Saturday, May 31, 2014


After 30 years of shade, my garden is suddenly filled with sunshine. I've almost forgotten what can grow in full sun. But my memory is quickly returning. I am eager to find some native grasses to mellow out  my agaves and other pointy plants. 
Here are my favorites:
I do not know the name of this one and it's proving to be quite a botanical adventure.
I'm using a book that lists 222 of the native and naturalized grasses in the Houston area.
I'm about half way through the list and so far this one remains a mystery.
It's an early Spring bloomer (May here in Houston). The downy soft seed heads look lovely in the light.
Here's a close-up of the seeds and tufts.
And here is an individual seed.
It is not very common and I've only found 5 plants along with a few seedlings.
Any grass experts out there want to hazard a guess?
This one is NOT a mystery. It's Muhlenbergia capillaris (Gulf Coast Muhly or Pink Muhly).
These are the seed heads after a winter of wind and rain.
And here are the seed heads in bloom. As the wind blows, it looks like a wispy dream.
You could set up a lawn chair and spend hours relaxing near a clump.
It's great therapy for stress!
Lots of schools and waterwise landscapers are using Pink Muhly to add carefree beauty to their commercial plantings. In winter, you can cut the seed heads back or, as in this image, leave the seed heads for an extended time each Spring.
My next pretty little native is Little bluestem. I wish it had a cute botanical name. Instead, it's been saddled with this mouthful....Schizachyrium scoparium. 
I rarely borrow images, but this one shows the beautiful blue-green foliage.
(image from wikipedia)

Notice how much variation there is between the Little bluestem on the left and the one on the right. I prefer the one on the left because it looks neat and would behave well in a garden.
My last favorite is Mexican feather grass (Nassella tenuissima).
I've grown it now for 3 years and it is finally starting to reseed in the gravel areas of the garden.
It looks beautiful with agaves, small drifts of flowers, or with rocks.
Here it is growing in my friend's garden in Katy, Texas.
And here it is growing along with Pink Muhly and lantana.
In closing, if you are looking for some easy to care for, naturally beautiful and extremely versatile
sun-loving plants, try some native grasses for a change.
And when the Pink Muhly blooms, get a lawnchair and enjoy the show!
That's it for today!
Happy Gardening from David/:0)
Another mysterious grass in my garden.


  1. I am without a clue as to your mystery grasses. That last one looks as if it should have 'oats' in the name.

    Not a real fan of grasses, I restrict the house gardens to Muhly, Cymbopogon and Vetiver.

    In the meadows, my favorite is Eragrostis. I'm crazy about Silkgrass, but it's technically a wildflower, not a grass.

  2. I've started adding more grasses to my garden, too. My pennisetum 'Karley Rose' has come back only in spurts and fits so I think most of the roots are dead. It spent our brutal winter in a pot, unfortunately. It looks pathetic so I think I'll replace it. But I love your grasses! I think your last mystery grass is blue grama grass. It might be Blonde Ambition.

  3. I'm glad there is at least some positive benefit to the loss of the shade provided by your former neighbor's trees. You've got a nice collection of grasses in your newly sunny garden. I developed more interest in ornamental grasses myself when I moved to my current hotter and sunnier garden 3 years ago - I love the movement they add to the garden.


I always appreciate your comments & questions! Happy Gardening from David/ Tropical Texana

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