Pocket Prairies: Restorative Landscaping for the Earth and You!

June 1, 2022

by Carolyn Ramseur, Conservation Associate

Native planting is kind of a big deal here at the Cincinnati Nature Center. We love native plants so much that we offer classes throughout the year with different instructors just to get the word out.

Personally, our prairies during peak bloom really take the cake. It has become my personal goal to get everyone else as excited about their beauty and function as I am. This is where a pocket prairie comes in.... 

A Clearwing Hummingbird Moth visits a blooming wild bergamot plant
Photo by Gretchen Bodmer

The What 

Pocket Prairie (N): A compact planting of grasses and wildflowers edged to please community lawn standards and attract wildlife. 

What does this have to do with my yard?

The native prairies of Ohio are biodiverse ecosystems that provide ample sources of food and habitat for many different species. From butterflies to mink and everything in-between, these wildflower rich grasslands are crucial to migratory and resident species of all kinds.

However, the unfragmented acreage needed for this habitat to be intact is hard to come by. But you can help! By adding small pocket-sized versions to your classic green lawn, you will help expand the presence of this important ecosystem.

The more neighbors we get on board, the more impact we will see. While these miniature sized prairies may not be able to house larger animals, they will provide ample habitat for pollinators like bees and nature’s favorite ‘hot dog’—caterpillars! 

A male American Goldfinch pauses on a wild bergamot plant as he's eating seeds
Photo by Mary Jo McClain

The Practical

Prairies are quite self-sufficient. Once established, they require very little annual care and are an excellent way to create beautiful native lawns on a financial and physical budget. That means you're simultaneously creating a more productive yard and cutting down on your summer maintenance all at once! 

Pocket Prairies are also a fantastic introduction to gardening and using native plants. They allow even the most beginner gardener to take the first step towards a more beautiful homescape. We highly recommend surrounding your prairie with more interesting native plant arrangements, bird baths, insect houses, and more!  

A photo of the pocket prairie kit, including seeds, signs, and more
A Pocket Prairie Starter Kit

The Beauty

With flowers of all colors blooming at various times throughout the growing season, prairies provide changing color pops through a background of richly hued grasses. Not to mention the colors they attract! Look for bright butterflies, golden bees, and multi colored songbirds too. 

If the above didn’t get you excited for planting native habitat in your yard, come join us for a class, it is infectious! However, if you are now ready to go out into your yard and start planting, we’ve got the link for you. Pocket Prairies are available in kit form and start as small as 5' x 5'. Use this as a starter for your desired full sun area. Shape it how you like. Add aesthetic details. Or even add more species to the mix. 

For more information: email Carolyn Ramseur at