Magnifying Grass

September 29, 2013

Turf grass is something we have to have in the suburbs in our front yard.  Unfortunately our organic grass does not look as great as the grass our neighbors meticulously care for.  So yesterday Dan rolled an aerator around the lawn and I spread some fertilizer and grass seed.  I watered a little and it rained some, so hopefully things will improve.

In the back yard I am much more interested in ornamental grasses and native grasses that are becoming more prominent this time of year, and will last through the winter.

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The pink seed heads of Korean feather reed grass – calamagrostis brachytricha.  In the back are white boltonia flowers.

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The zebra grass in the drought garden by the patio has its red seed heads this week.  The variegated, banded leaves are beautiful all summer, but the tall seed heads add something special in the fall.

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A close up of the zebra grass show what looks like little yellow flowers, which I assume will become grass seed.

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Miscanthus sinenesis ‘morning light’ at dawn.  I have two of these large grasses in the yard and this is where I often find praying mantis egg sacs hidden.

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Cabbage moth rest on miscanthus ‘morning light.’  You can see that the stalks are just getting ready to produce the white seed heads. Damselflies like to rest on the leaves in the summer.

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‘Little bunny’ dwarf fountain grass – pennisetum alopecuroides.  These grasses are very small, but I thought this one was cute in August.

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In my mini-meadow I let turf grass go to seed.  The grasshoppers and crickets do well here.  I also planted two kinds of little bluestem grasses in this area, along with a giant sacaton grass.  In another area of the yard I have several varieties of panicum switch grass.  I like to try out these native grasses and cultivars of native grasses.  Some of these grasses act as fillers while I wait for shrubs to grow up.  Then I remove the grasses as the shrub border takes over.

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In the same theme, the butterfly weed seed is getting ready to take flight.  I still have not seen any monarch caterpillars or butterflies this year.

I wondered what would happen to my four black swallowtail caterpillars in the parsley.  They all seem to be gone now.  One evening this week I saw one of the caterpillars taking a long crawl across the patio, where it disappeared behind a brick near some ground cover.  I guess it had a plan…

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2 Responses to “Magnifying Grass”

  1. pbmgarden said

    Your collection of grasses look nice. My neighborhood requires turf grass in our front yards, so I need to copy your routine withe the seeding pretty soon.

    • Yes. We could use a small miracle with our turf grass! Haha! If we can’t make it look a little better we will call in the professionals next year. Usually a little rain does wonders, though.

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