Friday, June 03, 2011

Gumbo Lilies on the prairie...

They are blooming on the prairie -- the Gumbo Lilies for which this blog is named.  They come up in spring and are usually blooming in full force by now but since we've had a colder-than-usual spring, they are a bit late in coming out.  Usually the gumbo lilies only last through June and disappear when the hot sun starts to beat down.  I just love the native prairie this time of year.  Do you see the cracks in the ground?  That's the soil we call "gumbo" which is a heavy clay soil -- the only type of soil these particular lilies grow.  It's slippery when wet and turns hard and cracks when it dries out.  The Gumbo Lily, or gumbo evening primrose,  is found in the northern Great Plains primarily on nearly barren clay banks, buttes, and badlands.  Flowers are about 3 inches across and have four petals which are white and fade to pink.  They are open in the early morning light and close shortly after the first direct sunlight and open again toward sunset.  Gumbo Lily is pollinated by night-flying insects. 

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Click picture to enlarge it.

S. and I went out to the sheep yesterday to take care of some problems.  There was one yearling ewe that was on her back, stuck in the wet gumbo, and couldn't get up.  There were a couple other ewes that we think might have had grass tetany.  It's a condition that happens when the grass grows very rapidly and has very little magnesium in it.  The animals eat a lot of it and go down, bloat, and usually die.  The guys gave some calcium/magnesium in the flank to the ewes and they bounced right back within an hour or two.  S. and I took them back out to the others.  I thought you might enjoy a picture of the sheep grazing out on the wide-open prairie.  I absolutely love the smell of the sagebrush, and to see it so green and lush makes me (and the sheep) very happy.  The lambs are really growing and so are the wildflowers.

14 comments:

  1. I love that sagebrush smell!
    It's good to hear and see where your blog name originated - the Gumbo Lily is clearly related to the Mexican Evening Primrose we have in our front yard.

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  2. Thanks for that wonderful lesson on the gumbo lily! That was interesting. I've never seen one, but I do know that slick, cracked clay soil. That's what we have in the South too, except it's more red in color. Not easy to garden in!

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  3. Glad you were able to save the ewes. So much to know and learn on the prairie...

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  4. we have these prairie lilies here in our high desert climate and yes the soil is "rich" in clay. not to good for gardening (without lots of ammending) but fabulous if you happen to be a potter (which i am not).

    i recognise that sagebrush too. in fact, i'm quite curious about your location as it does look similar to my own surroundings: other than the lack of mountains (at least in this shot).

    mostly cattle ranchers around here but there are some sheep ranchers too.

    i agree; it's interesting to hear where your blog name originates from.

    have a beautiful weekend.

    :-)
    libbyQ

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  5. we have these prairie lilies here in our high desert climate and yes the soil is "rich" in clay. not to good for gardening (without lots of ammending) but fabulous if you happen to be a potter (which i am not).

    i recognise that sagebrush too. in fact, i'm quite curious about your location as it does look similar to my own surroundings: other than the lack of mountains (at least in this shot).

    mostly cattle ranchers around here but there are some sheep ranchers too.

    i agree; it's interesting to hear where your blog name originates from.

    have a beautiful weekend.

    :-)
    libbyQ

    ReplyDelete
  6. At the beginning of your post I was thinking these lilies look a bit like our evening primrose and low and behold they are related. We have them in various colors...white, soft pink and a hot pink that is much smaller. I would love some hot pink ones growing in my yard!

    So glad the sheep bounced back. When an animal dies what do you do with it? Do you bury it? You guys are hard workers, that is for sure!

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  7. The Great Plains. Oh my. Is the air hot? Does the sky go on forever? Gosh- wonderment from the seamed suburbs!

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  8. Oh, Jody-friend, you make my heart soar. Is it okay if I print that picture for my Pom Pom office wall? I had no idea gumbo lilies existed. I feel very happy to know about them.

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  9. An interesting read today Jody, thank you. I think I want to be a gumbo lily on your ranch ;) x

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  10. I wondered where the name Gumbo Lily came from....I thought maybe it was a New Orleans reference of some kind..What a beautiful flower! (and what a beautiful blog!)
    Angie

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  11. Well, I declare, I never knew there was such a thing as a Gumbo Lily flower. I thought maybe that was the name of your blog because you liked lilies and gumbo ;). They are so very pretty!
    I am sorry to hear some of your sheep are having troubles, but so glad to know they've recovered!
    Blessings,
    GG

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  12. I always wondered where this blog name came from! Very interesting story; thanks.

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  13. How fun to learn about your blog's namesake. It all looks so beautiful. And I love that you love and appreciate the sagebrush!

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  14. Um, Jody, where are all the trees?

    As always, I love when you talk prairie talk! And it's wonderful to see what a gumbo lily looks like. It's a beautiful thing!

    xofrances

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