Friday, September 25, 2020

Meet Our Community: Benjamin Vogt, prairie advocate, designer, writer

 


Let's get to know each other!


Since we're not able to meet up in person this year, let's meet online. Every week we're introducing a member* of our Fling community here and on Instagram, in their own words. We're excited to see what everyone's talking about and sharing with their followers!

(*Any garden blogger, vlogger, podcaster, or Instagrammer who follows our Instagram or is a member of our Facebook group. If you'd like to be considered or recommend someone for a Meet Our Community profile, email us.)


Benjamin Vogt



Plants matter. They matter for wildlife, air quality, runoff, soil microbes, and people. One aster can make all the difference in an ocean of blacktop and lawn. In a time of mass extinction and climate change, it behooves us with whatever land we have to not only set a higher example but understand our home places with more urgency and intimacy. 

I’m into stylized urban prairies. What that means is a 60/40 (or even 50/50) forb-to-grass/sedge ratio. A nice, thick grass matrix can provide an underlying sense of order for anyone viewing a wilder space, as do masses and drifts of perennials blooming in succession through the seasons. And let's not forget autumn and winter, perhaps the most ornamental seasons of them all. Brown is a color! 

My favorite plant is the one getting eaten right now by insects and other bugs.

I'm currently writing Prairie Up: An Introduction to Natural Garden Design (2022), a basic guide for weekend warriors and new gardeners to the theories of new naturalism, naturalistic design, and new perennial design, but with a strong focus on ecology alongside aesthetics (something that's lacking in the garden design world). Our plant selections affect not only what we find beautiful but what wildlife finds beautiful, so we should learn as much as possible about each plant and its communities before we put trowel to soil. Prairie Up will be a much more practical guide than my philosophical book A New Garden Ethic.

Monarch Gardens is the nexus for everything I do, including my blog, design portfolio, online classes, and links to my 200+ Houzz articles. My blog, The Deep Middle, concentrates on native plant communities of the tallgrass ecoregions, as well as my desire to re-prairie suburbia. I share images and stories from local wildlife refuges and my own quarter-acre urban lot in Lincoln, Nebraska, which stands in polarizing contrast to the lawns around it. You have to be the change since hope is nothing without action.

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Thanks for sharing your work and your gardening passions with us, Benjamin! You can follow Benjamin at The Deep Middle and his Instagram.


Photographs courtesy of Benjamin Vogt.

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