The word prairie simply means ‘grassland ‘and its usually associated with large open areas of land. Originally seen in North America, especially the Midwest, consisting of large amounts of native grasses and smaller amounts of perennials.
In terms of planting style, a prairie garden uses a mixture of grasses and flowering perennials. The look works best across a large area as it creates great impact., but it can be scaled back to create beautiful garden borders. When the prairie trend emerged in the UK the emphasis was put more on the flowering perennials, mixing in various established grasses.
Benefits of Prairie Planting
The aim of prairie planting is to create a relaxing and naturalistic environment that will attract wildlife. Much like a wildflower meadow, prairie planting will offer great opportunities for birds, bees and butterflies, especially if many native plants are used.
Unlike wildflower meadows, prairie gardens take a lot of planning. Although the final result may look somewhat random, the planting should have rhythm and create a feeling of calmness.
Tips for Prairie Planting
- Plant in blocks or drifts of varying sizes and heights, focusing on textures rather than colour.
- Remember that the foliage is more important to the overall look than flowers.
- Repeat groupings or combinations of plants to create coherence and harmony.
- Aim to include a variety of flower shapes to create the biggest impact. A mixture of round, spires, spiky and ethereal see-through plants will work best.
- Keep the colour pallet as naturalistic as possible.