cover image Prairie Up: An Introduction to Natural Garden Design

Prairie Up: An Introduction to Natural Garden Design

Benjamin Vogt. 3 Fields, $29.95 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-0-252-08677-9

“Prairie plants employed within their natural plant communities can guide us as we create beautiful, resilient gardens that benefit all species together,” writes designer Vogt (A New Garden Ethic) in this solid primer on “gardening with nature.” Touting a gardening style that mimics grasslands, Vogt suggests picking plants native to one’s area, advises on creating a custom seed mix, and lays out what to expect on a year-by-year basis (a March mow is only necessary in year three and beyond, for example). Especially helpful is a list of what to bring to a meeting with a strict homeowner’s association board that might not like a wilder approach (including awareness of local weed ordinances and the support of neighbors). Vogt is realistic that this way of gardening requires being in it for the long haul, noting that “you’ll have to stay on top of the garden the first 1–3 years and be flexible.” Gardeners serious about ditching tidy landscaping have a great starting point here. (Jan.)