En EspaÑol

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

Brown blade tips on Habiturf from Austin
June 18, 2013 - After carefully following all the directions, II recently planted Habiturf and it's growing well. After the first mowing, however, we discovered the top half of the blades turned brown. We have a pus...
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

Alternative to Habiturf™ for San Franciso area
October 05, 2014 - Will Habiturf thrive in San Francisco? My current sod lawn is dying because the soil has become extremely hard. I'll replace the top couple of inches but underneath is a mix of sand and clay.
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for hill in Saint Mary's County, Maryland
September 18, 2010 - Is there a native grass or grasses I can mow on a hill that faces south and is too large to water in Saint Marys County, Maryland?
view the full question and answer

Need information about grasses for cattle grazing in Weatherford, TX.
September 16, 2012 - Need info on what I can plant for cattle to graze thru winter. grasshoppers and drought have decimated our coastal hay for past 2 yrs.Is there anything we can treat all the weeds with besides chemic...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center