For us of the minority, the opportunity to see geese is more important than television, and the chance to see a pasqueflower is a right as inalienable as free speech. — Aldo Leopold
Wildflowers are an important part of any region’s identity. Nebraska Wildflower Week celebrates this “sense of place” through wildflower-related events and activities the first week in June, when many of Nebraska’s prairies and gardens are at their prime.
The Nebraska Statewide Arboretum serves as coordinator for Wildflower Week activities, bringing together organizations and individuals across the state that recognize the value of wildflowers—not only for their beauty but also for what they imply and symbolize. “Where wildflowers are thriving, it is a sign that the environment is healthy,” said Bob Henrickson, whose nursery production work with the arboretum concentrates on native and regionally appropriate plants. Opportunities for wildflower enthusiasts across the state include guided tours, presentations on wildflower plantings, exhibits, prairie runs, and much more.
2014 Wildflower Week Events
May 30–June 8 near Harrison. Agate Fossil Beds National Monument “Wildflower Walks” every morning at ten as staffing permits, June 1 and 8 “Wildflower Talk” at two p.m. in the visitor center followed by a walk. 308-668-2211 or 308-436-9760, agfo_ranger_activities[at]nps[dot]gov, www.nps.gov/agfo.
May 30–June 8 in Beatrice. Beatrice Public Library Arboretum will have a display of books and information on wildflowers plus small packets of assorted wildflower seeds and ornamental grasses as giveaways in conjunction with a free seed collection library started in March. With the help of Master Gardeners and others, more than two thousand packets of seeds have been given away. 402-239-4781, www.beatrice.ne.gov/library/.
May 30–June 8 near Burwell. Calamus Outfitters “Sandhills Safari Jeep Tours” daily eight to eight. Directions to location at www.calamusoutfitters.com. 308-346-4697, hbswitzer[at]nctc[dot]net.
May 31 near Ceresco. “Darby Springs Farm Prairie Walk through the Saline Wetlands of Saunders County,” starting at eight and occurring throughout the day, sponsored by Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society. 402-525-7794, healthyfarms[at]gmail[dot]com.
June 1 in Bellevue. “Family Sundays in the Forest—Wildflower Walk” from one to three p.m. at Fontenelle Forest. 402-731-3140, info[at]fontenelleforest[dot]org, fontenelleforest.org.
June 1 near Denton. “Spring Creek Prairie Wildflower Walk”—see and learn about native plants with botanist Kay Kottas from three thirty to four thirty p.m. 402-797-2301, SCP[at]audubon[dot]org, http://springcreekprairie.audubon.org/public-programs.
June 3 in Lincoln. “Jazz in June” tour of perennial gardens at UNL Botanical Gardens and Arboretum, city campus at six p.m. led by park planner and garden designer Mark Canney, with a focus on attracting pollinators, incorporating native plants, and extending bloom period and seasonal interest. 402-472-1229, susan[dot]budler[at]unl[dot]edu, www.jazzinjune.com.
June 4 in Wayne. “Gardening with Prairie Plants” presentation and tour of the Wayne State College campus from six thirty to eight p.m. 402-375-7384, kischra1[at]wsc[dot]edu.
June 5–7 near Red Cloud. “Wildflower Walk” June 7 at two p.m. and the 2014 Willa Cather Conference, “Mapping Literary Landscapes: Environments and Ecosystems,” June 5–7. 866-731-7304, ttucker[at]willacather[dot]org, www.willacather.org.
June 6 in Lincoln. Opening for the “Modern Marvels” exhibition, depicting dogwood, poppies, tulips, daisies, and asters, from five thirty to seven p.m. at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum. The gardens, featuring native Nebraska plants and designed with quilts in mind, are open all week. 402-472-6549, iqsc[at]unl[dot]edu, www.quiltstudy.org/.
June 7 near Marquette. “Griffith Prairie Fun Run” sponsored by Prairie Plains Resource Institute. Walk or run the 5K or 10K course with native prairie wildflowers in bloom. Check in at eight thirty for nine a.m. run. 402-694-5535, amyppri[at]hamilton[dot]net, www.prairieplains.org.
June 7 in Lincoln. “Wildflower Tour and Sale” hosted by Nebraska Statewide Arboretum from nine till noon. 402-472-2971, rhenrickson1[at]unl[dot]edu, arboretum.unl.edu/plant-sales.
June 7 near Wood River. “Platte River Prairies Volunteer Work Day” sponsored by The Nature Conservancy. Bring gloves to help with seed harvesting, native plant nursery work, and invasive species control at Platte Prairies from nine to noon. 402-694-4191, mjasnowski[at]tnc[dot]org, www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/united states/nebraska/volunteer/index.htm.
June 7 in Omaha. “Pollination Ramble” at Lauritzen Gardens ten to eleven thirty a.m. and one to two thirty p.m. Celebrate Nebraska Wildflower Week by exploring the amazing world of pollination and hearing stories about pollinators on walking tour through the gardens led by director of conservation Jim Locklear. Free to members or with garden admission. Advance registration requested. 402-346-4002 ext. 263, www.surveymonkey.com/s/8QVYRZP.
June 7 near Ceresco. “Darby Springs Farm Prairie Walk through the Saline Wetlands of Saunders County,” starting at eight and occurring throughout the day, sponsored by Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society. 402-525-7794, healthyfarms[at]gmail[dot]com.
June 8 near Unadilla. “Visit a Native Prairie” with Wachiska Audubon representatives from one to three p.m. at Dieken Prairie. arnold[at]mendenhall[at]gmail[at]com.
June 8 near Stanton. “Summer Wildcraft Walk & Harvest” by Rachel Liester, herbalist at Red Road Herbs, from one to three p.m. Guided walk to identify wild herbs with discussion on their uses as food and medicine. Wild herb tea and sample foods served. Price and preregistration at www.redroadherbs.com. 402-640-0744.
June 10 in Lincoln. “Jazz in June” tour of perennial gardens at UNL Botanical Gardens & Arboretum city campus at six p.m. 402-472-1229, susan[dot]budler[at]unl[dot]edu, www.jazzin june.com.
June 10 in Omaha. “Tempo of Twilight” summer series blends music and nature, featuring The Brits June 10 from six to eight p.m. at Lauritzen Gardens. Free to members or included with paid garden admission. For this Tuesday night concert series, guests are allowed to bring chairs, food, and beverages, and the café offers an abbreviated menu. www.lauritzengardens.org/Visit/Events_and_Exhibits/Tempo_of_Twilight/.