Inspire(d) Fall 2021

Page 22





“It’s by the river. It’s a quiet, isolated part of town. The prairie itself is beautiful, and there’s a nice sense of community there,” she says. A free, self-guided tour map, available at the garden and on the Decorah Community Prairie website, spotlights more than 60 plants that thrive in the park. That list includes everything from prairie rose and pale purple coneflower to showy goldenrod, wild bergamot and foxglove beardtongue. Some perennials, like the towering compass plant, have roots that can reach more than 15 feet into the soil. Blue-eyed grass, on the other hand, might top out at six inches tall. At the height of summer, white wild indigo tends to dominate the landscape. In the fall, at least a dozen different species typically bloom in vibrant shades of yellow. The Upper Iowa River sometimes washes logs and sand into the prairie, and heavy rains can rearrange the terrain. After floodwaters receded in 2008, for example, Jerri and her fellow volunteers spent several years supporting plants that reestablished themselves in the butterfly garden. Decorah Park-Rec crews regularly weed out cottonwoods, locusts and other invasive trees, as well. Through their combined efforts, garden caretakers aim to keep the Decorah Community Prairie a welcoming place for native plants, pollinators, and people for many years to come. “It’s difficult to decide whether you want it to be well-known or not, because it’s such a secluded, peaceful spot,” Jerri says. “An oasis in the city.” Renee Brincks ( writes about travel, parks, and small producers. Her favorite plant in Decorah’s prairie is the smooth blue aster.




IF YOU GO To reach the Decorah Community Prairie and Butterfly Garden, take 5th Avenue to Ohio Street and head south toward the Upper Iowa River. Near the Aase Haugen property, follow the narrow drive that crosses over the dike. Parking is available in the lot near the butterfly garden. For more information, and for a printable prairie and butterfly map, please visit



GET INVOLVED! Volunteers gather at the Decorah Community Prairie and Butterfly Garden from 9 to 11 am, each Tuesday between May and October. Whether you’re new to wildflowers or have years of gardening experience, you can help weed, water, mulch, and maintain the native plants that pollinators depend on. Volunteers can also take part in the prairie’s Adopt-APlant program, caring for a particular species throughout the growing season. To learn more, contact the Decorah Parks and Recreation office at 563-382-4158 or


Specializing in

Angie Herrmann

David Finholt

COME VISIT OUR SHOWROOM | 1813 Trout Run Road Decorah | 563-382-9360 | 22

Fall 2021 /

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