Sally sat with Bill under the shade of an old tree. Since this was the only tree for a mile, they often rested here when the sun was high in the sky. Seed and plant catalogs were spread out around them.
Last year, at the end of the summer, they had visited a prairie with a naturalist who had shown them all sorts of wonderful plants. After their visit, Sally and Bill decided they wanted to plant a prairie garden in the spring. They talked their plans over with the naturalist who helped them select plants that would grow well in their garden.
They had spent all winter carefully planning the plants for their prairie garden. Sally liked the bright yellow and orange flowers, especially the ones that stood tall and towering over everything. Bill especially liked the blazing coneflowers.
When they were done, they still looked through the catalogs and books admiring all the colorful flowers.
They had chosen their plants and ordered them several months ago. Finally, they had gotten a call from the nursery that their plants would be ready in the afternoon.
Miss Martha, the nursery owner, knew that Sally and Bill had been waiting anxiously for the plants. She had everything wrapped and ready for them when they came bursting through the door.
Sally and Bill carefully checked the seedlings with their list. Everything was there.
Miss Martha helped them put all the seedlings in the wagons attached to their bikes. When all the seedlings looked like they were safe, Sally and Bill took off for home.
They rode carefully avoiding any big bumps or holes in the road. Usually they rode as fast as they could, but today they rode slowly, especially around the corners. When they got home they hadn't lost a single plant. A few seedlings in Sally's wagon had tipped over, and there was some loose dirt in the bottom of Bill's wagon.
They decided to sort out all of the plants according to the map they had drawn in the winter.
They went inside to invite their friends to come over to help with planting the next morning.
The next morning, Madeline was the first to arrive. She brought her watering cans and trowels for digging.
Emma and Ryan were next, bringing two jugs of water to drink as everyone worked.
Taylor and Jacob brought more trowels to help with the digging.
Sally and Bill brought all the plants out under the shade of the big tree.
They showed their garden map to their friends. Everyone took one area of the map to work on.
In the damp soil, they dug deep holes for the plants. They spaced them far enough away from each other so that the plants wouldn't get in each others way, once they were grown.
They put one plant in every hole, watered them and covered them with lots of dirt. Sally, Bill, Madeline, Emma, Ryan, Taylor, and Jacob lay beneath the shade of the tree resting and day dreaming about the prairie garden they had planted.
The plants quickly grew taller and bushier.
Sally, Bill, and their friends swam in the pond, rode their bikes, canoed, and drank lots of lemonade. Before they knew it, their plants came up to their waists. Some were almost as tall as they were. The compass plant bloomed, along with the goldenrods, and the New England asters. They were all amazed at how quickly these beautiful plants had grown from tiny seedlings.
Everyone enjoyed the brightly colored flowers along with the butterflies and birds that came to visit the garden. More and more flowers kept blooming until summer turned into fall. Plants continued to flower into autumn, until all the plants had flowered and began to turn into dry stalks. The children had fun running their hands along the seeds that hung from the stalks. The seeds fell to the ground to be planted for next year.
Soon snow covered the prairie garden. The seeds would rest under the snow and bring new surprises next year. Sally and Bill could already imagine what their garden would look like next year.
They read their books and looked at their catalogs and dreamed of the hot sun shining on their prairie garden.
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