Our list of Nebraska’s Nicest would not be complete without a mention of the wildflowers and prairie grasses of Nebraska. Throughout our more than 1,200-mile journey across the state, we saw extraordinary displays of colorful flowers growing on the roadsides, near the bluffs, and across wide spans of fields.
We found ourselves continuously oohing and awing at the site of natural grasses and wildflowers and after several, “I wish I could have had a picture of that,” statements from me, Steve began stopping car and pulling over to the side of the road whenever we passed an exceptionally bright spot.
We encountered A LOT of what we think was goldenrod or yellow sweet clover throughout the week and about half way through our journey, we had to make a quick stop at a local drug store for Benadryl and Kleenex, as both of us have terrible allergies and sadly, are both seemingly quite allergic to our beloved and beautiful state flower. Despite a lot of sneezing and watery eyes, the displays of vibrant colors we witnessed were breathtaking and a real highlight of our trip.
While we haven’t identified all of the wildflowers we saw on our journey, we’ve been able to identify some with the help of a nice brochure about roadside vegetation produced by the Nebraska Department of Roads. The brochure includes lots of pictures of native flowers and grasses and explains how the NDOR has developed a plan to promote the use of native plants species that are more likely to thrive in the different regions of the state. There is a great map of roadside vegetation on their website and it’s worth checking out.
As we drove back to our home in the southeast part of the state, open fields of prairie grass and wildflowers turned to even greener landscapes of corn and soybeans. Our sinuses gradually dried up, and there were fewer and fewer roadside stops to take pictures. By the time we hit Norfolk, we weren’t oohing and awing as much at the scenery, but when we got home, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the wildflower bed in our own back yard had come into full bloom while we were away. Quickly — I grabbed the camera.