Increasingly hot, dry summers causing hosepipe bans and drought have caused many gardeners to rethink how and what they plant.
Many have switched to Mediterranean styles using gravel, herbs and shrubs to populate the garden. But could so-called prairie planting be a better idea?
Prairie planting has risen to popularity this year, with the winning garden at Hampton Court Flower Show, ‘America’s Wild‘, demonstrating the planting commonly found in the US. Using brightly coloured flowers, long green grasses and woody plants alongside cacti, the landscape is undeniably reminiscent of the American Midwest.
Emily Grayshaw, who designed ‘America’s Wild’, stated: “Prairie planting is massive in the UK at the moment. It’s come over from the states and it’s been a theme that’s been building over the last few years.”
While brightly coloured flowers amongst tall grasses might look like a wildflower meadow, they most certainly aren’t. Grayshaw suggests that prairie planting is more purposeful than wildflower planting, and does not rely on self-seeding. She uses the purple coneflower, blazing star and prairie onion alongside switchgrass and prairie sage to create a pollinator-filled meadow.
Most importantly, these plants are particularly good at withstanding dry weather. They are perfect for the changing climate in the UK, and can deal with both drought and sustained rainfall – a major pitfall of the more common Mediterranean style.
Prairie meadows are incredibly low maintenance, requiring some watering for the first year and becoming drought-tolerant shortly afterwards. Perfect for schools, beginner-gardeners and lower budgets, it’s no wonder why prairie planting is all the rage.