Sunday, September 16, 2012

I love grasses, I hate grass

Later today I will go outside and put the fall fertilizer on the grass - what little I have left of it.  I do not like grass.  I know that there are folks who love it.  And I will admit that it is probably less of a commitment than large flower and shrub beds, especially if you hire someone to maintain it.  But I have no affinity for it.

I do like ornamental grasses, up until the point they become a nuisance.  Such was the case with fountain grass in my walkway.  It looked beautiful.  And then it spread, reseeded itself all over, and locked itself in so hard it took three us us to dig out one clump.  It is now relegated to one small clump in the back corner of my lot.  May it grow in peace and in one place.

Other grasses I am much happier with, especially my zebra grass.  It grows 7-8 feet tall and is a nice focal point in the garden.

The 'flowers' at the top will last all winter and then in the spring I will cut it back to let it emerge again.
Another tall grower, 5-6 feet, is Maiden Grass.  I planted this when I planted the fountain grass in the side walk, but it is much better behaved.  Again, the flowers will last through the winter.
This year I moved some grasses to the front from the north flower beds.  I divided a very large clump of Feather reed grass.  As these grow taller they will fill out and provide shade to the astilbe and block the view of the disaster next door.
I also divided some sweet flag grass and transplanted it in the new front area.  It is a low-growing grass and spreads slowly.
Last year I added some Northern Sea Oats.  It can be invasive, so I will keep a close eye in it.
And then another reason for me to hate regular grass.  Talk about invasive!  It is very difficult to pull out grass that is growing in your flower beds.  You have to actually dig everything up, though there is a new chemical on the market that works with some flowers and does not kill them.
Yesterday, I finally finished digging up my Switch grass and separating each stem from the regular grass that was growing along with it.  What a chore!  And I still have a few clumps that I threw in the dirt pile in back cause I was just too tired to continue the process.  Now I have a nice area with NO grass, just grasses.
This grass is growing at the base of some clematis vines.  It grows about 18 inches tall.  I also have it growing in back with some fiber optic grass.  This grass has little blooms on the ends that resemble fiber optics, hence the name.
And, as if I needed another reason to like ornamental grasses - the deer do not eat them!

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