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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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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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