About

We help DIY homeowners, schools, and small businesses choose native prairie plants adapted to your landscape for ease of maintenance and maximum wildlife draw. Whether it’s walking your garden or acreage, shopping at a nursery, or working up a landscape plan, we promise a thriving native plant landscape that give you four seasons of life and beauty.
 
Monarch Gardens is, essentially, one guy -- Benjamin Vogt. My 2000' garden was on the 2011 Wachiska Audubon Habitat tour, will be on the 2013 Garden Club of Lincoln Tour (6/8), and was named as a top outdoor space of 2012 by Apartment Therapy. My backyard has been featured in Fine Gardening, the Omaha World Herald, the Lincoln Journal Star, and I've contributed a list of prairie plants for the book Lawn Gone! Low Maintenance, Sustainable, Attractive Alternatives for Your Yard. I have over 250 named cultivars and species of plants (perennials, shrubs, trees) in my garden, 75% of which are native to eastern Nebraska. Have some pictures.
 
My main garden in July
Other links about me and my work:

-- The Deep Middle, my main gardening / writing blog.  

-- Great Plains gardening column at Houzz (featuring native plants and monthly tips).

-- Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens (monthly column on national team blog).

-- Omaha World Herald feature discussing my garden and native, drought-tolerant plants.


-- Memoir on creating my prairie-esque garden, Sleep, Creep, Leap: The First Three Years of a Nebraska Garden.

I am on the board of Wachiska Audubon, an area prairie conservation and wildlife group. I have a Ph.D. in English and have taught almost fifty college classes at every level. I'm also the author of three poetry collections, and three unpublished memoirs--two memoirs are based on my own and my mother's gardens and involved copious amounts of horticultural and landscape design research. I insist that my lawn is more work than the 5 year old garden -- see my passive aggressive gardening tips.

In my garden native plants outshine non natives. I do not have to water them once established unless it hasn't rained for a month. In March I cut down all the perennials to the ground and use them to mulch the beds. I'll trim some trees and shrubs if they need it. I may spread a thin layer of city compost on top of the mulch. That's all I do. I may be living a pipe dream, but for me, the garden is a self sustaining ecosystem more and more each year as plant roots mingle and talk to one another, as stalks support other stalks, as foliage chokes out weeds and provides cover for frogs, insects, birds, and other creatures. I am a passionate environmentalist who believes we garden first for other species, then our children, then ourselves. Gardening is a selfless act which has fringe benefits, or icing on the cake--it's incredibly moving in its beauty, its layers of life, how it weaves you into its textures season by season.