Benjamin Vogt

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Lincoln, Nebraska 68522

Benjamin Vogt energizes audiences with humor, down-to-earth conversation, stunning images, accurate research on environmental and horticultural issues, philosophy, and psychology – all with clear, empowering wildlife & garden-friendly advice.

w: Monarch Gardens

w: Column

w: The Deep Middle (Blog)



Monarch Gardens is Benjamin Vogt. His 2,500' garden (soon to be 4,500') has been on several tours and was named a top outdoor space of 2012 by Apartment Therapy. The garden has been featured in Fine Gardening, Garden Design, Nebraska Life, the Omaha World Herald, the Lincoln Journal Star, and on KOLN (Lincoln's CBS affiliate).  Benjamin writes a weekly, award-winning garden column for Houzz (over 2.5 million reads with 160 articles) and has contributed a list of prairie plants for the book Lawn Gone! Low Maintenance, Sustainable, Attractive Alternatives for Your Yard. Several of his photographs are included in The Xerces Society's Gardening for Butterflies (Timber Press), have appeared in Orion Magazine and Northern Gardener (including the July/August 2016 cover), and are part of a permanent display at Spring Creek Prairie and the University of Nebraska. He has been interviewed for several articles which have appeared in High Country News, All Animals Magazine, and the book Pollinator Friendly Gardening (Hachette).

In the fall of 2017 be on the lookout for his new book -- A 21st Century Garden Ethic: Cultivating Defiant Compassion for an Uncertain Future (New Society Publishers).

Benjamin is a former board member of the Wachiska Audubon Society, a prairie conservation and wildlife organization overseeing 1,000 acres in southeast Nebraska. He also runs the Facebook page Milk the Weed, a lively space where 6,000 folks share the joys of milkweed, native plants, and helping native pollinators. He has a Ph.D. in English and has taught over fifty college classes for which he's received multiple awards. You'll find his essays in anthologies like The Tallgrass Prairie Reader, Natural Treasures of the Great Plains, and Prairie Gold. He is the author of three poetry collections and two unpublished memoirs -- the memoirs are based on family & gardening as well as homesteading the prairie environment.

No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.


What Folks Say:

"I liked how he connected what we do in our gardens to the overall health of our ecosystem. He provided facts I hadn't heard before and I walked away from the presentation inspired to make changes." "Vogt did an outstanding job bridging practical gardening with the philosophy behind why we need native plants in our landscapes. He had great photos, statistics, and personal stories." "He was knowledgeable, honest, unafraid of conflict, and used a very conversational tone." -- Millersville Native Plants in the Landscape Conference attendees

"Wonderful! Combination of knowledge, wit, and alacrity of presentation.... So interested in his topic that he made me interested!" -- Loess Hills Prairie Seminar audience member

"Benjamin’s talk revealed just how passionate he is about planting native plants to help create a natural habitat for native species of birds, butterflies, bees, and all other wildlife.  While speaking in a professional manner, he explained in layman’s terms the importance of wild plants.  Benjamin’s sense of humor was quite delightful as he showed his beautiful slides.… He graciously answered many questions at the end of his presentation.   After leaving the stage, several people sought advice from him.  The members of our executive committee received many favorable remarks about Benjamin’s talk.  Our organization was very pleased with his presentation and plan to ask him to speak again in the future." -- Sandy Seibert, President, Bluebirds Across Nebraska


Low Maintenance Gardening with Native Plants for Wildlife – After looking at the reasons why we should garden for wildlife – including our own health now and in the future – we view 20 native plants that I’ve found support a great diversity of insects and birds year round. We also explore practical design strategies that cut chore time and provide for the life cycles of birds, insects, and amphibians, from brush piles to leaf litter to plant-made bee houses and using green mulch instead of bark. We also look at why a standing winter garden is good for you, wildlife, and the plants. Nearly 100 stunning images punctuate this interactive presentation.


Ethical Gardening – In a time of climate change, habitat loss, and species extinction, designing with native plants is a an ethical call to action that empowers gardeners to lead more connected lives both in and outside the garden fence. By using native plants we learn about our place in nature, and about the larger regional landscapes we need to sustain our lives. Through psychology, philosophy, science, personal stories, and photography, I’ll share how making a difference in the garden liberates us to make a difference in our neighborhoods, cities, and states.


Replacing Your Lawn / Making My Prairie Garden – Seven years ago my wife and I spread 20 yards of mulch over potting-clay soil without knowing a thing. Through trial and error plants have told us what they want and where they want to be, and always enlighten about wildlife value. Through imagery and time-lapse video, we’ll explore the changes I’ve made to my garden and the changes it’s made to me. Finally, we’ll discuss removing a front yard lawn and design strategies that will appeal to neighbors year round – I’ll use my 600’ front yard as a model, and a framed county weed control letter as the spark that lit a grassfire.

Gardening for Winter -- The season doesn't end in November! In fact, the garden is just beginning to show its deeper side. We'll look at native plants that add pizzazz in fall, from herbaceous perennials with fantastic autumn color and ornamental seed heads, to structural perennials, shrubs, and grasses that look outstanding into spring. Designing a garden for winter has many benefits, from carrying beauty for humans in the colder months, to wildlife value and plant / soil health. Fall and winter gardens are the best!


Lincoln, Nebraska, Great Plains, Midwest, and nationally

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