Jennifer: Pocket Prairies In Full Bloom in Austin

3 Pocket Prairies, 3 Different Approaches

Our three principals at Studio Balcones have each created personal pocket prairies with their own distinct approaches. Today, we’re chatting with our resident plant nerd, Jennifer, about her experience getting a pocket prairie started at her home. You can learn more about pocket prairies and their benefits through our previous post here. And don’t forget to check out Michael’s Pocket Prairie and Ilse’s Pocket Prairie!

When did you move into your home? 

In 2008. We lived with lawn and sad foundational shrubs until 2020! It was a COVID project. I spent many COVID weekends at Emma Long Park, which has a prairie, and decided to establish one closer to home. 

Matt standing in front year with some snow
2020 Emma Long Prairie inspiration
2020 Emma Long

What was your process/what steps did you take?

We took out the concrete driveway first and in the Fall of 2020, we planted mostly through seed mixes (with a handful of one gallon grasses and four inch salvia farnacea). Even after the 2021 freeze, it bloomed that Spring!  

2020 Jennifer's Pocket Prairie Garage
2021 Jennifer's Pocket Prairie Garage
January2021 Jennifer's Pocket Prairie in snow
Jan 2021
March 2021 Jennifer's Pocket Prairie
March 2021

What is your maintenance plan?

Most of the maintenance comes in late Summer when we cut back dead wildflowers and grasses that get too big. Overall, we do very little weeding and we do not need to reseed each season. Because the area was covered in concrete since the 40s, there was no seed bed to compete with the original prairie mix. The wildflowers have reseeded on their own in both the original prairie plot and other areas of the backyard. 

Jennifer's Pocket Prairie in April 2023
April 2023
Jennifer's Pocket Prairie in May2023
May 2023

How much do you water in the hottest months of the year?

My AC condensate feeds into the area where I have swamp milkweed and one Texas hibiscus – otherwise I water every other week when it stops raining.

Jennifer's Pocket Prairie in May2023
May 2023
Jennifer's Pocket Prairie in August 2023
August 2023

Favorite part of having a prairie at your house? 

I love the seasonal changes. Even in its dormant state during the Fall and Winter, there are still so many dynamic textures within the wildflower seed heads and Fall-blooming grasses. And it makes the Spring-bloom so much more sweet with all the birds, bees, and butterflies that come with it!

Least favorite part of having a prairie at your house? 

Nothing so far!