. If not mowed periodically, an established lawn will become choked and decline
after several years. Use any fertilizer cautiously, if at all, because fertilization encourages
competitive weeds and Bermuda grass to grow. In addition, over-fertilizing combined with
over-watering is a common source of non-point pollution in creeks, streams, and lakes.
Sego lily (Calochortus nuttallii)
Light: Full sun.
Soil: Deep, sandy soil with good drainage.
Moisture: Dry.
Benefits: Pollinators.
Height: 1 foot.
Blooms: May to June.
Color: White.
Hairy goldenaster (Chrysopsis villosa) Seeds
Light: full sun.
Soil: Any, well drained.
Moisture: Dry.
Benefits: For pollinators.
Height: Under 1 foot.
Blooms: May to October.
Color: Yellow.
Baby blue rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus )
Light: Full sun, tolerates part shade.
Soil: Sandy soil and clay or loam soils.
Moisture: Xeric to moderate once established.
Benefits: Attracts birds, butterflies, and bees. Provides food for
pollinators in the fall when they are migrating and preparing for
Height: Sixteen to 28 inches and 20 to 30 inches wide.
Blooms: August and September.
Color: Silvery blue domed shrub with fragrant yellow flowers. Winter interest in silvery
foliage and seed heads.
Kannah Creek Sulphur Buckwheat (Erigonum
umbellatum v. aureum)
Light: full sun.
Soil: Rocky, gravelly, clay. Well drained.
Moisture: Xeric to dry.
Benefits: Larval and nectar food for lupine blue
Height: 1 foot wide mats.
Blooms: June to July.
Color: Sulphur yellow flowers age to orange and rustyred. Grey green evergreen foliage gradually changes to
Notes: 2007 Plant Select® Winner.
Lupine blue butterflies lay eggs singly on leaves and flowers. The caterpillars eat leaves,
flowers, and fruits, sometimes burrowing inside seedpods, and are attended by ants. They are
greyish yellow or pink, with small black spots, a green dorsal stripe and pale oblique stripes.
They hibernate as half-grown larvae.
Lupine blue butterfly with wings closed and open and caterpillar
Bush morning-glory (Ipomoea
Light: Full sun.
Soil: Sandy prairie loam.
Moisture: Dry to medium.
Benefits: Attracts hummingbirds, bees and
Height: Four feet by 3 feet wide.
Blooms: July to August.
Color: Pink to purple.
Has enormous tap root to 8 inches or more
around and 100 pounds in weight.
Rocky Mountain juniper (Juniperus scopulorum)
Light: Full sun to part shade.
Soil: Loam, rocky, sandy.
Moisture: Medium.
Benefits: Birds, squirrels, chipmunks, and cottontails eat the fruit.
Winter cover for birds. Larval food for Juniper hairstreak butterfly.
Height: Ten to 30 feet.
Blooms: Juniper is dioecious, which means that individual plants
are either male or female. Male flowers appear as yellow blossoms
near the ends of the twigs in spring and release pollen, which is
wind-dispersed. Female flowers are
in the form of very small clusters of
scales, and after pollination by the wind, these become berrylike cones.
Color: Needles are green to blue-grey. Cones are berry-like,
pea-sized, and are blue to purplish.
Juniper hairstreak butterfly and caterpillar
Dotted gayfeather (Liatris puncata)
Light: Full sun.
Soil: Prairie loam.
Moisture: Dry.
Benefits: Butterfly nectar and seeds for finches and
Height: One to 3 feet.
Blooms: August to October.
Color: Pink, purple.
Spacing: One half to 1 foot.
Gumbo lilies (Oenothera caespitosa)
Light: Likes full sun; tolerates part shade.
Soil: Clay.
Moisture: Low to dry.
Benefits: Pollinator nectar.
Height: Under 1 foot.
Blooms: May to June.
Color: Small mounding plant with silky greygreen leaves. Trumpet flowers open at night and
are white and turn pink as they age.
Flowers attract hawk moths.
Missouri primrose (Oenothera macrocarpa)
Light: Full sun, tolerates part
Soil: Clay, dry, and shallow,
rocky soils.
Moisture: Low to dry.
Benefits: Nectar for hawk
(Sphinx) moths and bees.
Height: Up to 1 foot tall with a
3 foot spread.
Blooms: May to August.
Color: Prostrate trailing stems
with upright tips. Leaves are 5 inches long and a deep silky
grey green. Flowers are large lemon-yellow trumpets that
open from red buds and flowers all summer. Seeds are large (two
to three inches long) lantern-like capsules.
Moths are fascinating animals. A staggering 200,000 or more species of moths may exist, just
waiting to be discovered. The number of moths far outnumbers the number of world’s species
of butterflies (17,500 species). Hawk moths have the world’s longest tongues of any other
moth or butterfly (some up to 14 inches long). Moths pick up pollen on their legs and wings
when they visit flowers and deposit
pollen on subsequent floral visits.
Snowberry sphinx caterpillar and moth
Indian ricegrass (Oryzopsis hymenoides) Cool season
Light: Full sun.
Soil: Sandy coarse textured, loams,
and gravelly, rocky soils.
Moisture: Hot, dry southern
Benefits: Plump, nutritious seeds are
an excellent food source for birds, such
as mourning doves, pheasants, and
songbirds. Rodents collect seeds for
winter food supplies. Good cover habitat
for small animals and birds.
Height: Eight to 30 inch clump.
Blooms: Cool season grass that greens up in spring.
Color: Delicate seedheads. Tightly rolled, slender leaves, growing from the base of the bunch
give it a slightly wiry appearance.
White beardtongue (Penstemon albidus)
Light: Full sun.
Soil: Dry, rocky, prairie soil.
Moisture: Dry.
Benefits: Pollinators.
Height: To 1 foot.
Blooms: May to June.
Color: White.
Smooth beardtongue (Penstemon glaber)
Light: Full sun.
Soil: Dry, rocky, prairie soil.
Moisture: Dry.
Benefits: Pollinators.
Height: One half to 2 feet.
Blooms: June - July.
Color: Deep purple to purple to violet.
Skunkbush (Rhus trilobata)
Light: Full sun to light shade.
Soil: Any.
Moisture: Little to no water once established.
Benefits: Food source and cover for birds.
Height: To 6 feet tall.
Blooms: May to June.
Color: Glossy oak-like leaves, small yellow flowers
followed by fuzzy red berries. Brilliant red and
orange fall color.
Note: Pungent citrus scented leaves.
Scarlet Globe Mallow
(Sphaeralcea coccinea)
Light: Full sun.
Soil: Any except heavy wet clay or wet
Moisture: Very dry to dry -- most
drought tolerant of all plants.
Benefits: Nectar, seeds, forage. Larval
food for Common checkered skipper
Height: Twelve inches high.
Blooms: June to August.
Color: Plant is covered with silvery hairs.
Salmon to brick red flowers. Notes: Plant sheds its leaves during drought, making it extremely
drought tolerant.
Common Checkered Skipper and caterpillar
Overwinters as full-grown caterpillar
**Point to remember: Save your annual garden clean-up until late spring to give
pollinators a chance to survive the winter. Many caterpillars, bees, bumblebees, and other
pollinators spend the winter in the ground or shelter of your garden. Native plants are not
prone to many diseases and don’t need winter clean-up for pest or disease control. Also,
the fall leaves make wonderful mulch for your soil – mulch that replenishes the soil,
protects plant roots, and retains precious water.**
Goldenpea (Thermopsis rhombifolia)
Light: Full sun, tolerates some shade.
Soil: Clay, gravelly, rocky, sand.
Moisture: Dry.
Benefits: Larval food for sulphur and
duskywing butterflies. Duskywing caterpillars
feed on leaves and live in shelters of rolled or
tied leaves. Fully-grown caterpillars hibernate.
Height: 10 inches tall.
Blooms: April to June.
Color: Bright yellow flowers followed by
curved seed pods.
Goldenpea is rhizomatous and forms colonies. It is a legume and fixes nitrogen in the soil.
Cloudy sulphur caterpillar and butterfly
Persius duskywing and caterpillar
Verbena (Verbena stricta)
Light: Full sun.
Soil: Sandy, loamy prairie soil.
Moisture: Moderate to dry.
Benefits: The seeds (four nutlets per flower) are a
staple for many small mammals and birds.
Height: Eight inch spikes of flowers.
Blooms: July to September. Readily self seeds.
Color: Deep purple to blue flowers.
Yucca (Yucca glauca)
Light: Full sun.
Soil: Sandy loam, well-drained.
Moisture: Dry to medium.
Benefits: Larval food for Strecker’s giant
skipper. Caterpillars burrow into the
rootstock. Source of larval and adult food
for the Yucca moth.
Height: One to 3 feet tall and wide.
Blooms: June to August.
Color: White and green flowers,
evergreen spiky foliage, red fruits.
Strecker’s giant skipper
Overwinters as caterpillar in
a hollowed-out gallery in the
yucca rootstock.
Yucca moth: its white wings blend in with the creamy blossoms
of the yucca plants they pollinate. The larvae are reddish-pink
and pudgy with no distinct patterns.
Life History and Reproduction: Male and female yucca moths
mate in the spring. Once they’ve mated, the male’s lifecycle is
complete, but the female must prepare to lay her eggs. A female
moth visits flowers of a yucca plant and removes pollen from the
plant’s anthers. She uses special tentacles around her mouth to
carry the clump of pollen to another flower on a different plant.
After assuring that no other females have visited the flower, she
deposits the pollen on the flower’s stigma, which fertilizes it. With this work done, she lays her
eggs in the flower. When the eggs hatch, the fertilized flowers will have produced seeds and
fruit for the caterpillars to eat. The caterpillars retreat to the soil to cocoon over winter, and the
remaining uneaten plant seeds are dispersed by rodents. Without the moths, the yucca plants
would lose their only pollinators, and without the plants, the moths would lose their food
source. Each depends on the other for survival.
Fun Fact: Yucca moths rarely lay eggs in flowers that other females have already used. If they
did, too many caterpillars would hatch inside one flower, and there wouldn’t be enough food for
them all.
**Don’t use any pesticides in your garden; pesticides kill all insects – butterflies, bees, and
other pollinators as well as any “pest.” Try to minimize the use of herbicides since they
very easily drift to your other plants. And avoid fertilizer except for an organic one at
initial planting. These native plants are adapted to the soils and conditions described; too
much water and fertilizer will kill them.**