From "Abronia to Zinnia, Jewels of the Plains" describes the natural history and garden merits of more than five hundred Great Plains wildflowers. Considered the authoritative guide by native plant enthusiasts and horticulturists, it captures the unique beauty, resilience, and variety of wildflowers in the Great Plains.
Claude A. Barr did not set out to be a writer. In 1910, he homesteaded 160 acres of prairie in the southwest corner of South Dakota, intending to become a farmer. Despite challenging conditions, Barr fell in love with the land and its native flora. He began contributing profiles of plains wildflowers to gardening magazines, which precipitated requests for seed and led him to start a mail-order nursery, Prairie Gem Ranch. What began as a Depression-era sideline eventually gained a worldwide clientele, and Barr became a respected ambassador for the wildflowers of this part of the American landscape.
Decades of observing plants in the wild and growing them for his nursery, as well as careful study of scientific sources, gave Barr unequaled knowledge that culminated in this acclaimed book. Wonderfully written and deeply researched, "Jewels of the Plains "is more than a field guide or how-to manual. It s a pioneering text on native plant horticulture that details plant life on the prairie in the voice of one with intimate familiarity with the subject. Each description reads like a mini nature essay, giving insight into both the plants and Barr s engaging personality.
Edited to incorporate new scientific information, this edition includes an Introduction and supplemental notes by botanist and horticulturalist James H. Locklear. He places Barr s remarkable life and work in historic and scientific context, illuminating his accomplishments from a fresh perspective.