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The Claude A. Barr Memorial
Great Plains Garden

Yes, cattle and a healthy native plant ecosystem can co-exist.
Photo taken on Linda's ranch in 2010 by South Dakota photographer Greg Latza.

What's Here?

This website page is still under construction; check back periodically to see what new text and photos have been posted.

Last updates: January 24th, 2011.

Great Plains Garden Overview
Includes contact information for the Great Plains Native Plant Society so that you, too, may become a member and help support this garden.

Resurrection of a log cabin
The visitor center building is taking shape.

Who in the World Is Claude A. Barr?
A bit about Claude A. Barr, for whom the garden is named.
Coming soon . . .

Transplanting Horsetail
Linda rescues a living fossil. A story and photos.

How Does Your Garden Grow?
A list of plants found in the Great Plains Garden.
Coming soon . . .

Great Plains Garden Overview

In 2001, Linda, along with the Great Plains Native Plant Society, dedicated the Claude A. Barr Memorial Great Plains Garden.

The garden will preserve white penstemon, red globe mallow, lanceleaf bluebells, golden pincushion cactus and dozens of other native plants on 350 acres of Linda’s ranch.

A log cabin is being re-assembled on the site to serve as a visitor center.

Once the Society has surveyed and labeled plants and installed walkways and other conveniences, the site will be open to the public.

Donations to the GPNPS help fund this project-- the first public garden to be founded specifically for the display of native plains plants. Members of the GPNPS receive a quarterly newsletter and may participate in field trips and seed exchanges. Volunteers to help at the Great Plains Garden site are greatly appreciated.

For more information:

Great Plains Native Plant Society
PO Box 461
Hot Springs SD 57747

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Linda admires the new cabin floor.

Resurrection of a Log Cabin

An old log cabin was disassembled and moved from an undisclosed location east of Linda's ranch to become the Great Plains Garden visitor center.

After the foundation was laid, a concrete floor was poured. The concrete was dyed and stamped to look like wooden planks.

Sorting the timbers.

Volunteers sorted the labeled logs.

Over time the logs were lifted back into place to rebuild the four walls.

Only once was a rattlesnake encountered under a pile of timbers.

For more information:

See many photos of the cabin re-building at the Great Plains Native Plant Society website www.gpnps.org.

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Claude Barr's book Jewels of the Plains.

Who in the World is Claude A. Barr?

A bit about Claude A. Barr, for whom the garden is named.

Coming soon . . .

Linda digging horsetail from the pasture road.

Transplanting Horsetail

In August, 2009, Linda found some horsetail growing in a dirt road along the edge of a dry hayfield and pasture. Perhaps it had been a good place for the plant in 2007 when the area flooded after an afternoon of torrential rains, but now the plant was in danger of death by drivers or dryness.

Horsetail (genus Equisetum) is an ancient plant, a "living fossil." It is the only remaining genus in the Equisetaceae, a family of plants that reproduce by spores rather than seeds. Hundreds of millions of years ago, during the Paleozoic Era, horsetail relatives were numerous and diverse, dominating the understory of the forests even before the time of the dinosaurs. Some plants were large and tree-like, growing up to 100 feet tall. These plants are part of what created coal deposits around the world.

The genus name Equisetum is from the Latin equus ("horse") and seta ("bristle"). I suppose the plant looks as much like a horse's tail as do many other clumps of straggly grass-like plants.

Horsetail is also sometimes called "scouring-rush" because of its rush-like appearance, and the abrasive silicates that coat its stems. The plant can be used for scouring (scrubbing) metal items such as cooking pots.

Horsetail ready to transplant.

Linda dug the horsetail and transplanted it into her rock garden by Windbreak House. Despite a hard, cold winter the horsetail lived. During the summer of 2010 it thrived right by the drip spout of the Rain Tank that collects rain from the Windbreak House roof and is used to water the rock garden and plants in the raised bed near the house.

The extremely short shovel Linda is using in the photo is George's trenching tool from his Air Force days. He always carried it in his car in case of a need to put out a fire or dig something. Linda has carried it in her vehicles since he died. It has a spike on one end for trenching, plus the shovel. Linda has collected a lot of wild plants with it, and used it to fight a couple of fires, not to mention digging holes for personal relief in remote areas.

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Horsetail Disclaimer

Please take note that Linda was digging the horsetail on her own property, moving one specific plant that was in danger of being destroyed (other horsetail plants nearby were left alone). Please do not collect seeds or dig up plants unless you have permission of the landowner, and then do so responsibly with an awareness of the continued survival of the species and maintaining biological diversity. Thank you.

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Flowering prairie plants
on Linda's ranch, 1998.

Photo thanks to Cindy French.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

A list of plants found in the Great Plains Garden.

Coming soon . . .