Muhly Grass-See You In September*
The end of the reign of the mighty muhly grass has drawn near. Muhlenbergia capillaris has been a star performer in the fairegarden this past year.In the beginning, the little bit of lawn planted at the garage side extended down to the driveway curbing, edged in liriope. This spot was part of the old driveway of the house next door that was purchased and knocked down to build the garage. When we had the new configuration circle drive paved the gravel was shoveled to the space where the muhly now grows. Continual sowings of lawn grass, a mixture of Kentucky blue and tall fescue failed to thrive in that gravely muck. This photo from 2003 shows the spot with yet another attempt at grass planting with the dying ferngully at the left back of the property. A couple of pots of muhly were spied a few years ago at the local big box home improvement store and quickly scooped up and into the cart. It has been divided innumberable times to add autumn glory to the landscape. While this highly ornamental grass is planted hither and yon around the gardens here, the patch along the driveway has caused traffic to come to a screeching halt come September as passersby are stunned by the mass of pink cotton candy atop waving stems beckoning to them.Some facts about our muhly from an article in Fine Gardening magazine:
Height- 3 ft. to 6 ft.
Spread- 1 ft. to 3 ft.
Growth Habit- Clumps
Growth Pace- Moderate Grower
Light- Full Sun to Part Shade
Tolerance- Deer Tolerant;Drought Tolerant
USDA Zones 7-10
Characteristics- Native; Self Seeds; Showy Flowers; Showy Foliage; Showy Seed Heads
Bloom Time- Fall
Flower Color- Pink Flower; Purple/ Lavender Flower
Uses- Beds and Borders, Container, Ground Covers, Cut Flower, Dried Flower, Naturalizing, Specimen Plant/ Focal Point, Suitable as Annual, Waterside
Style Cottage Garden, Meadow Garden
Seasonal Interest- Winter Interest, Summer Interest, Fall Interest
By the end of the year, there is no color left in the muhly. It is a mere faded skeleton of its former beautiful self. Time to cut it down.There is an imperative popping up amid the straw like stalks too, Allium sphaerocephalon, drumstick alliums are showing foliage growth. In addition to these, Allium aflatunense ‘Purple Sensation’ joins the Muscari ‘Valerie Finnis’ to extend the interest in this focal point area.All cut down and mulched with a bag of soil conditioner, finely chopped pine bark, the muhly is already showing new blue green stems emerging from each clump. To get this look of fullness, the row was planted three deep. Some self sown seedlings have appeared to fill in even more. The lower end is still being sprigged and should soon catch up to the top of the bed which was planted first. The rest of the muhly and other grasses will be cut as time and weather allow. It will be ready to grow strong and give us another lucky day in 2009.
*’See You In September’, written by S. Wayne and recorded in 1969 by a group out of New Jersey named The Happenings. It reached to #3 on the Billboard charts.