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Planting up a Prairie Garden – Secretgarden.co.uk – Landscape Gardeners Bristol
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Planting up a Prairie Garden

Planting up a Prairie Garden

Towards the end of 2020 we completed a landscaping project on a medium sized, urban garden in Brentry, Bristol. At the time of landscaping we worked alongside our customer to give them a planting plan based on prairie planting, which is what they were very keen on. We adapted the style of prairie planting to suit the aspect and location of the garden, which in part is shady with overhanging trees.

We incorporated ferns and shade loving plants to be planted in certain areas of the garden, with prairie style planting elsewhere, and some larger evergreen shrubs to go along the fence line.

When we landscaped we removed an old, heavy fence which created a lot of darkness in the garden, and replaced it with a trellis topped fence which allows more air and light to shine through. This has made a significant change to the amount of light that the garden receives. Next to this fence a small water feature was constructed, dwarf irises and pond zebra grass will be added in the next couple of months.

When we create gardens we can compile full planting plan designs, and work with our customer’s as much as they require. On this instance our customer was keen to be involved and purchased the plants herself, often we source them ourselves. Many of these she bought as tiny little seedlings during the winter and housed them in her greenhouse. She then hardened them off over the past few weeks, prior to us planting on a lovely warm spring day.

The planting plan design incorporated the narrow raised border at the front of the bed and a large sweeping arc behind. Over the winter our customer dug in 2 tonnes of grit and a tonne of top soil to help the structure of the heavy, north Bristol clay soil adapt to plants that require well drained soil. We arranged this delivery via our supplier Bowland Stone.

We placed out the plants according to our plan, with spaces remaining for other plants that are yet to arrive. The planting consists of a variety of perennials with grasses. We planted scarlet Monarda (Bergamot – which the bees love), to pop out against lots of purples, blues, yellows, oranges and white. We used tall swaying perennials like Verbena bonariensis, Gaura lindheimeri and Perovskia alongside Aster x frikartii ‘Monch,’ Sea holly, Golden Rod, some dark red Sanguisorba, Rudbeckia and Turkish Sage.

Within the narrow raised border we planted Salvia’s, Briza maxima, Rosemary, Festuca, Hyssop, Mexican Fleabane, Thyme, Campanula and Papaver. We used one annual – Ammi visnaga, which is a beautiful umbellifer, and although our customer wasn’t keen on having annuals as she felt they were too much work, this one we went with as it self seeds and is really beautiful. I don’t think the design would have been complete without an umbellifer.

We planted Japanese forest grass along the edge of the pathway, with Deschampsia cespitosa, purple moor grass and a Miscanthus running through the border. One large Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’  is to be planted as a statement grass in the back. We had such a lovely time planting together and I can’t wait to see it later this summer!