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Prairie garden planting advice

(3 Posts)
Chippychop Mon 11-Apr-16 21:03:18

I've got a raised area of garden that extends across a corner of the garden (imagine a triangle shape) at its widest its about 35ft. It slopes down about 3ft into the corner of the garde. (Its actually made up of rubble left over from when we built our house) I've planted it up with some feather grasses, a yucca, agapanthus , verbena bonasaris, euphobia. The thing is the back corner is so dry and just looks gappy and quite bare. I did plant some dogwood there thinking it'd look nice in the winter but to be honest it didnt look good so I've moved it. I've decided to 'extend the ''prairie look'' by adding Achillea Moonshine, Echinacea and some Stipa gigantia and Miscanthis Sinesis 'Kleine' Silberspinne. But,, I'm not sure how many plants to buy and when to repeat the plants, I want it to look quite beth catto-esque and drifty but at the same time I dont want it to look like I've shoved as many different types of plants in there randomly. As the 2 big grasses will be quite large should I but 3 of each? ANY ideas and advice gratefully received

shovetheholly Tue 12-Apr-16 09:35:11

Wow, it's going to be lovely! Some of my favourite grasses there.

The prairie 'look' is hard to get right, but boy is it worth trying, because it's just SO beautiful when it's done well. There seem to be two ways of doing it: interplanting two things repeatedly (requires a lot of repeats, good in large spaces), or planting in drifts. In a normal sized garden, without the acreage of Beth Chatto, my experience as a rank amateur is that the latter is easier to make visually impactful - and you don't need many repeats for it to look great! I would go with repeats of 3 or 5 of the smaller plants in the first instance - things like achillea, echinacea, and reserve judgement on the grasses as one plant of those that is thriving can get pretty big pretty quickly.

Maybe think about sticking to a restricted colour palette - this really helps to tie this kind of planting together. It's easy for it to look a bit uncoordinated and messy otherwise. With your choices so far, I'm getting pink and yellow! So bearing that in mind, two of my favourite prairie plants are the dry-loving persicarias like Amplexicaulis Blackfield and Calamagrostic Karl Foerster. Some alliums might also manage and give you a lovely contrasting texture and colour.

Chippychop Tue 12-Apr-16 13:54:21

thanks for the advice, I love your suggestions esp Amplexicaulis. Aliums I also love and have a few in a different bed but can see how they'd liven accentuate the grasses. there's so much to do all the time isn't there. I think I will tread carefully with the larger grasses .

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