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Wildflower Week 2023 is a Wrap

Wildflowers spotted during NSA's road trip to Western Nebraska

From North Platte, Alliance, Hemingford and Chadron to Scottsbluff, Gering and Ogallala, the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum team covered a lot of ground to celebrate Wildflower Week 2023 last week.

Nebraska Wildflower Week was founded in 2006 by the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum and is celebrated each year during the first full week in June as a way to increase awareness and appreciation of wildflowers and native plants in both the wild and in our own backyards through an array of events and activities across Nebraska. The Nebraska celebration followed in the footsteps of National Wildflower Week, which was launched in 1987 by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Texas.

“One of the beautiful things about wildflowers is that they can be discovered and enjoyed right in our own neighborhoods and communities – alongside roads, paths and trails; in meadows and parks; in wooded areas and in open prairie,” said Bob Henrickson, NSA’s horticulture program coordinator. “Their natural resilience and their ability to thrive even in the toughest environments makes them accessible to just about everyone, if we are willing to open our eyes and notice them.”

For the past several years, NSA staff has road tripped to Western Nebraska to host a variety of Wildflower Week events. This year we offered a plant talk and guided wildflower hike at Chadron State Park, which was attended by more than 60 people, including a group of 4H campers. Staff also visited residents at Hemingford Care Center, where we had planted a pollinator garden during Wildflower Week in 2022; partnered with Community Ever Green House in Gering to plant 18 raised beds with perennials; hosted a Members & Friends Gathering at Papa Moon Vineyards in Scottsbluff; hosted a plant sale in Gering; and presented a talk  in Ogallala to members of the Federated Garden Club of Nebraska about how to design a pollinator garden. We also explored Scotts Bluff National Monument and spotted a variety of wildflowers both in Western Nebraska and on our trip through the Sandhills on route to Chadron.

“As a statewide organization, we enjoy the opportunity to connect with our partners, members and friends in Western Nebraska as well as the beauty and uniqueness of the natural surroundings,” said Hanna Pinneo, executive director of NSA. “We look forward to Wildflower Week every year."

Photo caption: Native wildflowers spotted during NSA's Wildflower Week road trip to western Nebraska included (clockwise from top left)pincushion cactus (Mammillaria), cowboy's delight (Sphaeralcea coccinea), greenthread (Thelesperma filifolium), slender wildparsley (Musineon tenuifolium), sego lily (Calochortus nuttallii), shell leaf penstemon (Penstemon grandiflorus), perky Sue (Hymenoxys scaposa), rock sandwort (Sabulina michauxii) and (center) hairy pucuun (Lithospermum caroliniense).