Grasses Galore

Grasses in the Pasture

We had an epiphany the other afternoon staring out at the grasses waving in the pasture.  We went to some trouble this spring to plant a variety of special grasses next to the garage in a sloping area that leads down the hill.  You have to mentally remove the garbage cans in the background to visualize what this area will eventually look like.  But the idea is really to have a set of medium to tall grasses in an area where they can spread a bit and wave in the wind.

Grasses newly planted next to garage

The grasses include Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’), Black Flowering Fountain Grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides “Moudry’), Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’, Prairie Dropseed ‘Sporobolus heterolepis’, Pink Fountain Grass (Pennisetum orientale ‘Karley Rose’), Pink Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris), and Northern Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium).

In addition to the bed by the garage, we also began an entirely new garden bed on the hillside in a full sun location.  This one was dug using my normal approach of digging postholes with the tractor, adding compost to taste, and then tilling to one’s heart’s desire.

Almost a full load of compost added to the new bed

Hillside garden bed tilled to perfection (more or less)

Tilling on a slope is not an easy task…

The first plants have been placed in the new bed

This new bed is intended to have robust sun lovers that will survive a certain amount of benign neglect as they are rather far from the house.  Specifically this means Rudbeckias, Heliopsis, Baptesia, Potentilla and other strong growers.  But we also included yet another grass — a Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum ‘Heavy Metal’).

It was when looking at this little Switch Grass (all of our new grasses are somewhat little at this stage) with the backdrop of the pasture, when it occurred to us that all these new grasses are going to have to compete with the wild and lovely display that we get from the pasture.  All of these grasses have come along on their own from some previous farmer.  I don’t even know what they are.  I think the bulk might be Orchard Grass.  But there are other colorful varieties that make a lovely display as the seed heads ripen.

Pasture grasses

We’ll check back in the Fall and see how these newer grasses measure up to the volunteers in our pasture.

3 comments on “Grasses Galore

  1. Les

    Speaking of robust, keep your eye on ‘Moudry’.

  2. Salix

    The slope by the garage will look fantastic. Looking forward to seeing your post later, maybe also next year? I love grasses.

  3. joco

    I hate grasses. Love the ‘real’ones in a field, like in your top picture, but the rest: blah.They always make me feel they need mowing and invariably look messy in any border. To me anyways.
    I’m in awe of the ‘gardening’ you are doing on all that land. That second bed for the sunlovers, now that is something I can wholeheartedly admire. What is meant by post holes?
    BTW, Do you ever get a chance to sit down?