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Ornamental grass provides easy drought solution


July 22, 2008
By By Dean Fosdick The Associated Press

July 22, 2008 – A fashionable fix for drought-proofing lawns is downsizing: ripping up some of that demanding turf and replacing it with succulents or a vegetable garden. But here's another idea. How about replacing grass with grass thirsty bluegrass, for example, with an ornamental?

A fashionable fix for
drought-proofing lawns is downsizing: ripping up some of that demanding
turf and replacing it with succulents or a vegetable garden. But here's
another idea. How about replacing grass with grass thirsty bluegrass,
for example, with an ornamental?

Ornamental grasses are low-maintenance perennials with pleasing personalities. They're durable yet graceful. Many are deer-, insect-and drought-resistant.

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"Some of the fescues, very much so," said David R. Mellor, director of grounds at Boston's Fenway Park and author of "The Lawn Bible: How to Keep it Green, Groomed and Growing Every Season of the Year."

Ornamental grasses grow either in clumps or via spreading rhizomes. The clumping varieties generally are more popular with landscapers because they fit easily into garden beds and don't poke their roots where they're not wanted.

Ornamental grasses come in many heights, colours and textures. The uprights can add background interest in summer or bring soothing, wind-blown sounds and motion to a solitary landscape in winter.

Prune the foliage in early spring and the plants will grow back into something tall and distinctive.

"People also can cut the plumes and bring them into the house to add more spine to (flower) arrangements," Mellor said in a phone interview.

Better yet, try including a few slices of lemon grass to the family menu. It adds a citrus-like flavour to salsas, teas, stews and meats.

The Associated Press


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