Prairie gardens are a wonderful way to create some naturalistic flowering spaces in your garden. Reminiscent of the American Midwest, they are easy to maintain once planted and can add some wonderful colour to your outdoor space all year round.
What is a prairie garden?
Containing a mixture of grasses and flowering perennials, prairie gardens are reminiscent of the American Midwest. Considered to be ‘grassland’ garden areas, they are often used as borders in medium-sized gardens. Some larger gardens have been known to incorporate this style for a big impact space, however. They are also possible to achieve in smaller spaces.
Like a wildflower meadow, these offer a great deal of opportunity for local wildlife thanks to their nectar and pollen from late-flowering perennials, but also a protective shelter for other overwintering insects.
When to start a prairie garden
The best month to start planting is March. The soil is warming up and March has the best growing period to fully establish themselves in time for the cooler autumn months. It’s possible to plant until September, but warmer season grasses may struggle to establish.
Before deciding when to plant your seeds for your prairie garden, consider the seed mix you are using, or your custom seeds. Try to select seeds that have similar germination requirements, and also consider where your plants originate from.
Many prairie gardens feature plants from North America, but also include Mediterranean and South African meadow plants. It’s worth considering requirements such as climactic conditions, soil conditions, and germination periods before planting them at the same time.
Try to plant your prairie garden somewhere that catches sunlight all day. Prairie gardens are made up mostly of grasses, which thrive best in direct and consistent sunlight.
To find out more about growing your own prairie garden, see the below blogs for planting methods, and the best grasses and perennials to use:
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.
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