No winter interest

One of the great things about ornamental grasses is the "winter interest" that they provide to the garden. They sway in the wintry winds, look great in the snow, and even provide shelter for birds and other wildlife. For those reasons I do not cut my grasses down until late winter, with one exception.

This one will be gone much before then. Actually, it's already gone.


As I've mentioned before, this 'Moudry' pennisetum reseeds like crazy, so I need to remove all of the beautiful black seedheads before the seeds start dropping.

I decided to try something different to see if it would make the job easier: a machete.

Unfortunately it was a bit dull, so I sharpened it with my file and gave it a nice, gleaming edge.

Then I started chopping, and chopping, and chopping.

After a few minutes I realized that it wasn't working.

I had barely knocked down a few stalks after several swings, so I switched to the trusty loppers, my usual tool of choice for cutting down the grasses:

After two minutes, most of the plant was gone.

You can see how thick and tough each stem was. Well, you can't see how tough they were, but you can see that they were flat. I think the flatness is what made it hard for the machete. (Perhaps I just don't know the correct way to use a machete.)

There was a "child" plant beneath all of the foliage, and it too had produced beautiful but troublesome seeds:

No loppers needed for this one, as it pulled out easily:

I wish the plants in my lawn would pull out this easily:

As I've talked about before, there are still dozens of these things in my lawn. I think that will be one of my late fall or early winter projects: remove all of those. Of course I'll probably just ignore them until next year (again).

So the plant is now a shadow of its former self -- it's just a stump:

I won't say that it looks better now because it doesn't. This is one of those cases where practicality won out over looks -- there's just no way I was going to let that plant reseed.

You might be asking why I didn't just remove all of the seed heads instead of cutting the entire plant down. That's a good question, and the answer is I've done that before, and I don't care to do it again. Besides taking a lot more time (picking through and cutting off each "flower" stem), if even a single seed head is missed (or emerges after I cut the others down), dozens or hundreds of seeds will be dropped by that one "flower", and I'd prefer to have zero seeds dropping from this plant.

Besides, I really wanted to try out the machete.

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