Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Ornamental Grass

Cutting tall ornamental grasses is a spring chore we don’t look forward to. The long blades are tough and sharp. We have tried everything from a sawzall to a chain saw. We’ve gone back to using a hand hedge trimmer or lopping shears.

We tie the grass with baling twine in two places. I pull back on the bundle as my husband chops away at the bottom of the grass. I move the cut stems out of the way so he can see where to cut. When the grass bundle is free we pile it for delivery to the city’s compost center.

The tall grasses tend to get wider over time. I would really like to divide them this year. Since that takes a lot of digging and a strong back wielding an ax, I don’t think it will happen.

I don’t cut back the Liriope (lilyturf) every year - mostly because I forget or I am too lazy. This tough little plant doesn’t seem to mind being ignored. I needed to trim this year because I want to divide the several clumps I have around the garden. I used a grass shears for the job. It’s a tough bladed plant and takes a while to whittle it down.

Stella de Oro Daylily also needs to be divided this year. I have unashamedly put this off for the last 2 years. I have never divided the clump. It was planted in 2001 and it seems to flower less than before. I plan to use a garden fork to lift and then separate the roots by hand. I’ll spread them out in the same spot and perhaps have a few left over to give away.

A few coral bells (Heuchera micrantha 'Palace Purple') try to grow in the same area. (picture right: coral bells on both sides of impatiens in another area where they have room to grow, July ’07) The coral bells are overwhelmed by the daylily, hosta and pink azalea. I’ll move these to the front shade garden. I’ve read that they are rabbit and deer resistant. Since the critters have mowed down a row of crocus, I need more plants rabbits or deer won’t eat. I can’t spread the cayenne pepper fast enough.

Some of these plants will be given to friends who have requested them. Others will go to plant sales for local groups. Hopefully, I will have a less crowded look this summer.

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