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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.

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

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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

 


 

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