After canceling two events, Old Prairie Town prepares for its new Garden Glow event – Entertainment – The Topeka Capital-Journal

For the past several months, Ward-Meade Garden at Old Prairie Town has been quiet as guests have meandered through the garden, taking in the green foliage and blooming flowers.

But what has been missing are the twinkling lights and large luminaries that many associate with Tulips at Twilight and the Tulip Festival — two annual events that were canceled this year because of COVID-19.

Park officials also canceled the annual Apple Festival, which draws a large crowd of people each year eager to watch demonstrations and eat apples.

“Apple Festival is the biggest event that we have here, and we see on a good year between 6,000 and 8,000 visitors throughout the park at that time,” Old Prairie Town recreation program supervisor John Bell said. “We hated to cancel the 41st annual Apple Festival. It is a fall tradition in many people’s schedules and it’s something that they come out here year after year with their friends and family.”

As a way to make up for those losses, Ward-Meade officials have created a new event that will allow for guests to once again experience an illuminating garden with less interaction and more social distancing in mind.

Garden Glow, which takes place from 7-10 p.m. Oct. 2-11, will feature luminaries, lighted displays and seasonal plants.

Admission is $5, and guests are strongly encouraged to abide by Shawnee County’s face mask requirement.

Because of restrictions on mass gatherings, Ward-Meade has limited the number of people allowed inside at any given time to 400, Bell said.

“We will have volunteers at the gate counting, and then once we get to that 400 number, it will be a one in, one out restriction,” Bell said. “In the garden area, the paths are a little smaller and things can get congested, so we are going to have a directional path flow so that everybody will hopefully enter one path and exit another path.”

Garden Glow will feature several large displays similar to what visitors see during Tulips at Twilight.

“This year we had new displays we were unable to put out because of COVID, so nobody has seen a lot of those,” Bell said. “So this will be an opportunity to not only see some of the past favorites but we have some new displays as well.”

Some of the new displays will include butterflies, ladybugs and frogs.

Those visiting during Garden Glow will also be able to see the hundreds of annuals and trees in bloom.

“It’s different in fall because everything is blooming,” Bell said. “In April, it’s pretty much just the tulips.”

Given COVID-19 restrictions, Garden Glow will be the only large event that Old Prairie Town hosts this year, Bell said.

“The community has seen so many big events get canceled due to COVID,” Bell said. “We wanted to give the community something because at this point, I think the citizens need something to see and experience. We’ve had so many subtractions regarding activities and events. We wanted to give them

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Prairie House sees 6 new employee coronavirus cases

Published


Six more cases of the coronavirus were reported among employees at the Prairie House Living Center in Plainview.

According to the latest numbers provided by the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, which were last updated on Sept. 3, Prairie House has reported 27 total cases of the virus among its employees. Six of those cases were still active through Sept. 3.

Ten of the 58 total reported cases among residents were active through the latest reporting day. Fifteen residents have died and 32 have recovered from the virus in the facility.


The Plainview Healthcare Center had no active cases of the virus with 19 total reported cases.

No active cases were reported for Castro, Floyd or Swisher County nursing facilities as of Sept. 3.

Zero cases of the virus have been reported at either Beehive Homes of Plainview or Santa Fe Place as of the latest reporting date.



The Beehive Homes of Shepherd’s Meadow in Floydada had 12 total active cases of the virus – seven among employees and five among residents.

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Omaha officer finds peace in huge prairie garden

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — When Kim Pecha can’t immediately find her husband, she knows exactly where to look.

Michael Pecha will be outside in his prairie garden, bent over to study a caterpillar or butterfly.

“Behind 3- or 4-foot tall flowers, she will see my head pop up,” Pecha told the Omaha World-Herald.

Pecha has plenty of tall plants to hide behind. After lots of thought, this spring he expanded his two garden beds to cover 3,000 square feet of his front yard.


Little did the veteran Omaha police officer know it would be a saving grace in a tumultuous summer.

“It has brought me joy and stress relief and has had a bigger impact than I ever expected,” he said.

Pecha has planted about 90 species of native grasses and flowers on his Elkhorn property. He meticulously records everything he grows on a spreadsheet, including where it’s planted, if it’s native and where it originated.



Purple coneflower, butterfly milkweed, anise hyssop, snow-on-the-mountain, blazing star, cardinal flower, Illinois bundleflower and sideoats grama are his favorites.

“I’ve gone a little overboard with 3,000 square feet of my lawn converted to prairie,” he said, “but anyone can set aside a little section of their landscaping and plant native plants and play a role in protecting and benefiting the planet.”


Pecha’s show-stopping display is all because of a tree that fell in his front yard several years ago, leaving behind a huge pile of sawdust and wood chips. Pecha couldn’t decide what to do with the area, so he purchased seed and scattered it. He even used the Save the Bees packets from Cheerios cereal boxes.


He collected seeds from those plants at summer’s end, and the next year, he tossed them in a second plot. Last spring, he decided to dive in completely. He switched to planting plugs and brought in more native species with seeds from Stock Seed Farm in Murdock, Nebraska, and Prairie Moon Nursery in Minnesota.

“It became more than being outside,” he said. “I wanted to do something for nature. The bees and butterflies and birds.”

Pecha always has been an outdoor enthusiast. But with the arrival of two children, exciting mountain hikes turned into easier trips to Glacier Creek Preserve in Bennington and nearby state parks.


He started to develop a deeper connection to and love for the prairie and its plants and what people consider flyover country.

He connected with “A Sand County Almanac” by Aldo Leopold, “A New Garden Ethic” by Benjamin Vogt and writings by native plant guru and author Doug Tallamy. Pecha also was inspired by the photographs of Michael Forsberg and Chris Helzer of the Nature Conservancy.

“I just kind of decided I felt like being part of the solution,” Pecha said.

Now his mini-prairie is flourishing — and a home for local wildlife. It brings joy not just to him, but to his family and people in his walker-friendly neighborhood, who often stop to take pictures.

“My daughter, Ruby, and her

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Omaha officer finds peace in huge prairie garden | Nebraska news

“I’ve gone a little overboard with 3,000 square feet of my lawn converted to prairie,” he said, “but anyone can set aside a little section of their landscaping and plant native plants and play a role in protecting and benefiting the planet.”

Pecha’s show-stopping display is all because of a tree that fell in his front yard several years ago, leaving behind a huge pile of sawdust and wood chips. Pecha couldn’t decide what to do with the area, so he purchased seed and scattered it. He even used the Save the Bees packets from Cheerios cereal boxes.

He collected seeds from those plants at summer’s end, and the next year, he tossed them in a second plot. Last spring, he decided to dive in completely. He switched to planting plugs and brought in more native species with seeds from Stock Seed Farm in Murdock, Nebraska, and Prairie Moon Nursery in Minnesota.

“It became more than being outside,” he said. “I wanted to do something for nature. The bees and butterflies and birds.”

Pecha always has been an outdoor enthusiast. But with the arrival of two children, exciting mountain hikes turned into easier trips to Glacier Creek Preserve in Bennington and nearby state parks.

He started to develop a deeper connection to and love for the prairie and its plants and what people consider flyover country.

Source Article

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Prairie garden brings joy, stress relief to Omaha police officer | Home & Garden

When Kim Pecha can’t immediately find her husband, she knows exactly where to look.

Michael Pecha will be outside in his prairie garden, bent over to study a caterpillar or butterfly.

“Behind 3- or 4-foot tall flowers, she will see my head pop up,” Pecha said.

Pecha has plenty of tall plants to hide behind. After lots of thought, this spring he expanded his two garden beds to cover 3,000 square feet of his front yard.

Little did the veteran Omaha police officer know it would be a saving grace in a tumultuous summer.

“It has brought me joy and stress relief and has had a bigger impact than I ever expected,” he said.

Pecha has planted about 90 species of native grasses and flowers on his Elkhorn property. He meticulously records everything he grows on a spreadsheet, including where it’s planted, if it’s native and where it originated.



20200829_liv_marjgardencolumn_pic_cm003

Omaha police officer Michael Pecha uses a spreadsheet to keep track of everything he’s planted.




Purple coneflower, butterfly milkweed, anise hyssop, snow-on-the-mountain, blazing star, cardinal flower, Illinois bundleflower and sideoats grama are his favorites.

“I’ve gone a little overboard with 3,000 square feet of my lawn converted to prairie,” he said, “but anyone can set aside a little section of their landscaping and plant native plants and play a role in protecting and benefiting the planet.”

Source Article

Read more