When we bought this house one of my first aims was to make the front garden more inviting. Apparently it had once been lawn and was then planted up with evergreens and covered with stones. Although the evergreens give great structure and colour in the winter, I wanted something a little more exciting to catch the summer evening sun.

I'm not sure when it happened, but I've been enchanted by the idea of a prairie garden for some time now and this expanse of stone looked like the ideal place. Sure, it's solid clay under that stone and most prairie plants like good drainage. But I wasn't going to let a small thing such as inappropriate soil conditions stop me.

It's a trial to see what does survive but as I was hoping for a naturalistic swathe of grasses and flowers, I wanted self-seeding plants. And my theory is that if it's easy to grow from seed, it will more likely self-seed. So I bought a pack of mixed rudbeckia seeds, which shot out of the seedling tray at an alarming rate, and I planted them up. I had so many I had to give them away. All of them survived and looked stunning throughout the autumn among the grasses.

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