Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Not Quite Muhly Grass

Yesterday I wrote about Muhlenbergia capillaris, commonly called Gulf Muhly Grass. Alison mentioned that it did poorly in her PNW garden. Today Peter showed us a rough pink grass he saw in Alaska not quite suitable because of issues with the seed heads. I offer Eragrostis spp. as a substitute where pink blooms are wanted.


This is Eragrostis, Love Grass 2011, half the size of Muhly.

This is Gulf Muhly, 2012

Eragrostis is native to much of the eastern half of the U S. As best as I can determine, Muhly and Love Grass are related but do not come from a common ancestor. 

I had Eragostis in my garden before I knew its name. I dug it off the roadside. It finally died out because it was not in an ideal location. I may try again. 

It has not been easy for me to stop considering grasses as forage, hay or weeds and start to think of them as other than either lawn or weedy in the garden.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Planning for Fall: Muhly Grass

Sometimes a plant gets lost in the exuberance of those around it. That's what happened to Gulf Muhly Grass starts that I planted at the back of the bed where Muhly grows down the side. Tithonia came up and I left it for delight of butterflies, forgetting the struggling grass that got shaded out completely by Tithonia.

Muhlenbergia capillaris in the Rock Wall bed. 
We're doing better this year. Backlit by the sun from the west it makes a fall show.

Zinnias near Muhly

This year's Muhly grass starts are happily growing in front of Daylilies and in the midst of Lantana montevidensis, two big clumps and some wispier bits over out of sight on the right. There should have been clumps along the edge of the island in the background, had I not forgotten to pull Tithonia that shaded them last year. 

Let's move forward to the bed where Tithonia grows:

Somehow the mower got too close to the clump of Muhly in the center. 
All might have benefited with close mowing in late spring.
Tithonia on the north side of it may have to be thinned out if it starts to shade.

Moving around to view from the street side: Lantana crawled up into 
the Muhly clump and Melampodium planted itself in front.

Duranta is finally blooming to the left.

 Tithonia commenced to the North. Gulf Fritillaries found it.
You have to look hard to see the butterfly.
Next pic picks up the bed in sight at upper left in above view.

Madagascar Periwinkle, happy in the worst heat of the season. Untidy, but the dead plant next the rock is seed for next year's Black Eyed Susans, now on the wane. Beside it is a Lily, storing up energy for next year's blooms. 

A garden is never static. Last year, this bed had large clumps of Lemon Grass along the back edge. It is struggling this year after a cold winter and not every clump returned. You can see Gulf Muhly, Lemon Grass and Vetiver here in last October's post.

We've toured part of the front part of the Front Garden, where I plant the west sides of beds for view by passing motorists and the unseen back sides for my own amusement. 

Gulf Frit 

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