Bulbs and Grasses

Look closely: you can hardly see the grass in this ‘Altruist’ daffodil plus grass combination, but as the bulb foliage dies, the prairie dropseed grasses will take over. daffodils with dropseed sculpture gardenSpring bulbs with grasses are a great combination as Erik Lemke, Minnesota Landscape Gardener, shows in his photo of the Sculpture Garden that he manages.

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Award winning Pa sedge

Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, PA lists one graminoid on their 2018 Sustainable Plant List: Carex pensylvanica.  The plants “are selected for their non-invasive habits, as well as for their resistance to disease and insects. Once established, these plants require minimal watering and fertilization.” Native to drier woodlands, Penn sedge flowers early in Minnesota, as seen here on May 9, 2018. IMG_0085

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Spring Clean Up

2018 is the second year we have cut back some of the native grass tops instead of burning, in hopes of minimizing damage to Lepidoptera that may have overwintered in the plant bases. Here the great crew of volunteers and Landscape Gardener Erik Lemke use a gas powered trimmer, rakes, and tarp to move switchgrass tops to the compost pile. The other grasses were burned May 2, before new growth had started.

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Spring? 2018

Dr. Mark Seeley reported this morning on MPR that the first 12 days of April 2018 were the coldest on record for Minnesota. He reminded us of the recent 2013 spring’s slow start and our resilence in forgetting these events 🙂
I found these comparisons: IMG_1466
April 10, 2013 snow on giant miscanthus
and
this week, April 9, 2018 switchgrass at Ridgedale Mall, Minnetonka: IMG_4522

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Prairie Dropseed is WI 2018 Perennial

The Wisconsin Nursery and Landscape Association has selected  prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis) is its 2018 perennial of the year. Great choice as this beautiful clump forming grass is a hardy native with attractive flowers and food for many native skipper butterflies. IMG_0296

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Grasses simulate wheat fields

Another grass quote, this one from John Friel, marketing manager for Emerald Coast Growers, “A swath of Panicum, Miscanthus or Calamagrostis is a simulacrum, echoing fields of wheat swaying in summer breezes.” The visual of a swaying field of grass is good to fill our minds while we await spring in Minnesota. IMG_1986

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Sporobolize a garden?

Noel Kingsbury stated that to use prairie dropseed has now become a verb….to Sporobolize a garden…….using large plantings of prairie dropseed….interesting. Prairie dropseed is native to much of the U. S. however, it is endangered or threatened in several states as listed by the USDA.

yellow prairie dropseed. Sporobolus

Yellow fall color on prairie dropseed, Sporobolus heterolepis

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