Cleanup: more progress

I'm going to tackle these two larger grasses today. Simple, straightforward, and messy. Make sure you're wearing long sleeves and gloves, grab the loppers, and get to work!


That's half the job done, and it took maybe 5 minutes.

This second grass has a simple support on it to help keep it from flopping over. One of these days I'm going to make something nicer, but this was simple and worked fairly well.

This grass was a seedling from my Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus'. It's got a wider leaf than 'Gracillimus' and it isn't as nice overall. It's got a large dead spot in the center this year:

I may dig this one up and replace it with a division of the 'Gracillimus', or I may give it another year to see what it does. I'm leaning toward replacing it, but that's more work and there's plenty else to do.

One thing about Miscanthus is the seeds. It produces a lot of them, and besides covering you when you cut them down, they will reseed in warmer parts of the country and are therefore considered invasive in those areas.

After piling those grasses in the holding area, time to start on this island bed, which is looking pretty dismal right now:

A lot of different grasses mainly. It's got a Nepeta (catmint) that I cleaned up the other day, plus a couple lavenders and some other perennials, but I won't prune the lavenders yet. I won't go into the details of cutting the grasses, as I used all of the different tools: loppers, hedge clippers, and the "grab with one hand, pull and prune with the other" method:

This grass is different though:

It's Nassella tenuissuma, or "Mexican feather grass". It's not reliably hardy here, but I won't know for a while if it made it. I've got another bed with a dozen or so of these, and I love the silky look. I've read that they do best if you don't cut them as you do other ornamental grasses, so I just gently comb through with my fingers.

I'll pull out any parts that come out easily, then wait until the new blades grow (if it survived). Some of the birds like using this grass in their nests too, which is another reason for not cutting it back. As I was doing this I noticed that underneath it were two small "volunteers" (desirable plants that grew on their own) of a native grass, either "little bluestem" or "prairie dropseed" -- can't tell which yet.

I'll dig both up and plant them somewhere else. There's very little green in this bed right now, except for the Nepeta and these:

If these are not familiar to you, consider yourself lucky. They're violets, and they grow everywhere in my yard. More on that in another post.

There's also this little Agastache rupestris which I forgot about -- glad to see it came back though!

That's about it for this bed. Not too impressive looking.

Only a few more weeks before things really start waking up, and these photos will look so much more interesting. They're pretty much *blah* right now. (The still-dormant Buffalo grass is looking pretty sad in comparison to the green turf of my neighbor in the background.)

How long did it take?  45 minutes
Total time spent on clean-up so far this year: 9:00 (9 hours)

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