Prairie garden: attractive, colourful and ready for the future.
Due to climate change, the last few years have brought us hot summers with longer periods without rain. For garden lovers, this weather presents a challenge. After all, lawns are highly sensitive to scorching sun and drought. Many perennials and summer flowers suffer a similar fate. The lack of moisture causes their leaves and flowers to wither. So that nothing withers, regular watering is necessary. However, there is another way if perennials and ornamental grasses are selected according to their water requirements.
What is a prairie garden?
The natural garden, which is home to bee-friendly perennials, is becoming increasingly popular anyway. Nectar-containing flowers attract butterflies, bumblebees, wild bees, beetles and hoverflies. If the assortment is limited to drought-resistant perennials and herbs, the garden can manage with little or no additional watering. This garden style, which is currently in vogue, is inspired by the plains of the Midwest of the USA. Vegetation located in the rain shadow of the Rocky Mountains adapted to the low rainfall climate. The prairie garden is based on the model of the overgrown steppe. It is dominated by undemanding flowering plants that set colourful accents. Combinations with ornamental grasses swaying in the wind loosen up the appearance.
Planting a prairie garden
The right preparation guarantees that the easy-care perennials in the natural garden will feel at home in the long run:
- Loosen the soil
- enrich with humus (compost) if necessary
- remove weeds (including the roots)
- add sand to heavy soils
The soil should be permeable, because winter waterlogging is not good for sun-loving plants. A too wet stand during the colder months can lead to rotting. Make sure that the perennials are placed in a sunny to semi-shady position. For areas without direct sunlight, we recommend shade-tolerant plants such as the blue-leafed hosta.
Selection of perennials with information on maximum growth height and colour of flowers:
- Verbena: 60 cm, purple/blue
- Sage: 40 cm, purple
- Echinacea: 70 cm, white or pink
- Yarrow: 60 cm, yellow or red
- Sunflower: 60 cm, yellow
- Lavender: 30 cm, dark purple
- Palm lily: up to 1 m, creamy white
- Magnificent candle: up to 1 m, white
These ornamental grasses provide bee-friendly perennials with harmonious companions:
- Low lampbush grass: 60 cm, yellowish-brown panicles
- Pampas grass: up to 2 m, white or pink fronds
- Bluish switchgrass: up to 1 m, blue-green panicles
There are no limits to creativity when arranging the perennials and grasses. Whether varied and colourfully mixed or planted in larger groups, impressive scenarios are always created. Low plants in the foreground provide a view of the entire area, while taller plants placed at the back create more space in the garden.
Where does the prairie garden fit in?
The mix of perennials and ornamental grasses fits wonderfully into the natural garden, either as a bordered bed in the front garden or as a larger refuge by the house or on recreational plots. Even sloping areas can be wonderfully designed with less thirsty flowering plants and grasses. Only parts of the garden may be given a prairie-like character. In modern gardens, flowering plants that hardly need to be watered blend in perfectly with the overall picture. Planting the outdoor area according to low-rainfall vegetation zones reduces the amount of work and forms the perfect basis for hot summers in the years to come.