The Bible is full of analogies that use the Earth and its abundance to describe our God and His love for us. It also uses the imagery of farming, scattering seed and harvesting to illustrate our need to cooperate with God’s will, evangelize, die to ourselves and bear virtuous fruit through our actions.
On this feast of St. Francis of Assisi and during this wonderful harvest time of our crops and vegetable gardens, perhaps we are more attune to this connection with God’s creation and our role to be stewards of it.
Fall is also the perfect time to seed a native prairie. That is, of course, after you have prepared the site and removed all unwanted “weedy” species like crown vetch, wild parsnip and Queen Anne’s lace before you seed natives. It is just like our life of virtue in which we must clear a space for the Lord in our hearts and replace our habitual vices with acts of charity or other virtue. Prairie sites can be prepared in 3 primary ways; agricultural tilling, smothering with cardboard, or herbicide treatment.
Laudato Si’ Project has done many such restoration projects over the last 4 years including plantings on preserves, at schools, or for private landowners. The amazing thing about these native plants is their tremendous root systems, sometimes extending over 10 feet down. They seem to heed the Bible’s advice to put down deep roots of faith to avoid quickly abandoning God when hardship or suffering comes along. For a plant, this hardship would be the availability of water and their deep roots solve that very problem.
Everything growing on earth, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever. -Daniel 3:76
Prairies and butterfly gardens not only look beautiful but can have some other important benefits as well; like helping pollinators, increasing infiltration and reducing soil erosion. They are also great places to do educational programs, both in the planting of them but also throughout their life.
Below are pictures from various prairie projects we have done and the many students and volunteers that helped to make them happen. In the words of St. Francis of Assisi Laudato Si’ Mi Signore; Praise Be To You My Lord