Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens

monarchgard.com
monarchgard.com

Services Provided
Personal attention for each client and their unique landscape, from the first consultation to plant lists, nursery visits, and layout. We work with DIY home gardeners to churches, schools, and small business to jump start and guide your landscape decisions -- anything we can do to increase native plant ecosystems and wildlife organically.

Areas Served
Lincoln and Omaha Nebraska region.

Business Description
Monarch Gardens is a landscape coaching business focused on native prairie plants, low maintenance design, and providing habitat for wildlife in all four seasons. We consult on site, visit nurseries with clients, deliver and order plants, create landscape plans with detailed horticultural info, and suggest organic options. Butterfly and interactive children's gardens are a specialty.

Certification and Awards
2012 Apartment Therapy Best Outdoor Space
Location:
Lincoln, NE US 
Contact:
Benjamin Vogt 
Type:
 
Address
Lincoln, Nebraska,
United States, 68522 
Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens commented on an ideabook

Unleash Your Guerilla Gardener

Toss some seed bombs around the yard for easy, beneficial plantings Full Story
     Comment   3 hours ago
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Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens
Nilsen -- A few caveats to seed mixes. 1) You have to be super careful it is actually a native seed mix (the one you mention is, but most "wildflower" mixes include many not native to the U.S., let alone the region you might be seeding in 2) It's best, and more difficult, to seed with local genotype seed, which is why I prefer locally sourced seed. So many seed suppliers get plants from all over the U.S., which could lead to weaker plants not adapted to your area. I love finding these seed suppliers at findnativeplants.com (also help the little guy). Thanks for starting me on a mini rant! :)
7 hours ago   
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Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens
Cordybrown -- again, I'm not advocating seeding your neighbor's lawn, no matter how unsustainable lawns might be.
6 hours ago   
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Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens
Mon dieu!
3 hours ago   
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flocon123
Je ne suis pas contre l'idée des "seed balls), je trouve l'idée géniale, il faut seulement choisir judicieusement ses graines.
15 minutes ago   
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Pamela Bateman Garden Design
If the 'Earth laughs in flowers' (Emerson) surely she is laughing now.
6 minutes ago   
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Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens commented on an ideabook

Great Native Plant: Grow Wild Quinine for Its Unique Clusters of Blooms

Get connoisseur cred and unique blooms with this uncommon plant. Bonus assets: It’s low maintenance and drought tolerant Full Story
     Comment   20 hours ago
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Ellie Cook
Is this the same plant I've heard called Queen Anne's Lace? It has a similar look. I'm in NC.
22 hours ago   
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Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens
Ellie, nope, completely different. :)
20 hours ago     
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Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens bookmarked an ideabook

Life Lessons From 10 Years of Living in 84 Square Feet

Dee Williams was looking for a richer life. She found it by moving into a very tiny house Full Story
     Comment   last Friday
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Simple Solar Homesteading
5 million people (or more) lost their homes after the last housing market collapse.

These people also lost their credit rating and most lost good paying jobs and businesses.

If you think it can't happen again and won't happen to you then you are living in a fantasy.

Own your home, get out of debt and live within your means and that is the goal of small house dwellers.
3 hours ago     
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Daphne
I think I would be more interested in a story from someone who does use their own land, as Simple Solar Homesteading has mentioned that they do. I agree with so many other comments that this particular person just doesn't seem so "free" and without bills. Using someone else's land, water, and frequenting businesses.

I am of course very happy for her being content with her own surroundings. We all strive towards that. I can't help but think this seems so extreme though.

My husband and I have only just bought our first home a few months ago. Until then, we lived in an old trailer. It was paid for and helped us be able to save for something a bit better. Our new home is about 1200 sq ft, enough room for ourselves and guests, which we have often. It's in a safe & quiet neighborhood and our mortgage is just under $400 a month. Our utilities are nowhere near what the author mentioned hers being in her former home.

So I think the main thing is people really not living within their means. I recall the bank urging us that we could get a much larger loan than we asked for. It seems too many people do just that and struggle every month. Spending the max amount you can afford just seems like a catastrophe waiting to happen.
28 minutes ago     
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Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens bookmarked an ideabook

Going Solar at Home: Solar Panel Basics

Save money on electricity and reduce your carbon footprint by installing photovoltaic panels. This guide will help you get started Full Story
     Comment   last Thursday
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cinders802
I live in Vermont and have had solar panels for 7 years now - taking my electric bill from $175. a month to $30. a month as I have a guest house not connected. The only maintenance I have is the occasional raking snow off during a wicked storm and hosing off once or twice in the summer just to keep them clean. The advice in the article is well worth a read. It's much easier and planet-friendly than the negative people claim - remember they have limited knowledge and experience. It's a choice we make to entertain a future for further generations or soak up the resources for ourselves now.
53 minutes ago     
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geeman1082
We have a ~2000 sq ft ranch with full unfinished basement in central Missouri. Our water heater is electric because the open floor plan did not allow a convenient route for a vent. Our covenant forbids solar panels, but I was confident I could get that changed. However, when I did some research and a little math, I realized that there was simply no reason to go through the hassle, because our annual electric bill is only ~$1300 (including AC! ), which means that our payback would be many, many years.

Thus, I second the suggestion that finding common sense ways to reduce your energy usage will pay off much more quickly in many cases, and in any case should be completed before you attempt to do the math to justify a huge investment such as a PV installation.

And on the topic of saving energy, read the labels carefully on LED lights before buying. I look forward to the day when LED (or OLED, etc.) lights make financial sense, but they are not there yet. CFL still puts out more light for the same or less energy, and costs far less.
25 minutes ago   
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Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens is following Jen Dalley ||||||||||||||
last Sunday
Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens bookmarked an ideabook

Off the Grid: Ready to Pull the Plug on City Power?

What to consider if you want to stop relying on public utilities — or just have a more energy-efficient home Full Story
     Comment   last Sunday
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woozy99
"IF you remove heating and cooling from your electricity needs". Ummm , OK. Heating is easy, as is hot water heating. Lighting and internet are easily supplied by a few panels.

Cooling, however, is a huge problem in most areas, even if you wish to live in a 14x14 room. Too many people have bought into the solar fantasy, not realizing until too late that they have invested into long summers of misery.

Do your own research, instead of relying on the PR of those in the industry with something to sell.
28 minutes ago   
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Simple Solar Homesteading
@woozy

One fourth of the world lives without electricity and over half live without air conditioning. Passive cooling, super insulation and DC fans work just fine in most areas.

Don't be afraid to learn about alternative methods that are available and work.
19 minutes ago   
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Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens bookmarked an ideabook

Why You Might Want to Build a House of Straw

Straw bales are cheap, easy to find and DIY-friendly. Get the basics on building with this renewable, ecofriendly material Full Story
     Comment   April 10, 2014
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Mariana Pickering (Emu Architects)
@halleycomet
ok. I genuinely thought my comment was fairly innocuous. Sorry to have apparently offended you. I certainly did not mean to say that you should not question things at all, nor do I think I was attacking anyone (certainly not you) for doing so. I'm not really sure what else to say.

I think this comment thread is probably getting a bit unproductive, and I definitely did not expect such emotional responses from both sides of the conversation. Let's try to keep on topic, which I think we all agree are the facts surrounding straw bale construction as a building method.

As with any construction method, and as I have encouraged in all of my Houzz articles, knowing more about your house can only benefit you. So it IS good to think about all of the things that worry you. And it IS good to get multiple professional opinions from several appropriate experts.

The final thing I'll mention is just reiterate that loose straw is a very different thing (with different material properties) than dried and compressed straw bales. Let's try to keep the comments to the bales, if that's ok with everyone.

Thanks, and, again... no offense was intended toward anyone. Happy Houzz reading to all.
-Mariana
last Friday at 12:47pm     
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skyval
I just found a resource for people in the British Isles for strawbale workshops - it's from a 1997 article in the British "Country Living" magazine .
I quote the article - " Barbara Jones , of Amazon Nails , an all-women building firm in Yorkshire , proved that a simple two-bedroom bungalow could be erected in a few days using only natural materials with the bales pinned in place with hazel rods[branches] and reclaimed wood for doors and window frames . Interiors are plastered with a lime-based render . The result is a well-insulated , low-fire risk home . "
The Center for AlternativeTechnology , Machynlleth , Powys SY20 9AZ (01654-702400) runs
strawbale building courses .
Yesterday at 5:47am   
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Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens commented on an ideabook

New Ways to Think About All That Mulch in the Garden

Before you go making a mountain out of a mulch hill, learn the facts about what your plants and soil really want Full Story
     Comment   April 8, 2014
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Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens
I'm an unabashed purist. :) We've eradicated 99% of the tallgrass prairie, a place with as much ecological value to the planet as the Amazon rainforest -- and we seem to have no qualms about it.

@catecooper where are you in the Midwest? That's a big range. I'd look at the interactive plants maps / lists at the Pollinator Partnership and The Xerces Society and go from there. Also ask local nurseries (not big box stores), university extension offices, etc.
April 8, 2014 at 8:40am     
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Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens
I would not till mulch into the soil. Of course, I would also not till -- apparently I'm in the minority here when it comes to tilling, which destroys soil life and structure. If you're planting site-appropriate natives you have no need to till or amend. I don't, and it always works out fine. Right native plant, right place, equals success.
April 8, 2014 at 12:31pm   
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Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens
That's what I started a garden in. No problem.
April 8, 2014 at 12:59pm   
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trishideas
Sheila Schmitz --thank you!
last Monday at 5:22pm   
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trishideas
MFAMB--thank you!
last Monday at 5:24pm   
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Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens bookmarked an ideabook

Houzz Tour: A Contemporary Home on a Working Farm

Rural Wisconsin provides the bucolic setting for a barn-inspired home that fosters comfort and connections Full Story
     Comment   March 31, 2014
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halbanes
cordybrown and others who want to buy a barn: if you are a do-it-yourself kind of family and cultivate contacts in the country, you can find yourself a barn for a thousand dollars cash and you will have all the beautiful virgin lumber you need. Craig's List and Ebay are some places to start. It's where I did my research, before I decided to sell.

It's a lot of work to take down a barn and you may want to have someone on your team who is familiar with construction processes. You'll need a lot of muscle and brawn to handle big pieces that weigh hundreds of pounds, a cherry picker to remove the roof and get to the rafters, a lot of nails to be removed on site before the wood is loaded for hauling, a big rig to haul the lumber, a place to store the lumber out of the weather until you need it, some sort of numbering system to know what sizes and kinds of lumber you have and exactly where it is in the stored stacks. Require a tetanus shot for everyone working on the project. Take the barn down in the winter. And watch out for snakes and other resident wildlife. And be sure there is a road to haul out your treasures from the deconstruction site. And of course, lots of photos of the wood and pieces you especially like and ways to keep track of where they are stored.

I am quite serious - this is what the buyer of my barn did - and that's just skimming the surface. But my point is this: it can be done and you can have your dream home with the lumber you salvage. Sweat equity.
April 6, 2014 at 5:41pm   
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Southwest Greens of Virginia
Absolutely stunning!!
April 8, 2014 at 2:31pm   
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Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens commented on an ideabook

Lessons in the Rewards of Selfless Gardening

Let go of gardening for your own vision and watch the garden’s own true vision come forth Full Story
     Comment   March 30, 2014
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Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens
josephedwin -- go for it. just attribute please, even plug my blog? thedeepmiddle.com
March 30, 2014 at 10:46am     
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Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens
vvy3 -- loaded questions I can't possibly fully address here. Maybe they beg an article? I'll think on it. Invasive is a troubling word -- invasive to whom, and where, and when? If I live on a prairie sunflower would not be invasive, but in a 100' bed it'd quickly take over... yet it's a native. As for weeds, everyone has their own very subjective definition. Farmer's consider milkweed a weed, and yet as we lose it we are losing monarch butterflies. Many weeds are edible. I think hosta and daylily are weeds because everyone plants them and I'm bored with the same plants in every garden. See? Subjective. The pictures I used in the article are not all my own -- I garden on 1/4 acre in suburbia, and the main garden is 1,500'. Each landscape is so unique, big to small (light, soil, surrounding flora) I just can't make a blanket statement regarding your last question. In general though, the smaller the garden, the fewer plant variety to maintain visual and design appeal... unless you're into the cottage garden look... see? Complicated. :)
March 30, 2014 at 10:51am     
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YogaJulie
jahilton and greenrivergirl, I'm in Santa Rosa trying to do some of the same things....attract wildlife, use no chemicals, and plant that which is deer-resistant; I appreciate what you've shared about gardening in this area. I hope the bees and butterflies return to all of us----do plant some milkweed for the monarchs, too.
April 1, 2014 at 8:47am     
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Jo
I had a terrible plague of Iris borers, it seemed I was losing the battle until an older friend told this trick. It is messy and time consuming but it worked. I dug all the iris, put them in a pile and then found an old wash tub. My friend told me to fill the tub about half full, maybe 10 gallons of water. Then I added a half a cup of bleach. I mixed it around, then put the iris in the tub. The next day I took each plant, cut off the rotten places and dug out the borers. After cutting back the foliage to a consistent height, I replanted them in a different location. I haven't had Iris borers since. I'm not sure if moving the plants caused the improvement or the cleaning and bleach rinse did the trick. It worked for me. I am so happy with the results! I realize using bleach is not a natural cure but I feel like it was better than spraying or just digging them up and throwing them in a ditch.
April 6, 2014 at 7:25am   
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Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens likes a comment on an ideabook

The Case for Losing the Traditional Lawn

Work less, help the environment and foster connections by just saying no to typical turf Full Story
     Comment   March 29, 2014
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paulettef5
Some comments on snakes and other critters. For the past 10 years, I lived in TN in an old log cabin on 1 acre in town. When I first moved in, the house was over-run with mice. Then a black snake took up residence under and around the house, and the mouse problem vanished. Since then, every few years I'll see some mouse signs that are quickly followed by snake evidence (mostly because my dogs will come in smelling of snake musk). Again, the mice vanish. We just built a new log home on 35 acres in an old-growth beech forest. It has deer, turkey, owls, Piliated woodpeckers, red foxes, coyotes, snakes, ticks, and everything else. I believe that if you want to coexist with the natural world, you just need to learn to deal with your "fellow travelers." I never used pesticides or herbicides before, and I don't plan to now. In my old house, I paid a neighbor to mow the 1/3 acre I had in grass/lawn weeds (the rest was in flowers/shrubs). We will not be buying a lawn mower for the new place. I 'm going to slowly put in a native woodland garden on about 1/2 acre around the house, and leave the woods alone. Yes, I'll need to keep my dogs protected from the coyotes, and watch out for copperheads, rattlesnakes, and especially water mocassins near the pond, and wear long pants tucked into my socks for ticks,etc. But every day I get to watch wild turkey march through my front yard or look out my kitchen window and see deer five feet from the house. After reading all the problems folks have with city ordinances and HOA's, I know how very, very lucky I am!
March 29, 2014 at 6:22am     
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Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens is following Bruns Architecture
March 27, 2014
Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens bookmarked an ideabook

Houzz Tour: Fieldstone Divides and Connects a Wisconsin Home

Modern architecture looks right at home on its site, thanks in part to a bold north-south wall of local stone Full Story
     Comment   March 27, 2014
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hawkb
Right on Phil Burnside! I totally agree these were not glacier scarred.
April 2, 2014 at 8:20am   
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stevenuzz
Jon, once again great article. I am looking to do a similar style floor in my new home build. I need to use a light weight concrete as it is a wood frame building. Do you know of any products, procedures, or techniques that take this into account and can give me a similar finish. I have seen agilia used and it is great but I don't know about the finish. It seems to be more porous , flat and un-polishable looking than a pure concrete. I am calling my house Frank2rd by the way, because it is essentially an homage to Frank Loyd and my Father whose name is Frank. I am also making a film about my experience building it, architecture as art form , immigrant experience...etc. Super excited to say the least. Thanks
Steven
last Sunday at 5:36pm
April 6, 2014 at 9:16am   
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Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens bookmarked an ideabook

Houzz Tour: Sleek and Neat in Toronto

Clean lines and generous hidden storage give a renovated home for 4 a more spacious look without a bit of clutter Full Story
     Comment   March 25, 2014
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Peggy Tupper
The reading nook has many personal items and looks like a cozy spot. Many comenters say the home looks "stark". The living room has an entire wall of cabinetry. Obviously the home owners put their stuff away for the photo shoot. On other articles on Houzz, the issue is clutter.
April 11, 2014 at 6:42am   
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makyambo
Beautiful house
last Monday at 8:24am   
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Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens commented on a discussion
   Comment   March 24, 2014
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Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens
Sharp-shinned hawk.
March 24, 2014 at 12:53pm   
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mcrae78
Thank you! I've got one who hangs around my place...gorgeous!
March 25, 2014 at 4:47am   
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Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens is following Verdant Landscapes
March 23, 2014
Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens likes a comment on an ideabook

Rudbeckia Mania: Go Beyond Black-Eyed Susan in the Garden

Branch out from typical nursery fare, with lesser-known Rudbeckia species that have delightfully unexpected features Full Story
     Comment   March 23, 2014
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Susan Cohan, APLD
@Verdant Landscapes It's that herd mentality!
March 23, 2014 at 4:02am     
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Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens bookmarked an ideabook

Houzz Tour: Heavy Metal Rocks a Modern Missouri Home

Steel shows up all over this single-level family home, but wood and other textures warm the look Full Story
     Comment   March 23, 2014
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criscarey
Gallery link with feel of a stream
March 30, 2014 at 1:19am   
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hawkb
Nice home in our Show Me state!
April 2, 2014 at 9:28am   
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