The world of plants that fit the ground cover bill is diverse and fascinating, and some are specialists where grass falls short. Meadows benefit from being mowed (or scythed) only twice a year. The grass is great for rock gardens with succulents, native landscaping, borders, and mass plantings. Maintaining a traditional lawn is a lot of work. Thank you for this great article Wren.I live in Broomfield Colorado where our soil is heavy clay(bentonite) I am told.While I experimented with planting clover and drought tolerant seed last summer it did not take very well. In addition to spraying scores of pesticides and fertilizers to keep that freakily verdant grass bright no matter what the weather, Americans use one-third or more of their available freshwater to care for their lawns. The grass also makes a fantastic filler for areas of the garden that look sparse, such as around the pool or the corners of your yard. They’ll back up each other and give you a surface that will take the worst of what your kids and dogs can throw at it. These soft-to-walk-on carpets require no mowing and can even tolerate some foot traffic. Mexican feather grass survives in dry conditions and thrives just fine after being cut back. Your article made so much sense.Part of our family are from around Springfield, MO; are you or others among your country friends open to have people visit for a few hours to see how you homestead? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below! They still mowed it when needed to keep it from growing too tall, but when it came time for a middle-school wildflower collection project, I found 15 of the 20 specimens required from my own backyard! Secondly, make sure there is plenty of water during the first few weeks of growing. Zones: 4-9. Back then, there was at least some strategic advantage. Which means it is potentially invasive. One of my favorite memories of childhood is the oregano patch that escaped into my parent’s backyard. At Growers Exchange we grow farm-fresh, natural, non-GMO herb plants and specialize in culinary, medicinal, aromatic, and rare herbs. Plant these bulbs in autumn and they will flower in spring for many years to come. Do you have shady areas that are looking a bit naked? Read this article to gain a spectacular insight into the world of grassland biome vegetation. So much of our version of homesteading is inspired by looking at the modes handed to us–like grass lawns, for example–and trying to choose to follow the good design found in creation that often seems to run counter to convention! Despite its beauty, some regions consider it invasive. A dwarf, non-flowering variety, C. nobile ‘Treneague’ will give you a fragrant, dense, evergreen mat that some say is the perfect lawn replacement. Still, pampas grass is beautiful and complements other plants in your garden. It is used to water non-native, non-food swathes of grass that are chemically forced to stay a monoculture, and cropped weekly by gas-guzzling machines as a status symbol. It also tends to get taller, reaching a height of 5 feet or more, and about 4 feet wide. At least one-third of our drinkable water isn’t used to grow food, water livestock, or give thirsty people a drink. Also called monkey grass (though there’s a totally different family of plants that also shares the common name) and lilyturf, this easy-care perennial is a fantastic choice for borders and those awkward areas of ground between sidewalks and the road, or around trees. Our yard is native woodland plants under trees and prairie in sun, with a few raised bed vegetable plots. Regular maintenance is a key factor in healthy, growing grass. This citrus-flavored grass overwinters well in a dormant state in a cool, dark spot indoors, or you can grow it as an indoor herb through winter in colder zones. If there’s plenty of light, grass plants grow full and fast. 😉, Your email address will not be published. They started out as a status symbol, and they’ve been holding that dubiously positive rank since they were first carved out of the fields around castles. is actually a member of the grass family. It likes partial to full sun and moist, well-drained soil. Here in Minnesota, many of these plants do not survive the winter, esp in low snow years. Ornamental grasses typically have either a spreading habit or a clumping habit. Like most flowers and grass you're meadow plants will grow best in an open, sunny, non shaded position in your garden. Your kale bed should be mulched with grass, straw, and compost to keep its soil cool and to conserve optimal moisture. Have any of you dared to spurn convention and gotten rid of your lawns for something better? I wanted to see if it was possible to create a ‘perennial meadow’, where the grass was cut only once a year. Grass is a monocotyledon plant, herbaceous plants with narrow leaves growing from the base. And all those weeds and grass seeds sprouting take valuable energy from your vegetable plants! Consider transforming part of your landscape into an aromatic thyme garden. The term “citronella plant” can refer to two different types of plants: citronella grass (Cymbopogon nardus and Cymbopogon winterianus) and a scented geranium variously known as citrosa or mosquito plant (Pelargonium citrosum).Citronella grass is an inedible grass related to lemongrass.It is the main source of citronella oil, an essential oil used as a non-toxic insect repellent. My spinone only runs across it 2x a week. It is also sometimes called porcupine grass (Miscanthis sinensis 'Strictus'). A great way to grow these grasses is in a container. How to plant bulbs in grass. Also useful for shady, acid areas is sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum). To be safe, confirm that your state's laws permit use of this grass before buying or planting it. Instead, start with seeds or very small plants which can then send out roots to establish themselves firmly. We always joked that their yard was barely one-third grass with all the lovely wildflowers they allowed. Note: Imperata cylindrica is an invasive species that, according to U.S. federal law, is illegal to grow without a permit. It can grow 5 feet tall or taller and about 5 feet wide, even if you prune it during its growing season, which is spring and summer in the western United States. Blue oat grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens, Avena candida) grows to about 3 to 6 feet in height and 1 to 3 feet in width. If you have to deal with an HOA, what are your strategies for trying to make them see the light? Fakahatchee grass, photo taken at Kerbys Nursery. At that time of year, the ground is still warm enough for quick germination, and the young grass plants have the entire upcoming cool season to become established. Seed and Feed. It's too late to plant warm-season grass species when the risk of frost is less than 60 days away in warm climates and less than 90 … Related Post: Shade Plants: 15 Garden Greats To Grow In Full Or Partial Shade. This ornamental grass can grow as tall as 6 feet and feature tiny flowers in the spring that can be yellow, white, or pink in color. If not, that is certainly understandable. If you grow in hay bales, your entire crop and bale will be covered in grass and weeds. Plants will prevent erosion and suck up some of the excess moisture from the drain field. Related Post: 5 Compelling Reasons to Turn Your Lawn Into a Meadow. That is what we use un Hawaii. Not actually black, it is more of a dark greenish-purple; it looks striking when paired with light lavender, chartreuse, or lime-colored plants. Examine the stems of the grass at the soil level. Planting grass in rocky soil presents a number of challenges. This makes it a relative not only of those beautiful irises that you grow … Companion planting is a process in which the conditions of a growing environment are improved by planting beneficial plants close to one another. #shadeplants #easytogrowshadeplants #shadegarden Cut the grass back to 1 to 2-feet in length until you can see the base of the plant. The very definition of ground cover from a landscaping perspective is a low-growing, low-maintenance, perennial, spreading plant that keeps the ground from being bare. For cool-season grasses (which grow best in fall, spring, and, in some areas, winter), the best time to plant is late summer to early fall. This deciduous grass can be identified by its slender stems, which look like tiny bamboo stalks. Understanding your grass type is a crucial, fundamental step in the grass … #2 The Myth Of Conditioning. These grasses can get over ten feet (3 m.) tall, which means you need plenty of room for these monstrous, yet amazing plants. They also grow very fast and tolerate artificial light. We’ve heard about blue star creeper but really don’t know if it would be a good option. Even if you’re clear-eyed enough to see how unnecessary a dumb carpet of grass is to the quality of life, your nosy neighbors or homeowner’s association (HOA) are usually not sympathetic to your views. Why you not mention perennial peanut? Deep burial is essential to keep the newly planted grass from being washed away by currents. Reasons Why Grass Won't Grow. Thalictrum (common name meadow rue) is an easy to grow perennial. The first is that it is a little less durable than a grass lawn, but this can be easily remedied by planting grass and clover together. Any much further north, and the beautiful, flat-growing foliage of perennial peanut may lose the “perennial” part, haha. 😉, Thanks so much for the website Wren; we’ll check it out. Bamboo naturally grows in warm climates, but you can also find cold-hardy varieties, such as Bisetti (hardy to zone 4), Nuda (hardy to zone 4), Giant Leaf (hardy to zone 5), and Spectabilis (hardy to zone 5). In a garden, it looks striking next to lime green and silver grasses and plants such as oat grass or sweet potato vine. Learn tips for creating your most beautiful (and bountiful) garden ever. I want to repeat that fact because it makes my brain hurt. Oregano can tolerate some foot traffic but won’t put up with heavy use for long, so plant it where you can enjoy the scent without stomping on it too much. Dear Wren and Family: Thank you so much for sharing this part of your lives with others. Name: Andropogon gerardii. A native of China, bamboo was introduced to the Western world sometime after the mid-19th century. Keeping up with the Joneses and their perfect patch of fescue has become the middle-class attempt to pretend to be the old fancy lords (that they probably don’t even realize they are emulating). I have always felt this way and have always encouraged people to just let those dandelions grow! Black mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens') grows to only about 8 inches high but is a spreader, making it an ideal ground cover. Hey there, Lynn! I have somewhat ambivalent feelings about its invasiveness, however, as it is a fantastic fodder crop, wonderful for bees, and in my opinion, far better than grass alone. 1. There are a few different varieties of Liriope including L. muscari (clumping), L. gigantea (giant), and L. spicata (spreading). Phalaris arundinacea, common name gardener's garter of has leaves with a mauve tinge which tones in well with the Thalictrum. Kale should be planted in a garden area that is exposed to equal amounts of sun and shade. There are two downsides that I see to clover. It is named after botanist/chemist/mineralogist Henry Muhlenberg. Cultivars such as 'All Gold' and 'Aureola' have variegated green and gold leaves. It’s low growing with purple and green foliage, medicinally useful, pleasantly-flowered with little purple blooms, and able to flourish in the shade. Propagating in the early spring gives the pampas grass the entire growing season to grow a strong root system. Create an ecosystem with natives! Varieties with fine flowers and seed heads should have plain backgrounds to show off their blooms. Well, not as low as closely sheared turf grass. Red clover while edible and medicinal, grows to be feet taller than the comfortable strolling-height of its more diminutive cousin. It can be identified by its fountainlike silver-blue blades with a light beige dome that appears in the summer. God bless you all. It’s truly a shame because this “weed” does just great as a lawn in its own right. A long time ago (late 1990s) I decided I would run a small-scale experiment on growing perennials in rough grass. What a delightful comment, Tammy! Recreate that dreamy, dense carpet of spongy green that covers forest floors with a moss bed of your own. The Mexican Feather Grass is very well displayed in the garden… You may buy monkey grass in a container at the garden center. Bury them up to the neck (where the first or second leaf starts on the stem) in the sand. Preparing Your Planting Area Choose the right time of year. If there’s plenty of light, grass plants grow full and fast. Instead, we recommend growing lemongrass by either propagating it from shoots or buying starter plants: Option 1: Get lemongrass stalks from an Asian grocery store. Maybe a slope too steep and eroding to support turf? One of the world’s best known gravel gardens is that of Beth Chatto – bursting with life and colour, it has famously never been watered and relies solely on rain. Also, it’s apparently toxic to horses, so plan accordingly. Zebra grass is known as Miscanthus sinensis 'Zebrinus' botanically. In an age without lawn mowers and gasoline, the only way to keep the turf trim was by employing scores of subservient, scythe-wielding serfs (say that five times fast) to do what amounted to pretty pointless work. Kathleen Miller is a Master Gardener and Horticulturist with over 30 years experience in gardening and sustainable farming. Why does everyone hate this poor plant? It’s crucial that you … In peaceful times, the meticulously-cut acres surrounding your home were a public declaration of your wealth. There’s absolutely no chance of eradicating clover, but if you’re intending to plant an entirely native patch on your land, be aware that clover does spread and isn’t likely to go away anytime soon. Even if you just do a small patch at a time, it will get the process started. Related Post: 5 Perennial Herbs for Fresh Garden Flavor All Year Long. Most of my plant knowledge comes from my gardening and naturalist experience east of the Mississippi, so I can’t give personal recommendations for plants that I know. I’m with you 100%! First, the grass needs to be killed off–trying the solarization method will keep chemicals out of your world (here’s a link to directions here–> Basically, you’d need to cut the grass as short as possible, soak the ground with water, then cover it with plastic so that the hot summer sun can cook the grass into oblivion. It's inexpensive, grows easily in poor soil, and requires very little maintenance! This guide will teach you how to grow grass in your lawn and fill in empty patches for a lush, green landscape in just a few steps. While grass seems to be everywhere, it’s not exactly the easiest ground cover to keep healthy. Note: This is a different plant than a cover crop. The plants grow well in moist or dry soils. I’d be delighted if everyone would do the research on their own to find out what works best for their specific land–chamomile is native somewhere, after all! Like fountain grass, New Zealand flax (Phormium tenax) has become increasingly popular in residential and commercial applications. How Do You Grow Grass Fast? Oregano does eventually spread and take over areas, but it takes time, too–battling grass will really slow it down. So happy to find your article! Fill the tray with a 1 1/2-inch layer of fresh potting soil. For more information and motivation to convert at least part of your yard into a beautiful meadow, check out this article. Depending on what you pair zebra grass with, it can have an exotic, tropical look and is striking planted near broad-leafed tropical plants with colorful flowers such as canna, ginger, hibiscus,​ and plumeria. Possessing a similar deep-red, purplish- bronze color, New Zealand flax's leaves are more broad or strap-like than the finer fountain grass. We are an older couple, grown kids and no pets so there’s not too much consideration for wear and tear, I imagine we’d mostly walk on it when we tend to the flower beds.I feel the slower growing options would take too long to achieve what were hoping. Depending on your opinion, you can thank or gripe at Abraham Levitt for embedding a green, weedless carpet of turf into the white picket-fence psyche of the past six decades or so. Monkey grass has long, slender, pointed green leaves and purple or white flowers.This spreading, clumping plant also produces purple or black berry-like … Peruse this list of non-traditional, fabulous ground covers that might be exactly what you need. The plant also benefits from nitrogen so be sure to prepare the soil by mixing in manure-enriched leaf compost and peat moss. I know, the name makes you feel like there’s a mustachioed man secretively staring at you from a fifteen-passenger van, but this pretty ground cover deserves a better reputation. An issue with ground ivy, as it is also known, is keeping its invasive nature contained. Thanks for your comment, Anna–it’s good to have the tip on Minnesota-specific growing conditions. I would recommend letting it do its thing. Upright clumps spread slowly underground by runners. Clover was once considered a weed in the grass, but it’s surprisingly beneficial as a lawn plant. Plants stretch to between three and six feet tall. Your goal should be to plant grass when it would naturally grow. Species & Cultivars of Grass-like Plants. On the other hand, hay is a grass, and is full of seed heads from the grass. In regions that do not experience freezing temperatures, this grass is a perennial. It forms a dense cover that barely requires maintenance. You certainly couldn’t brag about your monetary accumulations as the lords did — the animal manure was the dead giveaway — but there was probably no denying the pleasure of strolling unimpeded across a gently rolling hill. While some grass plants require eight hours-plus of full sun a day during the growing season, others are fine at handling limited light. The Best Time to Plant Grass. All your pampas grass needs to thrive, is a sunny growing site, with fertile soil. The huge, elegant pampas grass makes a statement in the garden, but can you grow pampas grass in pots? It creates nitrogen, enriching the soil and helping other plants grow stronger. Blue oat grass likes full sun and weekly water. If there is too much shade, the lawn will grow sparsely. Through dormant seeding, grass seed can be planted in November when the weather is cold enough to keep it dormant until the weather warms up in the spring. Agenturfotograf/Getty Images There are some plants you may wish to avoid growing in your landscape if you have problems with allergies. With starry, compound leaves and delicate white flowers, it can fill that bare patch with grace. I also would recommend contacting a nature center like the Hoyt Arboretum to get their recommendations on native plants that want to grow in your lawn anyway. It’s where we get the term “launde” which is an Old English word meaning glade or barren area. If you’re going to be trampling them a lot, I would recommend using flagstones for the heavy-use areas and letting them fill in the gaps with their luscious green. So glad to find some solidarity on this subject, and I truly hope that you can find your permanent place sometimes soon. The optimal choice for your area is native types that want to grow there anyway, so you’ll have to do some local research. When choosing a plant, look for short plants that won’t obstruct the path or walkway and that can grow … It doesn’t need to be watered, fertilized, or really messed with except for keeping its runners contained. Planting grass seed can be a more economical way to start a lawn or restore your existing landscape. Egyptian Papyrus fits nicely into the ornamental grass category. Thyme is drought-tolerant, often used in the sizzling heat of full-sun rock gardens, and available in a huge array of scents, leaf patterns, and bloom colors. As a legume, it is a nitrogen fixer, so you can think of it as creating its own fertilizer. We woodchipped the last patch of lawn after our dog rototilled it and now don’t mow and never add pesticides, we water rarely. With their beautiful flower plumes and wide range of foliage colours (including blue, black, silver, red, yellow and green) ornamental grasses look spectacular when used in a prairie-style setting. Alternatively, let them swish and sway through a herbaceous border, where they act as a subtle backdrop for more ostentatious perennials.