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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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Wednesday - January 24, 2007

From: Chapel Hill, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Native wildflower habitat for North Carolina
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I am from North Carolina and have been gradually establishing a wildflower spring garden. I now have a beautiful display of bluets and cornflowers that grace my front yard in the spring. Most of this area has been allowed to be covered with a lush green moss where the bluets seem to find a wonderful home. The cornflowers are more discrete. After the bluets and cornflowers leave us we have a profusion of rattlesnake weed, whose beautiful leaves many times turn a deep purple. Around our mailbox we have an old (thick trunk) trumpet honeysuckle. All of these are volunteers. Also I have propagated - with some success - a nice, soft, hairy-leaf plant that puts out a blue blossom every day from late spring until fall. They are very hardy to drought. Also a type of clover has appeared, they do not bloom but their green leaves are luscious. In the back we have asters and violets, plus ajuga, which is also a volunteer. At present I would like to propagate wild grasses to supplant my lawn (that is full of crabgrass and bermuda). Any good suggestions for this area.

ANSWER:

It sounds like you are well on your way to establishing a nice wildflower habitat at your home. Good resources for you will be the Native Lawns and Wildflower Meadow Gardening articles in the NPIN Clearinghouse.

For a list of grasses suitable for use in your landscape and how they can be used, please see this excellent article from the South Carolina Native Plant Society website.

 

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