Saturday, May 16, 2015

Foliage Follow-up: Stipa tenuissima

May is one of those months in which time seems to pass in a flash.  In a hurry today, I faced my garden looking for foliage to feature for today's Foliage Follow-up feature, hosted by Pam at Digging.  There were a number of possibilities but the foliage that waved at me from the backyard (assisted by a breeze) won the vote.  Stipa tenuissima (syn. Nassella tenuissima) is a beautiful, if somewhat invasive, grass that both picks up the gold tones in my garden and adds movement.  Most of my clumps are currently in need of another haircut but, even in somewhat shaggy condition, they make a statement.

I have 3 groups of the grass in the bed that extends from the fountain in the backyard.

The Stipa provides a beautiful backdrop for Salvia 'Mystic Spires'

View of all 3 groups of grass in the fountain border

The largest group next to the backyard patio - 2 other groupings are visible in the distance in the back border


There are 3 more groups of the grass in the back border, 2 of which are shown here.




Two more groups border the entrance to the side yard patio.

These clumps get trimmed frequently to prevent them from enveloping the path to the side yard patio - the clumps in the fountain border are visible in the background on the upper right


Despite its tendency to self-seed, I love this grass.  Its invasive tendencies can be held in check by reduced watering (not a problem here!) and regular trims.  Most of mine were sheared of flowers in February but they're in need of another haircut.

For other foliage photos, visit Pam at Digging.  Have a great weekend!


All material © 2012-2015 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

20 comments:

  1. I have a fondness for these - the way they move in the slightest breeze is absolutely magical. At other times they remind me of lion manes. I am happy when I spot a tiny volunteer clump - because there are always (so far!) good places to put another one!

    There are "no shearing" schools - I tend to simply cull the spent stalks out of mine by "combing" with garden gloved hands.

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  2. I usually start with combing but when they really get out of hand (or rather, when my hands get torn up despite my garden gloves), I resort to shearing. They don't seem to mind.

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  3. I love stipa, but having ample rainfall, they tend to self-seed so I haven't ventured to plant any in the yard. I love how you have them dotted in clumps, they add such a graceful statement to the garden

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    1. It's hard to imagine my garden without them. The dry conditions here (plus regular grooming) do seem to keep them under control.

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  4. Beautiful grass! You can't beat them for giving grace, softness, and movement in a garden.

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    1. There's nothing else in my garden that provides the same kind of movement.

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  5. I have not seen Stipa this spring. Wonder where it went?

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    1. Yours die back in winter? That would probably help prevent the proliferation they have a reputation for here.

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  6. Oh, we are hoping to convince people not to plant Mexican Feather Grass because it is so invasive! Maybe try a native grass?

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    1. Sorry, Susan. I do have some native Festuca californica and F. 'Patrick's Point', both of which I like, but neither has the effect of the Mexican feather grass in adding movement and deergrass is too big. I've been able to keep the Stipa within bounds with limited water and regular removal of the seedheads.

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  7. It is beautiful grass--but I don't dare...

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    1. You do have to watch it but reducing its water makes a big difference.

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  8. I do love this grass, but I haven't tried it in my garden because it reseeded enough at the nursery I worked at in high school that it scared me off. But I've come to the same view with Carex comans as you have with this stipa. I love the flowing, silvery-green leaves and it mostly seeds just in the exposed spots that need filling anyway. Plus, it's confined to the driveway island by the wide driveway circling the bed.

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    1. Mine has reseeded alongside existing clumps but it's not as prolific as its reputation suggests (at least with our stingy water levels) and it's easily pulled. None of the clumps in my garden are self-seeded.

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  9. Stipa seeds everywhere here too, but I don't mind, it is easy to pull out if it is in the wrong place and like you I love the movement it brings to the garden. Here is is also a lovely fresh green in winter. good choice for today's meme.

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    1. Nothing else, including my other grasses, moves with the same grace when the wind blows (which is every afternoon in my garden).

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  10. All I can say is wow! I'm amazed on how you arranged and captured those photos. I love how you arranged those flowers in different flower arrangement. Way back when I was in fourth grader our teacher taught us on the different flower arrangement and the only arrangement I remember was the "Ikebana", haha! You have the natural talent.

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  11. Thank you for coming out in defense of this beautiful grass. I love it and would not want to be without it. Yes, it reseeds readily but I find it pulls out very easily where it's not wanted.

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    1. I know the grass has a bad rep but, in my garden, it hasn't shown itself to be invasive and it spreads far less freely than plants like Geranium incanum and Erigeron karvinskianus.

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