Benjamin Vogt on a New Garden Ethic

Nov 1, 2017

  

Benjamin Vogt is an author and owner of Monarch Gardens LLC, a prairie garden design firm in Nebraska.  This hour, Vogt discusses his latest book, "A New Garden Ethic; Cultivating Defiant Compassion for an Uncertain Future." (New Society Publishers)  In it he writes: "While it's our presence in the form of gardens that brings nature to our urban lives, it's the wake or echo of our beliefs that reverberates the longest."

Vogt and his wife dream of reviving 40-80 acres of Nebraska prairie, complete with an artist residency, a sizable native plant display garden and an off-grid home.  He told Charity that he first found the idea of gardening interesting when he and his mother started a garden in the family's new Minnesota home, in fact he wrote his dissertation about gardening with his mother.  But when Vogt and his wife bought their first home, the author says he set about establishing his first garden and purchased all the traditional chemicals and insecticides.  And then a revelation happened: Vogt put down the can of bug spray when he saw caterpillars on a branch and realized they would later become beautiful monarch butterflies.  He told Charity: "I then learned about the relationships of native plants and how they support insects and birds.  Even one native pant will make a difference to a living thing--not just to me or my idea of beauty, but to a songbird or butterfly."

Later in the hour, Vogt told Charity and our listeners: "Gardens are pieces of art, they are places that are supposed to excite us with all kinds of colors and textures.  Burt we also want to bring in wildlife and support wildlife, such as native bees.  When you're using native plants, you are supporting a far greater number of wildlife species, such as important insects."