Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Firetail’

A prairie garden and how to plant one

Discover how Sue Moffit creates her prairie-style garden in rural Rutland. Words Kendra Wilson, photos Richard Bloom

Prairie garden planting need not be a mess. More appealing still, prairie planting is reassuringly low maintenance. Within a framework of crisply edged beds, plants can look wilder, more themselves, than in a traditional herbaceous border. The prairie-style garden at Redhill Lodge is divided into triangles and rectangles, with short yew hedges planted diagonally across the latter. As they grow taller, they can be shaped or left straight. Read more about the prairie-style garden in Rutland here. Below are eight plants you need for a prairie garden.

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1

Hylotelephium ‘Matrona’

Hylotelephium ‘Matrona’
© Richard Bloom

Pale, starry flowers on glaucous foliage through late summer and autumn. Prone to root rot in poor drainage, it thrives in the Rutland heavy soil because of the sun, exposure and sloping situation. 60cm. AGM. RHS H7, USDA 3a-9b.

Prairies

2

Echinops ritro ‘Veitch’s Blue’

Echinops ritro ‘Veitch’s Blue’
© Richard Bloom

Elegant, blue, globe thistles are highly attractive to pollinators. Cut back after the first flush to encourage further flowering, and deadhead in autumn to curb excessive self-seeding. 90cm. RHS H7, USDA 3a-8b.

3

Perovskia ‘Blue Spire’

Perovskia ‘Blue Spire’
© Richard Bloom

Clouds of felty, whitish stems bear small violet-blue flowers in late summer and autumn. 1.2m. AGM. RHS H5, USDA 5a-9b.

4

Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’

Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’
© Richard Bloom

These branching sunflowers with small heads tolerate some exposure but benefit from the protection of other tall plants. 2m. AGM. RHS H4.

5

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Ferner Osten’

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Ferner Osten’
© Richard Bloom

Arching, green foliage supports dark-red flower plumes in summer, and pale, feathery seedheads catch the light in winter. 1.5m. AGM. RHS H6.

 

6

Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’

Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’
© Richard Bloom

Provides movement in summer but also valuable interest in winter when golden tufts reflect the low sun. 90cm. AGM. RHS H6, USDA 5a-9b.

7

Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Firetail’

Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Firetail’
© Richard Bloom

Tall, clump-forming groundcover, with fresh, ovate foliage and narrow, crimson flowers. Spreads freely in moist, heavy soil. 1.2m. RHS H7.

8

Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Fascination’

Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Fascination’
© Richard Bloom
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Racemes of lilac flowers on tall stems provide early colour. Seedheads take on a fasciated, flattened appearance in winter. 1.2m. RHS H7, USDA 3a-8b.