Tag Archive for miscanthus

Ornamental grass Miscanthus self-sows into a Gardening Oops.

You may be surprised to learn that a miscanthus grass is on the Connecticut Invasive Plant List. The miscanthus in your yard may not be the specific one listed as invasive in Connecticut, but it still may be one that self-sows like the many miscanthus growing on my little piece of Earth.  Self-sowing miscanthus are the topic of my November 2012 Gardening Oops – GOOPs for short.

I usually post on the first of each month about a GOOPs/gardening faux pas/gardening mis-step I’ve made. Super storm Sandy, as it is now being called, had another schedule in mind, so this month’s post is a tad late.

I started planting ornamental grass varieties many years ago. Living in an area heavily foraged by deer, I thoroughly enjoy that ornamental grasses are not deer candy. In fact, I have never seen even the slightest deer nibble on any ornamental grass. I have, however, found one ornamental grass family, specifically miscanthus, very readily self sows.

The invasive miscanthus variety listed as invasive in Connecticut is Miscanthus sinensis ‘Andersson’. I don’t have this variety planted. However, I do have Miscanthus sinensis ‘Arabesque’ and ‘Gracillimus’ in multiple locations and, if I didn’t deadhead the flowering bracts of these, I’d have many more miscanthus growing.

I discovered the prolific self-sowing habits of these miscanthus varieties quite by accident … I found young shoots while weeding. At first I thought the shoots were weeds then, as a few here and there managed to elude one of my many weeding sessions I realized what was growing was not a weed, but a young miscanthus.

Now if you’ve tried to dig out a mature miscanthus, you know what a good hold their roots have on the soil. These babies are not easy to eradicate once they have a foothold. So a few years back I started deadheading the miscanthus in my yard. I’m still able to enjoy the airy, red hue of the seed bracts when they are fresh and look like this:

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But when the bracts begin to whiten, and resemble the mature seed head of a dandelion puff, off go their heads.

This is why.

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This unwanted volunteer grew from a seed dropped by its parent plant growing just a few feet away. It is definitely not in a desirable spot, but serves as a good example of why I deadhead miscanthus each autumn. Even with my vigilance it’s obvious one seed head slipped the jaws of my pruning shears and spread its progeny.

And, remember, none of the miscanthus varieties planted in my yard are the variety listed on the invasive plant list. Let this be a warning … not my first, but a continued one … that any type of miscanthus will self-sow and could become a problem child. This is why all my miscanthus now look like this:

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I can still enjoy how the grasses sway in the breezes – Sandy’s gusts really had them swaying – but I no longer need to worry that their prolific blooms will become a similarly prolific “weed” issue.

Have you had this experience with miscanthus? Do you have a different GOOPs to share? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to stop back again on December 1 for another GOOPs installment. Barring any weather issues, the December GOOPs should go up as scheduled.

Many thanks to Laurrie who posts a GOOPs every month … even when I miss one. Read Laurrie’s November GOOPs.

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Yikes! It’s December!

Wow, talk about sneaking up on me. Last night I went to bed with my head still firmly planted in November. This morning I awoke to December. How did the last month of 2010 sneak up on me? I’m not prepared for winter’s chill or winter’s snow and this is my confession, my gardening faux pas, my Gardening Oops or GOOPs for short. Today, being the first of December, marks my day to share a gardening blunder, or in the case of this month, a gardener’s procrastination.

I have hoses to store away where freezing temperatures and gnawing rodent teeth can’t harm them.

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I have a leaning tower of miscanthus to cut down and multiple other miscanthus grasses to deadhead. I’ve found miscanthus volunteers in unwanted locations numerous times (Miscanthus sinensis Anderss. is listed as potentially invasive) so I now deadhead all miscanthus plantings in my yard.

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I have iris, phlox, and other perennials that still need a fall haircut. If we don’t have snow cover all winter I don’t want my winter views sullied by this mess and I don’t want to give foraging chipmunks and voles extra hiding places amongst my perennials.

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And my rhododendron still need winter protection from browsing deer. No, this photo is not an optical illusion … it’s my deer fencing on the ground instead of where it needs to be – upright and about 2 or 3 feet away from my rhododendron shrubs.

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Connecticut’s generally warm temperatures have certainly abetted my procrastination, but I sense the warmth will rapidly cease.

I’ll definitely take care of these things tomorrow … honest.

I’m not procrastinating again … it’s raining today.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA And I’m sure you have all waited with great anticipation to learn the current status of my last month’s GOOPs. I’m happy to say that my husband came to the rescue. He cut and installed plastic pipe to hold the lower legs of two cedar trellises in my front perennial beds. With this fix the trellises again stand tall and straight. I expect to get a few more years use from them before the untreated cedar deteriorates to the point that it cannot hold morning glory vine weight.

I’d love to hear of any GOOPs you’d like to share. Either mention your gardening misstep in a comment below or share your GOOPs on your blog and leave us a link and a teaser here.

Happy gardening and may my GOOPs not be yours!

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Determination and resolution – a Connecticut Garden in November

November is at the half-point – the time when garden bloggers share what they find blooming in their gardens through the meme, Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, run by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. After a cup of warm morning coffee I took a stroll in my Connecticut gardens to see what my camera could catch.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I’m perennially in awe at the plants determined to bloom, even after cold has settled over their beds. The biggest surprise was one particularly determined impatiens that somehow found a spot to self-sow along the foundation of my house where it remained hidden until much larger hosta plants succumbed to autumn’s chill. Then the determined heat-lover sent out a flower in one defiant last stand, as if battling for attention next to another volunteer – a foxglove that will find a new home next spring.

Alpine strawberries and salvia are equally determined to continue their bloom, but this is not as much a surprise considering their greater tolerance for cold temperatures.

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Then I found this Black-eyed Susan hiding under the protective cover of a large buddleia still waiting for its autumn trim.

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Still, most of the plants gracing my gardens seem resigned to the season. Coneflowers long ago went to seed while miscanthus puts on its feathery fall show.

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Ilex, covered in berries before birds stopped by for a meal, now hold onto only the well hidden berries. Thankfully, winterberry still shines brightly along the front walkway.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA It’s easy to overlook blossoms when beech trees steal the show, but November’s Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day encourages one to go sleuthing for hidden treasures.

Head over to May Dreams Gardens to witness a bouquet of blooms from others’ gardens.

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