Welcome to my zone 9 garden. My roots are deeply planted in the sandy soil of sub-tropical central Florida, where the summers are long and hot, but the rest of the year is paradise!

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Old West Roadtrip - South Dakota

South Dakota was the last state on our trip out west. One might wonder what there is to see or do in South Dakota . . . since it's not one of those states on most people's bucket list. Let me tell you . . . if you ever get the chance to visit South Dakota . . . DON'T pass it up! Not only is there Mount Rushmore but there is the Black Hills and the Badlands, and plenty of beautiful scenery throughout the state.

I was surprised to see milkweed growing throughout Mount Rushmore National Memorial Park. I guess the government is getting serious about helping Monarch butterflies.

I was also surprised to see that the park had a natural landscape. Native grasses and wildflowers were growing everywhere. Absolutely, no manicured landscapes or lawns anywhere to be found.

I liked the "natural look" and was glad to see that times are a changing. Now if only we could see more of this in Florida. Just imagine how the insects must love taking cover in these grasses, sipping nectar from the wildflowers.  

Now, on to the BEST part, at least for me, of South Dakota - - the Badlands!! What a spectacular place. Wide open prairie land . . . as far as the eyes can see . . . covered in beautiful native grasses and wildflowers. What a feast for the eyes!!!

Forgot to mention there's also ROCK and plenty of it. Here's another variety of native grass. I believe I read that they have something like 23 varieties of native grasses.

The photos of the prairies that follow will look as though each has been landscaped, but it is all growing naturally. It is an absolutely stunning portrait of nature's unique and diverse beauty!


As a gardener, I was fascinated by the prairie. My idea of gardening has been changing in the past years, with a lean toward a more natural type of home landscape. So, needless to say, the wheels in my head were churning and turning as I stored idea after idea into my brain. Look at this adorable grass! 

Sunflowers grow wild alongside the roads.

 Oh, and don't forget about the ROCK. It's not that gorgeous red color . . . it's a soft shade of sand with some shell pink blended in. And the grasses contrasted with the color of the rock is perfect. Each one enhancing the beauty of the other.

Morning glories weaving themselves through the grasses.

Not sure what I envisioned when I thought of the Badlands, but I definitely never expected them to be this beautiful.

An added bonus were the Big Horn Sheep that graze on the prairies.

Another variety of native grass in bloom.

Another stunning wildflower fitting in perfectly.

The vast vistas of the west are truly amazing.

More beautiful grasses. It reminds me of a landscape painting.

These rocks look like ancient sand castles that would wash away from a rain shower.

A little more color ~ warm terracotta and buttery yellow ~ at the base of these hills


Our trip is over and it's a long road home, but we will always have wonderful memories of the West.

The world is a beautiful place!

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