Benjamin Vogt

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Lincoln, Nebraska 68522

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

w: Monarch Gardens LLC

e: view email monarchgard@gmail.com


Monarch Gardens is Benjamin Vogt. His 5,000' home garden on a 1/4 acre lot 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).  For five years (2012-2017) Benjamin wrote an award-winning garden column for Houzz (over 3 million reads with 200 articles) and has contributed to books such as Lawn Gone! and Pollinator Friendly Gardening. You'll find his freelance photography and writing in several publications, including The Xerces Society's Gardening for Butterflies (Timber Press), as well as Orion Magazine, Northern Gardener, APLD's The Designer, Fix, and many others. He has been interviewed for dozens of podcasts, articles, and books while speaking nationally on environmental activism and sustainable urban design for wildlife.

Order a signed copy of Benjamin's latest book A New Garden Ethic: Cultivating Defiant Compassion for an Uncertain Future or listen to some interviews on the topic.

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 10,000 folks share the joys and purpose of milkweed, native plants, pollinators, and curbing climate change. Benjamin has an M.F.A. (Ohio State) and Ph.D. (Nebraska) 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, while his Pushcart Prize nominated poems have appeared in over sixty publications. He is the author of three poetry collections and two unpublished memoirs -- the memoirs are based on family & gardening as well as homesteading the prairie environment in the 1800s.

Benjamin lives in Lincoln, Nebraska with his wife, infant son, and four cats.

No matter how much you push the envelope it'll still be stationery. Wearing a clock on your belt is a waist of time. I used to work at a blanket factory but it folded.


What Folks Say:

"Absolutely moving, inspired, poetic message. This lecture will change the way I garden forever after. So. Very. Worthwhile.”
-- Northwest Flower & Garden Show reviewer (on the topic A New Garden Ethic)

"Perhaps the most important thing a keynote speaker can do is challenge your assumptions and enable you to think in different ways, especially when talking about moral and ethical imperatives. This is not an easy task and Benjamin successfully navigated this through his heartfelt words, humor, easy speaking style, and his deep and wide-ranging knowledge of ecology, psychology, and history. Our membership embraced his keynote address as his talk changed the trajectory of conversation for the rest of the day. "
-- Drew Lathin, Board of Directors, Wildflower Association of Michigan

"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


A New Garden Ethic

In a time of climate change and mass extinction, how and for whom we garden matters more than ever.

This impassioned and provocative talk asks: How can we recognize and develop empathy for other species? What roll do native plants have in opening us to the perspectives of others? What benefits happen to our society when we advocate for the equality and freedom of a silent majority -- pollinators, birds, spiders, and more? Through ecology, psychology, garden design, and philosophy, we’ll explore the rich complexity of rethinking pretty in urban and suburban landscapes.


Replacing Your Lawn / Making My Prairie Garden

How can you help wildlife AND appease neighbors AND avoid county weed control? I've had to do all three on my 1/4 acre suburban lot, and I'll walk you through the do and don't. From planning the landscape to talking with code enforcement, your natural garden can work to help the environment and bring people back to nature.

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!


More talks can be found at monarchgard.com, as well as podcast interviews with me from NPR and others.



Lincoln, Nebraska, Great Plains, Midwest, and nationally

Photo Gallery

  • Nature Coming Back to Suburbia

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Audience Reviews

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Benjamin Vogt

Deborah Christopher from Latrobe, PA - 10/27/2021 11:33:17

I quit taking notes shortly after Benjamin started speaking. His words, quotations and photos were compelling. I gained a better understanding of what we're up against in convincing gardeners to be part of the solution. Yet we're a knowledgeable and sensitive group . . . where better to start? Benjamin's talk moved me to feel more connected to my personal mission, and to have hope for our tiny friends and allies in the landscape. Our purpose has been clarified. I recommend him highly, and I'm grateful for his presentation.

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