En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Saturday - November 03, 2007

From: West End, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Plants for a Zen garden in North Carolina
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am looking for plants that would be suitable for a ZEN style garden in North Carolina

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants believes that you are looking for simple, graceful plants with a somewhat ordered shape that will lend an air of serenity to your Zen garden.

GRASSES:

There are several bunch grasses that have this quality of grace and simplicity that would be suitable.

Eragrostis intermedia (plains lovegrass)

Muhlenbergia capillaris (hairawn muhly)

Deschampsia cespitosa (Tufted hair grass)

Elymus histrix (Bottle-brush grass)

Spartina pectinata (Prairie cord grass)


SEDGES:

Sedges are another possibility. They look very much like the grasses, but have the advantage of most of them being evergreen.

Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge)

Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)

Carex texensis (Texas sedge)

Carex stricta (Erect sedge)

Rhynchospora colorata (starrush whitetop)

 

SHRUBS AND SMALL TREES:

Paronychia virginica (yellow nailwort)

Comptonia peregrina (sweet fern)

Yucca filamentosa (Adam's needle)

 

LARGER TREES:

Juniperus communis (common juniper)

Tsuga canadensis (Eastern hemlock). The fine texture of this tree makes it very attractive. Although it can grow to be a large tree (80 feet tall and 40 feet wide), it can be trimmed into a shrub. There is one variety, Sargentii, that has weeping branches that would be very attractive in a Zen garden setting.

You can see other lists of recommended native plants for your garden (not necessarily a Zen garden) on our "Recommended Species" page and on the North Carolina Botanical Garden web page.


Eragrostis intermedia

Muhlenbergia capillaris

Carex blanda

Carex pensylvanica

Carex texensis

Rhynchospora colorata

Paronychia virginica

Comptonia peregrina

Juniperus communis

 


 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Shade ground cover under honeysuckle from Wichita KS
February 21, 2012 - Hi! I know this is a bit odd, but I am trying to find a nontoxic, good ground covering plant that can live in the shade while competing with the roots of a whole bunch of honeysuckle. I have a few ide...
view the full question and answer

Hillside Erosion Control for Gainesville GA
August 07, 2013 - I have a steep bare hill and the runoff from it is heavy this year. I need help with a fast growing groundcover that will help control erosion and runoff. Planting on the hill is difficult because you...
view the full question and answer

Erosion prevention on shady Pennsylvania stream
July 28, 2011 - I'm looking for a few species to plant along a stream channel to help reduce erosion during heavy rains. The soil is moist and in full shade. Ferns and thorny bushes are the only current vegetation...
view the full question and answer

Resources for a green roof project from Wayne PA
April 14, 2013 - Hello! I am researching a project to create a native wildflower/ turf mix for a green roof. I would ideally like to grow it as a sod mat, and then install it in rolls. I am currently working as an i...
view the full question and answer

Erosion control in Santaquin UT
August 11, 2009 - I have a hill in my backyard; it is about 40 ft tall and about 80 ft wide. It is probably a 1.5 to 1 slope ratio. I am going to be landscaping my back yard and have top soil put on the hill as well. S...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center