We didn't want a vast sterile lawn around our building, so we're creating an oak savannah, the kind of landscape that Iowa had before all the draining and tiling and cutting and scraping. I've planted scores of bare root swamp white oaks (the kind that seem to do the best here), native viburnum, choke cherry, service berry, dog wood. They are growing in the unmowed area, which we seeded with prairie forbes and grasses. It's a rough rendition and a work in process, but every year we get more blooms and tall grasses flourishing where once there was raw scraped earth from construction. Now there is habitat for all kinds of critters and I get an interesting variety of birds at the feeder just outside my window. Later this summer we may get migrating monarch butterflies, as we did last year and the year before. Here are a few blooms from this morning.