Interesting Plant: Deer Grass (Muhlenbergia rigens) via BeWaterWise.com

Deer Grass (Muhlenbergia rigens) via BeWaterWise.com

A few months ago I was invited down the office of the Metropolitan Water District to meet a number of people involved in their BeWaterWise.com project to help reduce water usage in California. As part of their efforts, they focus on providing plant alternatives to water hungry lawns. Over the next several weeks, I will be highlighting some of their garden alternatives as part of this series. For more information on these plants and other water conservation ideas and programs, vist BeWaterWise.com — Douglas

Interesting Plant:  Deer Grass (Muhlenbergia rigens) via BeWaterWise.com

Photo: Stan Shebs

This native California grass is narrow-leafed and forms a dense clump up to 2-3 feet high and wide. The bright green leaves are joined by spiky cream-colored owers in spring that stand tall at rst, and lean a little later, rising 2 feet above the leaves. The deer grass is drought tolerant and does best with little to moderate water in full sun or light shade. An added bonus: deer grass attracts helpful garden bugs like spiders and ladybugs. — BeWaterWise.com

Muhlenbergia rigens, commonly known as Deergrass, is a warm season perennial bunchgrass found in sandy or well drained soils below 7,000 feet (2,100 m) in elevation in theSouthwestern United States and parts of Mexico.

The young shoots are browsed by a variety of animals,[2] but with age the plant becomes unpalatable and is useful in an exposed garden setting for its deer resistance.[3] It has also been used for erosion prevention andstreambank stabilization because of extensive root systems. Restoration efforts currently use deergrass to displace exotic invasive annuals that dominate current grassland ecosystems as well as remediate overtilled and eroded agricultural land where they anchor loose soils and return lost organic matterPhytoremediative studies have also been conducted to test deergrass’s ability to remove chemicals from agricultural runoff. Deergrass’s dense stands and extensive roots act as a biofilter effective for herbicide, pesticide and particulate removal and breakdown.

Among the Zuni people. the grass is attached to the sticks of plume offerings to anthropic gods.[4]Wikipedia

More information on Deer Grass (Muhlenbergia rigens):
 
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Interesting Plant is a series from A Gardener’s Notebook blog and podcast that highlights the most interesting plants I find in my Internet and real-world travels — Douglas

Video: In the garden…January 4, 2015: Checking on frost damage to sweet potato vines and more

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We had at least one night of frost here in the San Fernando Valley and it hit the sweet potato, basil and dayflower hard. See the results.

Check out my collection of gardening essays, “From A Gardener’s Notebook” now available as a Kindle eBook. (You don’t need a Kindle to read it, though. Read it on your PC, Link: http://j.mp/fagnbook

Watch all past episodes of “In the garden…” in this YouTube Playlist


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“In the garden…” is a series for A Gardener’s Notebook highlighting what is happening in my garden, my friend’s gardens and California gardens throughout the seasons. 

Photo: California Winter Rose via #instagram

Photo: California Winter Rose via #instagram

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Previously in my Instagram Photos…

Free Pink Geranium Computer and Smartphone Wallpapers for January 2015

Here is a selection of free wallpapers for your computer desktop or smartphone. Click to load full-sized image, then right-click and select Save Image As… to download them to your own computer. On your smartphone, click the image to see the full-sized image, tap and hold, then select Save to Camera Roll. You can then attach the wallpapers using your phone’s preferences.

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Interesting Plant: Echeveria ‘Lola’

Echeveria ‘Lola’

Interesting Plant: Echeveria 'Lola'

Discovered via Pinterest User Cheryl Northedge

Echeveria ‘Lola’, possibly a hybrid of Echeveria lilacina, forms a sculpted rosette with a somewhat “rosebud” shape. Leaves are alabaster marble with a delicate blush of pinkish violet and tipped with rose. Rosette gives the impression of alabaster wax suffused with violet. Flowers are peach, bell-shaped and appear in spring. In habitat, many Echeverias grow on rocky outcroppings at higher altitudes. In this habitat, the water drains quickly away from the roots of the plant, never allowing the plant to remain waterlogged. For this reason, it is essential in cultivation to use a very porous soil, which will allow quick drainage. Bright light is required to prevent “stretching” of Echeverias (“stretching” occurs when a moderately fast growing plant such as an Echeveria, is grown in dim light or over-fertilized, which causes overly lush growth that contributes to weak, pallid plants). Water thoroughly when soil is dry to the touch. Protect from frost. — Garden America

More information on Echeveria ‘Lola':
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Previously in the Interesting Plant series: 

Interesting Plant is a series from A Gardener’s Notebook blog and podcast that highlights the most interesting plants I find in my Internet and real-world travels — Douglas

Garden Alphabet: Geranium

Geranium

This pot of geraniums was given to us as a housewarming present 18 years ago and continues to bloom constantly at the end of of our porch. I have repotted it a number of times and love the fact that it has been with us this long. I find myself always shooting photos of it, too, as it always in our line of sight as we come and go from the house. It is simple, but also very, very, special.

Garden Alphabet: Geranium

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 Geranium is a genus of 422 species of flowering annualbiennial, and perennial plants that are commonly known as the cranesbills. They are found throughout the temperate regions of the world and the mountains of the tropics, but mostly in the eastern part of the Mediterranean region. The long, palmately cleft leaves are broadly circular in form. The flowers have five petals and are coloured white, pink, purple or blue, often with distinctive veining. Geraniums will grow in any soil as long as it is not waterlogged. Propagation is by semiripe cuttings in summer, by seed, or by division in autumn or spring.

The genus name is derived from the Greek γέρανος (géranos) or γερανός (geranós) ‘crane’. The English name ‘cranesbill’ derives from the appearance of the fruit capsule of some of the species. Species in the Geranium genus have a distinctive mechanism for seed dispersal. This consists of a beak-like column which springs open when ripe and casts the seeds some distance. The fruit capsule consists of five cells, each containing one seed, joined to a column produced from the centre of the old flower. The common name ‘cranesbill’ comes from the shape of the unsprung column, which in some species is long and looks like the bill of a crane. However, many species in this genus do not have a long beak-like column. – Wikipedia

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Garden Books: America’s Romance with the English Garden by Thomas J. Mickey — a new series from A Gardener’s Notebook

Today starts a new weekly series here on A Gardener’s Notebook — Garden Books. Each week I will highlight a new book or publication that might interest you. If you have suggestions for books I should highlight, please send them along. While most of these posts will simply be introductions to new books, I will also be posting more detailed reviews for those books I find time to read myself. I’ll use Amazon links to provide more information on each book, but many of these books may be available at your local library. Check there first! — Douglas


Garden Books: America’s Romance with the English Garden by Thomas J. Mickey

Garden Books:  America's Romance with the English Garden by Thomas J. Mickey -- a new series from A Gardener's Notebook

The 1890s saw a revolution in advertising. Cheap paper, faster printing, rural mail delivery, railroad shipping, and chromolithography combined to pave the way for the first modern, mass-produced catalogs. The most prominent of these, reaching American households by the thousands, were seed and nursery catalogs with beautiful pictures of middle-class homes surrounded by sprawling lawns, exotic plants, and the latest garden accessories—in other words, the quintessential English-style garden.

America’s Romance with the English Garden is the story of tastemakers and homemakers, of savvy businessmen and a growing American middle class eager to buy their products. It’s also the story of the beginnings of the modern garden industry, which seduced the masses with its images and fixed the English garden in the mind of the American consumer. Seed and nursery catalogs delivered aspirational images to front doorsteps from California to Maine, and the English garden became the look of America. – Amazon.com

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Previously in Garden Books:

Garden Decor: Scrabble Tile Garden Markers

Scrabble Tile Garden Markers

Great use for old (or new) Scrabble tiles. They also come in smaller sizes in the portable editions so you could make smaller stakes for containers.

Garden Decor: Scrabble Tile Garden Markers

Via Pinterest User Our Fairfield Home & Garden

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Video: In the garden…December 23, 2014: Sweet Potato Harvest

A Gardener's Notebook Artwork

A quick look into the garden during this busy holiday season. Rain has made things perk up quite a bit, though.

Check out my collection of gardening essays, “From A Gardener’s Notebook” now available as a Kindle eBook. (You don’t need a Kindle to read it, though. Read it on your PC, Link: http://j.mp/fagnbook

Watch all past episodes of “In the garden…” in this YouTube Playlist


Please Like this video and/or subscribe to my channel on YouTube.

Your likes and subscriptions directly reflect how many other viewers are suggested this video.

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel

 


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“In the garden…” is a series for A Gardener’s Notebook highlighting what is happening in my garden, my friend’s gardens and California gardens throughout the seasons. 

Flowering Now: Azalea

Azalea

We have loads of azaleas on our property — planted by the previous owners. We have a variety of pinks, a few white and a few red varieties. It is always a pleasure to see them return each year.

Azalea 2014 1

Azalea 2014 2

Photo: Douglas E. Welch, A Gardener’s Notebook

“Azaleas (pron.: /əˈzeɪliə/) are flowering shrubs comprising two of the eight subgenera of the genus Rhododendron, Tsutsuji (evergreen) and Pentanthera (deciduous). Azaleas bloom in spring in the Northern hemisphere and in winter in the Southern hemisphere, their flowers often lasting several weeks. Shade tolerant, they prefer living near or under trees.” — Wikipedia.org

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Previously in Flowering Now: