Cutting back ornamental grasses
That annual chore. Or should I say, that annual delight.
If you are yearning for a low maintenance garden you wouldn’t start with one this large. But I never begrudge these amazing plants. Eragostis curvula is the one grass that works in my drought-y garden. Once you get them in the ground they never disappoint.
The general rule for this grass is to ‘cut back in spring’. But like many gardeners my spring list of fun things to do gets a bit full.
So a few years ago I dared to turn this into a winter maintenance job. And it works.
The silhouette of these beautiful grasses stand well all winter and I often feel a pang that I won’t see this huge long bank of winter interest as I come up the road to the farm.
Pause for about twenty minutes of solid scrolling and rummaging where I cannot find a single shot of the amazing winter light with the grass and the phlomis silhouette.
I only managed to find one of the miscanthus and eragrostis with the old dying apple tree on the lawn bank.
I always seem to do the half way through this mess.
I have a nice routine where I cut off the seedbeds first, then grab each grass and cut it down in eight inch hanks. In the old days I would reach down and cut the whole grass from the base. But as I use the grass as a mulch I find it easier to use smaller amount.
Each tree gets a huge mulch. Good and thick. Actually this year I am holding back the usual cut and leave in situ with this bank.
I want to have one more weeding pass in spring. It’s bindweed central here and I like to control it just once before I forget all about it and spend more time in the potager for the rest of the season.
And the ballota and grasses get so huge that you can’t see the weeds underneath in summer.
On the huge lawn and pool banks I don’t bother to weed at all.
Just cut and drop.
And ruin your hands pulling out the brambles that have snuck in.
I have one annoying patch of nettles, a dozen or so brambles and the most pesky thing in this garden…
We have become quite petulant about just who owns the kneeling pad.
We behave like bickering teenagers over this lifesaving piece of foam. It’s hard on the knees on this steep slope. And if I sit down on the kneeler then I get Creature too.
So by days end it’s a cheery combination of wrists lacerated with bramble scratches and cat scratches. But the huge bank is slowly turning into tamed.
27th February 2021 @ 6:59 pm
Why fight – have two pads! And what about gauntlets? Well, actually soldering gloves. Wrist savers if you have to feed two wood burning stoves like me. Not exactly ideal for fine weeding, but for brambles and grass hunks they might just do. Today was my first full-on gardening day, so lucky to be able to start this early. Moving perennials and roses, pruning, weeding, cutting back and cleaning up. I’m so keen that I would like to do it all in a day. The witchazels (the spellchecker suggests schnitzels!) started to bloom a month ago, under snow. They are amazing and smell wonderful. Some consolation for your figs later in the season…
28th February 2021 @ 9:03 am
ooh lucky you to have the scent of witchhazel. Amazing trees. Happy gardening.