Monday, 17 September 2012

Grasses in September at Lovegrass Farm

Festuca glauca 'Elijah Blue'
Sorghastrum nutans (Indian grass) at Lovegrass Farm
Bouteloua curtipendula (Side Oats grama) at Lovegrass Farm
Panicum virgatum 'Shenandoah' at Lovegrass Farm, Sept 15, 2012
September Really is the  Month when Ornamental Grasses Shine!  If you are able to plant them where they can be backlit with the sun you will get even more enjoyment from them!  A few photos from this weekend at Lovegrass Farm.

Bouteloua gracilis (Blue grama) at Lovegrass Farm on Sept. 15, 2012

Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Hameln' at Lovegrass Farm P.E.I.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

After The Rain at Lovegrass Farm

Sporobolus heterolepis (Prairie dropseed) taken Sept.6 at Lovegrass Farm
Panicum virgatum hanging over Pennisetum 'Hameln' after heavy rain
Eragrostis spectabilis (Purple lovegrass)
We had a heavy rainfall yesterday after a very dry Summer.  Thought I'd post a few pics of our Grasses.

Eragrostis trichodes (Sand lovegrass)


Friday, 25 May 2012

The Grasses are Growing Quickly at Lovegrass Farm

Our Grasses on May 25, 2012
Wow, plants have really grown this week with all the Sunshine and warm weather!  Looks like this will be the last weekend for cool season grasses for they are starting to send up their flowers.  It is getting dry; we could really use some rain.  We're still busy dividing and transplanting and doing a little weeding when we get a chance.  The warm season grasses have really jumped this week and are all ready for sale.  We are open for business today and tomorrow from 9 to 5.  Come and have a look at our wreaths as well.
Blue Oat Grass starting to flower on May 25, 2012
The Lilacs are in bloom on May 25, 2012

Thursday, 17 May 2012

We Are Up & Running at Lovegrass Farm

Our field on May 17, 2012
This upcoming weekend (Friday & Saturday from 9-5) will be our third one open for Sales.  We are already sold out of Calamagrostis 'Karl Foerster' & we're getting low on Helictotrichon sempervirens (Blue Oat) and Miscanthus Giganteus.   There are lots of other varieties for sale though as well as perennials, hostas, rose bushes, shrubs, lavender, etc.  The garden grew like crazy overnight with a little rain and warm temperatures.

Calamagrostis acutiflora 'Overdam' on May 17
Blue Oat Grass on May 17
Festuca glauca 'Elijah Blue' on May 17
Carex 'Red Rooster' has been popular this year!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Trimming back Ornamental Grass at Lovegrass Farm

Our Farm Field on April 11, 2012
Our Farm field April 17, 2012
We are having a spell of lovely warm weather.  It went from about 5 C last week to 19 C yest.  We have been slowly but surely cutting back the ornamental grasses & perennials and pruning back our Hardy Roses.  The cool season grasses are responding with new growth.  It'll be a while yet before the warm season varieties start growing.  It's supposed to go back down to a high of 6 C tomorrow but it is still April & it's P.E.I. 
Seslaria heufleriana April 17, 2012 at Lovegrass Farm
Deschampsia cespitosa April 17, 2012
Festuca 'Elijah Blue'
Seslaria Heufleriana is about the only grass that hardly shows any sign of die back in the winter.  The photo of Deschampsia cespitosa gives you an idea of how much we trim back.  Trimming back these cool season grasses also encourages them to thicken up.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Fall frosts on Ornamental Grass at Lovegrass Farm

Fall Frost on Helictotrichon sempervirens (Blue oat grass) photo taken Nov. 2, 2011
Frost on Eragrostis trichodes (Sand lovegrass)
These photos were taken last November at Lovegrass Farm. The frost on the grasses took my breath away that morning, literally, for frost makes breathing difficult (some leftover childhood asthma), and because it is So Beautiful!  I am in Awe of Mother Nature!
Frost on Seslaria autumnalis
Frost on Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Hameln'
Frost on Blue oat grass
Frost on Panicum virgatum (Switchgrass)
Pennisetum 'Hameln'
Frost on Sporobolus heterolepis (Prairie dropseed)

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Sorghastrum nutans (Indian Grass) at Lovegrass Farm

Sorghastrum nutans (Indian grass) photo taken Sept. 24, 2011 at Lovegrass Farm
Sorghastrum (sor-GAS-trum) nutans (NOO-tanz) or Indian grass is a warm season, Native tall grass prairie species.  It grows from 3 - 6 ft. tall (90 - 180 cm.) and is mostly clump forming but capable of spreading modestly by rhizomes.  The grass stays low until it starts to bloom in late August.  In the fall, blue-green blades of this hardy upright grass turn yellow and the stiff stems are topped with reddish-brown flowers which are highlighted by dangling golden orange anthers.  The flowers have a metallic sheen when back lit by the sun.  It is lovely in fresh & dried flower arrangements.
Indian grass on July 5, 2011
Indian grass prefers Full Sun, is tolerant of a wide range of soil types and is moderately drought and salinity tolerant.  With less moisture it tends to be shorter.  It is useful for erosion control and highly deer resistant (not that that's a problem in P.E.I.).  It is an excellent choice for many low-maintenance gardens, ideal in a wildflower meadow.  It makes a good accent plant but needs companions to remain upright.  The seeds provide food for birds and mammals and the grass provides excellent nesting material and cover for wildlife.  It is also a nutritious plant for livestock.  A large variety of insects feed on this grass, thus providing food for open field songbirds.  Indian grass is a larval host plant for several butterfly species.
Indian grass, August 22, 2011 (note the stiff flowering stems)
Perhaps Sorghastrum nutans received its common name; Indian grass, because it grew in the tall grass prairie that supported the way of life of the Plains First Nations.   North American Native peoples wove Indian grass into baskets and mats and dyed and threaded it with quills and beads for ornament.  Create a little Prairie on your property for birds and insects to find food and refuge!
Sorghantrum nutans  Photo taken Sept. 13, 2011

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Leymus arenarius or Leymus mollis ?

Leymus in our garden at Lovegrass Farm; grown from seed
I believe this grass to be either Leymus arenarius (European dune grass) or Leymus mollis (Northern beach grass).  I don't mind admitting that  I have a lot to learn about identifying grasses in the wild.  If anyone can help me out here I'd appreciate it!  It would probably help if I had taken a photo of the plant in bloom at the shore but don't often think to bring along the camera when we're going for eel grass.  We've grown our plants from seed wild collected on the north shore and bays where we collect eel grass.  Leymus grows along the coasts in beach sand tolerating salt spray as well as salty soil.  It spreads by rhizomes (underground stems) to form dense clumps. It's soft blue leaves and straw flowers just say Summer & Shore to me!
Leymus grown from seed wild collected on P.E.I.
This is Not a grass to mix in your perennial border but perhaps would be a good choice on saltwater shorelines where you may be battling aggressive weeds or at a cottage.  We've also seen it used in Plymouth, Mass. in a park by the ocean and in parking strips and medians where it will stay confined.
Leymus in a park in Plymouth, Mass.
Leymus used in a median in Plymouth, Mass.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Carex Muskingumensis (Palm sedge)

Carex Muskingumensis (Palm sedge)
Carex (KAIR-ex) Muskingumensis (mus-king-goo-MEN-sis) or (Palm sedge) is a versatile sedge that tolerates considerable drought and will grow in damp or wet soils.  This hardy Native plant occurs naturally in moist habitats but we grow it in full sun in sandy soil at Lovegrass Farm.  In full sun the leaf color is lighter and the plant spreads more slowly.  Folks are often looking for a grass that will grow well under light shade and tolerate tree roots.  This would be ideal for that purpose.  Palm sedge has unique foliage; bright green leaves that branch out from the main stem similar to a palm tree  to a height of 2 ft. (60 cm.).  Terminal inflorescence's open green in late spring and turn light brown.  The palm like texture of the leaves has a tropical feel and looks great mixed with broad leaved plants like Ligularia or ferns in damp shade.  It is a slowly creeping warm season sedge that is durable and long-lived and well suited for ground cover use.
Carex Muskingumensis at Denver Botanic Gardens in October, 2011
Carex Muskingumensis at Lovegrass Farm in late fall

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Bouteloua gracilis (Blue Grama) Ornamental Grass

Bouteloua gracilis (Blue grama) October, 2011
Bouteloua (boo-tuh-LOO-ah) gracilis (grah-SIL-is) or Blue grama grass is sometimes called Gramma's Eyebrows or Mosquito grass.  It's flowers are all concentrated to one side of the flowering stem and held at a horizontal angle like an eyebrow or tiny brush.  A mature plant or grouping can resemble a swarm of flying insects.  Blue grama has fine leaves & stems with blue-green seed heads that change to a purple/brown and bleach to a straw color and often curl up as they dry.  Unfortunately, I only have late season photos to show you.  It's small size of 8 - 15 inches (20 - 38 cm.) in full flower makes it among the shortest of the native ornamental grasses.  This warm season grass is easily grown in a wide range of soils in Full Sun as long as they are well-drained.  Hardy to Zone 3, Blue grama is an excellent choice for rock gardens, naturalised areas, native plant gardens, and unmowed meadows especially where drought tolerant plants are needed.
Bouteloua gracilis at the Denver Botanic Gardens in October, 2011
Blue grama at the Denver Botanic Gardens in October of 2011
Blue grama at the Denver Botanic Gardens in October, 2011
Blue grama can be used for a no-mow ground cover and is often mixed with Buffalo grass and/or wildflowers and mowed occasionally to 2 - 4 in. (5 - 10 cm.) for a lawn.  You might not want to mow and miss out on the showy flowers.  Uncut meadows of blue grama are stunning backlit with the rising and setting of the sun!  It attracts Birds & Butterflies and is a Larval Host for Skippers.  It's seeds are eaten by granivorous birds.  We have blue grama in our meadow at Lovegrass Farm.  It was very common in the wild in the high desert area we visited in Colorado.  We found it to be much shorter in the wild and as can be seen in the above photo it is great to control erosion on slopes.
Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition' at Denver Botanic Gardens
There are different seed strains available of Blue grama.  'Blonde Ambition' is a 2011 Plant Select Winner discovered by David Salmon; Chief Horticulturalist of High Country Gardens.  It is much taller than the common wild plant (2 1/2 to 3 ft.) (75 - 90 cm.). 

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Sterile Cultivars??

Festuca glauca 'Elijah Blue', Aug. 12, 2011 at Lovegrass Farm
I have read that 'Elijah Blue' is a Sterile Cultivar of Festuca glauca.  Have Fellow Gardeners found this to be True Or Not?  We've never noticed it to seed out for us but we've had gardeners lamenting that their blue fescues seed out.  I have a photo taken at the Botanic Gardens in Denver last Fall where you can visibly see the fescue seeding out but I'm not sure of the variety.  Wish I had taken notes, but like a kid in a candy store I was overwhelmed by So Much to See in a few hours!  We've never had a lot of seedheads on our fescue plants.  I've also read that the color looks more vibrant with the seedheads removed.  That makes sense for the plants' energy would be used for continued growth instead of making seed but I happen to like the look of the seedheads.   Our Native variety of Deschampsia cespitosa definitely does seed out but I've never noticed that happening with the cultivar; Deschampsia 'Bronzeschleier'.  All it takes is a little hoeing out to get rid of any of these unwanted seedlings so I personally do not consider it a problem.  Curious to know what other gardeners' experience has been!

'Elijah Blue' July 5, 2011 at Lovegrass Farm
The same plants Aug. 22, 2011
Festuca glauca at Denver Botanic Gardens in Oct., 2011