Some Plants for a Prairie Planting

The “prairie planting” style of the current popular Dutch horticulturists includes plants from various German breeders. 
Karl Foerster bred tall, hardy plants suited to the northern European climate.  He called grasses “Mother Nature’s hair”  and one of his best known and popular plants is Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster’ (a form of feather-reed grass).
Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass

Karl Foerster grass in background

Ernst Pagels  developed new varieties of Miscanthus sinensis.  Piet Oudolf was a friend of Pagels and uses his plants, among others.  Pagels developed Miscanthus Malepartus which blooms in midsummer so people in cooler climates can enjoy the bloom. 
Hoffman Nursery photo Miscanthus Malepartus

Piet Oudolf likes Echinacea purpurea 'Fatal Attraction’ which has bright pink flowers held on thick, dark stems.

Echinaceas, adored by butterflies and bees, thrive on cold winters. They require good soil but, once established, tolerate dry summers. They are easily raised from seed.

Summer echinacea Bressingham

A great late summer flower is Helenium 'Sahin’s Early Flowerer’.  It is one of the best native perennials for late season color! It displays a profusion of flowers which open deep red then develop orange and yellow streaks on the petals.
The tall stems are excellent for cut flowers. 3 ft tall, pinch back in spring

click here for source

And to create some interest try Eryngium 'Silver Ghost' -  Teasel-like pale green flowers, which turn to steely-blue as they mature, are surrounded silvery white bracts.  

A biennial plant, it will die after flowering in its second year, but self-seeds freely in a good spot.
source - The Teddington Gardener 

Veronicastrum virginicum 'Lavendelturm’ is used by Tom Stuart-Smith and has 6 ft, lavender-blue , upright fingers. They provide important vertical accents to contrast with fine grasses. 

Source - The Telegraph

Try some of these for a glorious summer garden!


  1. The post about the plants for prairie planting is super. I can collect and getting more information in this

  2. Or, you could use actual prairie grasses that support the larvae of butterflies, like several skipper species. And we don't know yet how cultivars of native plants work as far as pollen and nectar quality of adult pollinators, let alone what happens to leaf chemicals for the larvae. Anywho, these thoughts brought to you by a someone with a different perspective. :)

    1. Yes the Living Landscape - pollinators need all the help we can give them.

  3. Hmmm I just shared this post with others because the quality of write-up is amazing.
    Novato landscape designs

    1. Jennifer, I am so happy you like my blog! Check out my 2014 book, Heaven is a Garden - you will like it!


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