PRAIRIE UP! BENJAMIN VOGT, MONARCH GARDENS
I know the adage goes that April showers bring May flowers, but based on images from across the Northern Hemisphere – from snow drops in Vermont, cherry blossoms in DC, wildflowers in California, and daffodils peeking out in parts of Colorado between snow storms – April has plenty of her own bloom and the growing season is under way.
To inspire your designs for the season ahead, this week we’re back in conversation with Benjamin Vogt of Monarch Gardens, a fierce advocate on behalf of our gardens being critically important links in our world’s broken and fragmented ecological chains.
You may remember my 2018 conversation with Benjamin about his first book –A New Garden Ethic: Cultivating Defiant Compassion for an Uncertain Future? Well that ethical manifesto now has an instruction manual in Benjamin’s second book - Prairie Up: An Introduction to Natural Garden Design – it might be just the reference you need to get your growing season off to a great start.
Benjamin joins us this week to share more. Enjoy!
HERE IS THIS WEEK'S TRANSCRIPT by Doulos Transcription Service:
You can follow Benjamin's work on-line at: https://www.monarchgard.com/ and on Instagram: @Monarchgardensbenjaminvogt
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JOIN US again next week, when we stay with remarkable plantspeople of the American Midwest in conversation with an iconic prairie plantsman, Roy Diblik, whose plants and planting designs complete the gorgeous designs of gardens and gardeners far and wide, including the Lurie Garden in Chicago. Roy is renowned for his beautiful, diverse, and ecologically beneficial plant-driven Landscapes. Join us!
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Thinking out loud this week:
The Garden Conservancy, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to preserve, share, and celebrate gardens and America's gardening traditions, is the longtime host of a nation wide Open Days garden visiting scheme that you might be familiar with. The GC's Open days scheme is up and running already this season and one of the initiatives within Open Days that I love is Nibbled Leaf: the organic gardening initiative within the Garden Conservancy's Open Days program. Every year 200 to 300 private gardens around the country participate in Open Days--and more than a third identify as Nibbled Leaf gardens. Nibbled Leaf Gardeners, or Nibblers, for short, garden with nature in mind, avoiding pesticides, choosing natives, and gardening with the climate in mind. Nibbled Leaf was developed in partnership with the Better Earth Foundation.
I’d like to see every garden, and every open garden, modeling these same principles and values of the Nibblers – how about you? It is certainly at the heart of what Benjamin Vogt and his Monarch Gardens hold dear….It’s a worthwhile goal for us all, right!
Another goal is to leave a worthwhile garden legacy - like having left your ecology and community better than when you first began gardening in your place.
Some of you may recall that in February of 2021 I spoke about a garden culture of care and Cultivating Place for the inaugural Ruth Borun Lecture for the Southern California Horticultural Society. It was a great honor to speak to that esteemed group of plant people, and I was delighted to hear recently that this year’s Ruth Borun Lecture will feature a plantsman so many of us admire coming to us from a garden we admire and which has so often led the way in our horticultural world. On April 28 SocalHort, as this active group is affectionately known, is excited to welcome Fergus Garret, Head Gardener of Great Dixter UK speaking on biodiversity and integrating natives into Great Dixter – you should be able to find all the information at socalhort.org – and well chosen SoCalHort!
I am looking forward to listening in - A wonderful tribute to the great gardener Ruth Borun was – her legacy lives on.
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