Eragrostis grasses and garden design

bookcaseroses2bookcaseroses1I’m going to have to beguile you with pretty pictures today as I can tell the title of this blog had you yawning. Oh god, she’s going to go on and on and on about ornamental grasses again.

So let me lull you with the delicious sight of all my rose petals drying on my bookcase.  And my marigolds.  I haven’t quite worked out what I’m going to do with such a huge volume of marigold flowers; I was weeding in the flower borders and realized that these beauties had encroached the precious dahlia plants.


So instead of just lobbing them onto the teetering compost heap, I have brought them in to dry. I’ll think of something. There is bound to be a tincture or an elixir (don’t you just love those words?) I can create.

In the meantime, oh yes, grasses.

The two enormous bank 3steep banks above the pool and the lawn are now fluffy with eragrostis delight. I think it might be my favourite time of year for these newly emerging grasses.  They catch the morning light.

And probably the evening one too, but I’m usually too knackered or munching my way through the vegetable garden in the evening to be bothering with a photo shoot of a few hundred grasses.

The bank above the pool was a steep and bare sorry mess when we first created the terrace. Very thin soil over crumbly granite rock. (I could waste some time and go back to the old files and show you just how bad it was….)

2008. Yep, as I suspected.  So over the years instead of taking a lot of weeds to the compost heaps I have been lobbing them here on the bank.miscanthus

And having planted the row of miscanthus grasses along the base of this wall means that I can hide all sorts of mess behind it. Like weeds.

And besides, the compost heaps always seem a long long way away when you have a teetering wheelbarrow of green to dispose.

So after a mere seven or so years, the bank has bulked out and was ready for the planting of the grasses.

But I left a bit at the front as the bank really wasn’t that stable.  I couldn’t even perch on it to plant the grasses at the back.

But this rampant growth in cool wet spring this year has shown me that if the weeds and err, ‘wildflowers’ can get so high and lusty, then it is time to complete the picture.

So I strimmed it. And shoved a few bags of grass cuttings from the last mowings over the top andpoolgardenbankmulched then left it a bit.

A week.  I think I left it a week. No more. I tell you, grass mulch is heavenly for hiding lots of mess.

And then I needed to raid the larder and plant it up with a few more eragrostis curvula.

I normally have trays and trays of little eragrostis grown from seed in the potting shed on the go.

But this year I didn’t need to sow from scratch: I had a supply ready to go in Alice’s path just in front of the shade garden bank.eleagnus guarded

Here you can see you know who guarding them. He has some strange affinity with these plants. But it’s not like nepeta (cat mint) where he goes completely mad.  He just likes the small mounded size of them. Like freshly killed prey perhaps.

Or maybe he was just following me about like a puppy again today and knew he would get maximum attention if he played among the very plants I was trying to move.

eleagnus to transplantIt worked. This job took much longer than it needed.

Eventually up came a dozen little grasses and I took them down to the bank.

It’s a strange sensation but this is sort of what permaculture planting is like. You have a big mound of material – in this instance soil, strimmed weeds, grass mulch – and you just make a hole in the top of the cake and drop in your plant.

Water very well, cover back up so that very little soil is showing, and water planted

The soil underneath is cool from the mulch and I don’t have to worry about weeds. This is a weed mound. Albeit with a protective layer of mulch to stop them sprouting much.

You have to look pretty hard to see the small plants in the big mound.  But I can see that the bank is almost complete.  And I managed to keep Artur off the small grasses by luring him over to the courtyard where he could sit on my lap while I cut yet more gorgeous roses. These are Munstead Wood. Happy all round.