Garden Photo of the Day

A Prairie Meadow Garden

Carol Fischer from Quincy, MA shares how she created her prairie/meadow garden with a focus on foliage.

"On the marsh gardening prairie style. These are a few shots taken of my back yard garden in July. I did a complete overhaul of the garden three years ago to incorporate plants that made more sense in a garden beside a saltwater marsh. I love the look of prairie/meadow gardens and that is the feeling I wanted to achieve. The plants are packed in tightly with the goal of not seeing any mulch. I like to call it controlled chaos! To do this I am constantly deadheading, dead leafing and cutting back foliage so that each plant has its moment to shine and is not being over run by other plants. I like to keep the edges of the garden crisp which allows for a clean look. My focus continues to be on foliage with flowers as the afterthought. I see myself drifting towards Tropicals which adds a sort of exotic feel in a very natural setting. Truly a labor of love."

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  1. user-3565112 09/02/2015

    This is an outstanding garden. You have achieved the "controlled chaos" you wanted & it is terrific . Is the ornamental grass behind what appears to be white phlox Karl Foerster ? I planted that next to a pond a few weeks ago & I hope it looks as good as yours when mature. I like this garden a lot. Good luck, Joe

    1. cagardens 09/02/2015

      Thank you Joe. Yes the grass is Karl Foerster along with Eldorado, which is smaller with lighter plumes. Good luck with your grass. I am sure it will look great next to your pond.

      1. user-3565112 09/02/2015

        Thank you for the information. I am going to try to use some of your design in my pond area next spring. Thank you, Joe

  2. NCYarden 09/02/2015

    Fantastic garden. Great mix. Texture galore. Controlled or chaotic, it doesn't matter - it's just wonderful to look upon. I admire your discipline to ensure those moments in the spotlight for each plant. That is definitely a labor of love, and well... I'm lovin' it. Thanks for sharing.

  3. User avater
    meander_michaele 09/02/2015

    Well, there is certainly no lack of colorful blooms in these shots of your garden, Carol, as well as a thoroughly pleasing balance of textures and varying shapes and heights. Your garden is very alive and looks like a fun place to explore. I am a big fan of structures and I was wondering if the gazebo peeking above things things in the first picture is yours?

    1. cagardens 09/07/2015

      No the gazebo is not mine but my neighbors. I just planted to make it look like it was an extension of my garden. I am in a very urban area and my backyard garden measures 25 feet deep and 50 feet wide. It was important to me to take advantage of any an all views. Of coarse, having a marsh behind me enhances the feeling of extra space.

  4. user-4691082 09/02/2015

    The first photo with the sprinkler on is so much fun! Your garden is so does make a whole lot of sense to work with your surroundings rather than fight with them. Great job!

  5. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 09/02/2015

    Looks great. I'm a big fan of cram and jam gardening. I love the pop of the canna, too. Nice touch. I was going to comment on the great sculpture until I read the comments and someone mentioned a sprinkler. Very cool.

  6. hontell 09/02/2015

    always wished I had the room and sun to create the prairie look. Of course large dogs deter me also. Keep up the great gardening, I'll live vicariously through your Prairie.

  7. Vespasian 09/02/2015

    Absolutely beautiful, my kind of garden as I too am a cram and jam gardener. You have done a beautiful job, just love it!

  8. GrannyMay 09/02/2015

    Great job, Carol! I especially love the look in the last photo, where no lawn is visible, just a curvy path through the beautiful chaos.

  9. GrannyCC 09/02/2015

    Cramscaping at its best! How wise to garden for your area taking in the closeness of the Salt Marsh. Amazing Canna. I also love the sprinkler.

  10. darylsavage 09/02/2015

    Interesting Carol that you say you need to deadhead, cut back foliag etc.. so that everything can be seen. I kind of thought that if I ever got all the garden space filled w/ plants instead of mulch it would cut down on weeding, but I guess your experience shows that you really can't get away from some kind of constant work in the garden. Does that sprinkler deter the hummingbirds at all?

    1. cagardens 09/07/2015

      Daryl, I still feel that filling every space is easier than not. I could make my life a little easier if I spaced plants just a hair more and did not plant any spreading plants, but then what would I do? And no, the sprinkler does not scare the hummingbirds. It is not that often used. The hammers love my yard!

      1. darylsavage 09/07/2015

        Thanks Carol, glad to hear that. I once visited a perennial garden that had a horseshoe design with a stonewall in the back. There was an aisle designed in front of the wall which you couldn't see from the front to make it easy to work in the bed. Wonder what you think about the idea some people have about having air circulation around plants. I know it matters for roses, but I don't know how much it does for other types of plants.Maybe reduces powdery mildew? Not sure.

        1. cagardens 09/07/2015

          I also have a path that you can't see between the shrubs and the perennials. It is necessary if your boarder is 12 feet deep like mine. I also think it is important to have good air circulation around plants, especially ones like peony, roses, monarda and phlox. I happen to live two blocks from the beach, so the wind works for me in this way. The wind also requires that I stake plants more than other gardens or I choose not to grow some plants because of the wind. There is always a trade off.

  11. greengenes 09/03/2015

    I so enjoy seeing your garden! Beautifully done! I see you are growing the eupatorium in the background of the last picture. I really enjoy it! It kind of reminds me of a dr. zeuss plant. Anyway you have done a wonderful garden and iam so glad you have shared it with us! Happy gardening!

  12. thevioletfern 09/03/2015

    Oh, I love controlled chaos! Beautiful results. Mine is just chaos. A labor of love initially but now lack of time. I love meadow gardens - the ebb and flow. Bet your garden sings with life. I really like that sprinkler, too - what fun!

  13. cagardens 09/07/2015

    Thank you to everyone for your positive feedback. I so enjoyed reading your responses.

  14. junesmart 09/27/2015

    Carol, your 'controlled chaos' is breathtakingly beautiful! The green grass, with its perfect edges, highly compliments your plantings. Ahh, what a dream to live by the marsh & its beauty and life. You are to be commended for intentionally choosing plants that love the marsh-side location. These photos prove you have been very successful with your choices. Such excellent work!

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