just bought my first grass!

creamgogo(il)August 18, 2005

how cool is that! i know no one really cares, but i'm pretty excited! i got porcupine grass and fountain grass and something called avalanche. to watch them blow in the wind is sooo awesome. i've ordered northern sea oats (i think that's the name), and looking forward to planting it.

can't wait to go through your posts to see what i'm missing out on!

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jake(z4b-5 NE)

Welcome to the man's perennials of life.

Plant a grass, water it the first year, grab a chair, grab a refreshment, watch the grass grow. Spring time cut it back, grab a chair, grab a refreshment, watch the grass grow.

Spring time cut it back, grab a beer, watch the grass grow.

Oh yeah!! A mans perennial. Grab a beer and watch the grass grow.

That's why we have 40+ grasses growing in our yard. Have had more, lost some and are trying new ones as well.


    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 6:08PM
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blackie57(z5 NY Broome Co)

Oh believe me, we CARE !!! Grasses are the backbone of my gardens. If you want to see mine just go to the link below... I have Calamagrostis "Avalanche", although its in its first year it's growing superbly C. Overdam is a smaller version of this and it's a cool season grass which means it will come up and set its plumes way before the ewarm season grasses, Miscanthus being one of those... and my M. zerbinus (porcupine grass) is starting to come on this year so much that i'm moving it next year to give it some more room and sun... Sea Oats are fabulous !! you'll love them.. just make sur eto give them enough space because you'll be surprised at how wide they will get when mature... one you also might want to try is M. Varigatus.. My first one I planted last year is beautiful this year..next year wil be the one !! remember year one they sleep, year two they creap, year three they LEAP !! and boy do they leap !!! Remember, dont fertilize and water only when needed...they thrive on neglect..

Congtats and as by good buddy Jake says...

Grab a cool beverage and watch them grow !!!! Life is good ...


Here is a link that might be useful: Blackie's Gardens

    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 9:53PM
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jake, it's meant to be that i found this site..as......i, truly, pulled up a bucket, popped a beer! the only problem is....please don't vote me off the island.....i'm not a man!!

blackie, wow your yard is great. wish i would have seen that before i wasted money on these stupid perennials i'm not loving! also, i see you're in zone 5. the fountain grass i bought says a "tender" perennial. it also said to 20 degrees. does that mean it's not hardy here in freezing cold iowa?

how long does it take for these grasses to get to be the massive sizes they end up? also, how hard are they to move? being new to these, i'm pretty sure i'll plant too close or something will go wrong.

also, where do you get these? i'm in a smaller town. so i'm thinking beggers can't be choosers. you get what they want you to have, basically.

thanks, cream

    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 8:23AM
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jake(z4b-5 NE)

Being in Iowa I can only suggest that you make a drive to Clinton IA and acroos the river is Fulton IL. There you will find Long's Garden Center / Nursery.

Long's has roughly 100+ grasses for sale. I have shopped there when it was called Bald Eagle Nursery and that's going back about 8 years or so.

Only reason I call grasses a man's perennial has to do with the mentallity of my mind set, " ... do some work (very little if possible) take a break and have a refreshment".

Perennials, and we have a garden 20 x 50 full of perennials, require a little more than just plant and let grow. Stuff like dead heading, weeding, seed collecting, watering with regularity, busy stuff.

Grasses, plant 'em, grab a chair, grab 'freshment, watch grow.

Man, woman and chldren welcome to the grasses. I mean no offense to anyone calling grasses a man's perennial. I am only trying to put humor into our daily life of stress in a world needing 36 hours in a day to complete half of what we need to do.


    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 9:14AM
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blackie57(z5 NY Broome Co)


When they get big they can be a bear to move. But if you get enough help the job isn't terrible. The size of the grass you get in the first place, will determine how long it will take for them to reach their mature size. But as a rule of thumb think 3 or 4 years. I have a few decient nurseries around my town (I don't live in a thriving metropolis by any means, either) and I usually look for the biggest plant I can get. Usually those are in 2 gallon pots and are a year old, more than likely when I buy them. Understand that while they are in the pots, their growth is restricted to that pot, thus controlling their size. Once you put them in the ground, they will start to spread their root and take off. If you look at my pictues....
the row of three Varigatus and Avalanche in the new bed are this years plants....They have grown now about half again the size you see here..

The fountain grasses and Miscanthus in this bed are two years in the ground, and right now they are also half agian as tall and wide...

...and the Morning Lights are on their 6th season. This is it's mature size and hopefully it wont get any larger!! ;)

My fountain grasses seem to tolerate my zone 5 winters (We get to -10 to -20 a few days, but not a lot) and come back with no problem. My basic pennisetum's in the back bed (photo #1) got way larger than I thought they would and they are being moved in the spring to a new bed because they are hiding the M. Varigatus and M. Purpensence behind them. In front of my shed I have Pennisteum "Hamiln" which is a small version and I like it much better.

I'll be replacing the monsters with Hamiln's in the spring. I had heard about fountain grass being tender as well, but so far I have had no problems and others I have seen around the area seem to react the same. My suggestions would be to try one or two. Not a big investment and you can see how they do before getting any more. If you are worried you might think about mulching it over the winter as well, but I don't baby my grasses at all.

Don't dismiss the notion of perrenials with your grasses as well. Daylilies, Bee Balm, Russian Sage, coneflower, coryposis and Black Eyes Susans all are great choises to complement your grassses, and add some color to the landscape. Plus with perennials, you don't have to purchase them every year, as you do annuals.

Anyway, welcome to the world of grasses. The man's (...and women's) perennial...

Now I need to grab a beer and watch some.....


    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 9:36AM
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jake, no offense taken AT ALL! I, too, was trying to be funny. And, believe me, i TOTALLY understand why you call it a man's perennial. i had my hubby read your post last night, and he said "i've been telling you that for years. you work your a$$ off out in those gardens; and, no offense, honey, i can't tell the difference. take his advice......simplify"

not sure, but i think clinton is a little over 3 hours. sounds like a weekender!

cya, c

    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 9:40AM
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jake(z4b-5 NE)

Clinton is a state away (all the way aceoss IA) for us to travel but I find it very refreshing to see all the grasses sitting there waiting for me to drop a dime and take 'em home.

I think I remember someone talking about C. A "Karl Foerster" varigatus and I did find it at Long's. Got it home and stuck it in the ground just a few steps away from the "regular" Karl.

Just need to wait until next year to see how it does and to compare the two.


PS: brewski time out under the pergola which is wrapped in Wisteria. Hopefully the "perennial whacko" won't find me.

I found out if I leave the lawn tractor running and parked behind the pergola she thinks i'm cutting grass. The tractor has been parked a little lopsided in the garage a time or two. Oh Well !!!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 5:51PM
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i lied...hubby thinks clinton is more like 6 hours!!

anyhoo....am i right in thinking to steer clear of grass that can be sowed by seed? does that mean it would be VERY invasive in my yard?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 9:36PM
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blackie57(z5 NY Broome Co)

Oh man Jake...you got a "laugh out loud" chuckle from me on that one... mainly because.... I pull the same trick...only I don't have a rider so a bungee strap on the throttle of the lawn mower works wonders...

good thing we're not neighbors... we'd be divorced, drunk, grass watchers...

Here's mud in yer eye...


    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 11:09PM
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blackie, you're right...thank god you're not neighbors because i'm sure you'd both end up right next door to me....and i have enough trouble getting my nutbutt to mow the lawn without the helpful hints from you two about the bungee cord! but, then, on the other hand, you two together i'm sure could solve a lot of world problems out there under that wisteria!


    Bookmark   August 20, 2005 at 10:03AM
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blackie57(z5 NY Broome Co)


I'm sure you are right about us solving the worlds problems....and we do get smarter because of nature.

I'm sure you know about natural selection and survival of the fittest. Like in the old days when the weakest of the herd would fall behind and fall prey to other animals, thus making the entire herd stronger by the elimination of of the weakest. You see with every drink you kill off thousands of brain cells...and because fo natural selection its usually the weakest are the first to go... Thats why, as in the the case of my esteemed colleague and myself, the more we drink, the smarter we get....

I believe your husband would fit right in...

Many thanks to Cliff Claven for showing me the light...


    Bookmark   August 22, 2005 at 9:03AM
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jake(z4b-5 NE)

As for not buying grasses that self seed you are correct in not buying the grasses that can raise havoc in your garden or yard.

In our area (z4b-5) I was somewhat worried about Northern Sea Oats but the two plants that we have, have been very kind and well behaved. That or "Round Up". Equal opportunity grower that I am.

Grasses are definitely becoming more and more prominent in the landscape but not too many nursery staff members are that knowledgeable on the care, feeding and propagating of grasses.

In our world of plant growing our point of view is to try any plant that we like and just be on the look out for radical plants that may cause or drive one to drink or plants that take too much of your time to care for thus not allowing you to slow down and enjoy a beer.

Either way that's what works in out yard. Words of wisdom from the land of Happy Grass, or Whacky Grass or "The Mans Perennial" Dude.


    Bookmark   August 22, 2005 at 3:22PM
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RosieGardens(z5 MI)

Enjoy watching your grasses grow!!
I just bought 'Karley Rose' Fountain and 'Heavy Metal' Switchgrass to add to my grass garden. The OG is great for privacy, and I love watching it sway during the winter! Great winter interest!!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2005 at 1:02AM
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jake(z4b-5 NE)

We've had Karly a couple of times. We are just a little to chilly in the winter to get Karly to survive and grow the following year.

We do mulch in most everything but we like to be more aggressive in getting plants that will grow without much TLC.

We've got a couple of shrub roses that are just totally awesome when in bloom as well as quite a few perennials that really light up the garden when in flower.

Still grasses are my life line. As a side note I found a new hiding place from the perennial whacko, it is in the path way as you go through the gate in the fence I built.

M.s. Yaku Jima, M.s. Morning Light, M.s. Malepartus, Pennisetum "National Arboretum and M.s. Mount Washington have all grown together and I can sit on my tractor in the path way and the Whacko can't find me. Totally cool.

Life in the grass lane.


    Bookmark   August 26, 2005 at 10:27AM
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