Amber waves of grain

Fri. Jul. 1, 2016

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Amber waves of grain

This weekend we celebrate the independence of this wonderful place we call America, we call home.  While we can certainly complain about some things, we can also rejoice in the freedoms we have.  And for that, I’m thankful.

As I look over amber waves of grain I think of native grasses and flowers that create such a beautiful landscape.

Amber waves

The diversity of flowers and grasses attracts beneficial insects and, once established, prairies are easy to maintain.  While a prairie in my yard isn’t practical, I’ve incorporated some natives into my own landscape. Starting with native grasses, you can add some soft edges and 3 season interest to your yard.  ‘Blue Heaven’ is a unique form of Little Bluestem developed by the University of Minnesota.  This grass stands  4 feet tall with blue to burgundy foliage turning reddish purple to violet in the Fall.

'Blue Heaven'

‘Blue Heaven’

There are several types of reed grasses, in particular the variety Karl Forester is quite pretty, easy to grow and withstands part shade, although it won’t grow as tall.  In sun, Karl Forester will grow about 5 feet and flowers early summer with fluffy bluish plumes.

Grass 'Karl Forrester'
Grass ‘Karl Forrester’


Prairie Dropseed is a very pretty, elegant looking grass that grows to 3 feet with the flower heads drooping over. I have it incorporated with some steel sculpture.  Birds love this grass and it’s zone 3 hardy.

Prairie Dropseed

Prairie dropseed

Prairie Dropseed and salvia
Prairie Dropseed and salvia

Another great tall native is Indian Grass.  It’s considered one of the best for ornamental uses.  This grass grows to 8 feet tall with graceful seed heads that appear in late summer.

Indian grass.

Indian grass.

Check out my Favorite links for native plant nurseries

Have a very happy and safe 4th of July and remember, for our veterans who may suffer from PTSD, those neighborhood fireworks aren’t always welcome so please, be thoughtful and ask if it’s okay


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