I grew up with a mother who was constantly outside in the landscape. I remember hot weekend afternoons cleaning up shrub and plant trimmings, and cool summer morning sprints to a string of local nurseries for something new.
But while being in the home landscape with my mother planted a seed in me, it was the overall urban / suburban wildness of my Minnesota youth that made a deep, lasting impression. Small woodlands filled with vocal wildlife, ponds and lakes dotting every bend in the road -- and the distinct, evocative seasons rich in their personalities.
As I've grown older my earliest years living in Oklahoma have come to the surface, especially with research trips for a book project. The vast openness, the wind, the mixed grass prairie, all have just as deeply colored my emotional and physical aesthetics as the woods of Minnesota. I'm honored to live in a diverse state like Nebraska, where prairies meet forest and mountain, and where millions of migrating birds and insects give new resonance to the definition of flyover country.
Monarch Gardens is Benjamin Vogt. His 5,000' home garden on a 1/4 acre lot has been featured in Fine Gardening, Garden Design, The American Gardener, Nebraska Life, the Omaha World Herald, and the Lincoln Journal Star. For five years (2012-2017) Benjamin wrote an award-winning garden column for Houzz (over 3 million reads with 200 articles) and has contributed to books such as Lawn Gone! and Pollinator Friendly Gardening. You'll find his freelance photography and writing in several publications, including The Xerces Society's Gardening for Butterflies (Timber Press), as well as Orion Magazine, Northern Gardener, APLD's The Designer, Fix, Fine Gardening, and many others. He has been interviewed for dozens of podcasts, articles, and books while speaking nationally on environmental activism and sustainable urban design for wildlife.
Order a signed copy of Benjamin's book A New Garden Ethic: Cultivating Defiant Compassion for an Uncertain Future or listen to some interviews on the topic.
NEW -- forthcoming in 2022 from the University of Illinois Press -- Prairie Up: An Introduction to Natural Garden Design.
Benjamin is a former board member of the Wachiska Audubon Society, a prairie conservation and wildlife organization overseeing 1,000 acres in southeast Nebraska. He also runs the Facebook page Milk the Weed, a lively space where 13,000 folks share the joys and purpose of gardening for wildlife. Benjamin has an M.F.A. (Ohio State) and Ph.D. (Nebraska) in English and has taught over fifty college classes for which he's received multiple awards. You'll find his essays in anthologies like The Tallgrass Prairie Reader, Natural Treasures of the Great Plains, and Prairie Gold, while his Pushcart Prize nominated poems have appeared in over sixty publications. He is the author of three poetry collections and two unpublished memoirs -- the memoirs are based on family & gardening as well as homesteading the prairie environment in the 1800s.
Benjamin lives in Lincoln, Nebraska with his wife, son, and two rescue cats.
No matter how much you push the envelope it'll still be stationery. Wearing a clock on your belt is a waist of time. I used to work at a blanket factory but it folded.