Category Archives: Grasses and Sedges

No More Buds? Turn to Earbuds.

By this time in the year, I’m at the point of good riddance! with the weeds and careful tending (shout out to this cold spell for sealing the deal). Pretty much everything is done and put to bed. I then spend the next two weeks really dialing into my houseplant game before I get bored and start Spring dreaming. My Fall break from the garden is short-lived so I start listening to old episodes of now-defunct podcast series and dream with new ones.  Here are a few of my favs:

Gardenerd Tip of The Week

Gardenerd.com is the ultimate resource for garden nerds. We provide organic gardening information whenever you need it, helping you turn land, public space, and containers into a more satisfying and productive garden that is capable of producing better-tasting and healthier food.

https://gardenerd.com/

My thoughts: The host lives in LA, so this one is great for winter listening as we get chillier, I love hearing about the warmth of Southern California and what’s coming into season. Interviews with other experts and educators in the horticulture field discussing plants, but also cultivating grains, discussing bees, and seeds. Each episode ends with the guest’s own tips, many of which are news to me and have been incorporated into my own practices. 

On the Ledge

I’m Jane Perrone, and I’ve been growing houseplants since I was a child, caring for cacti in my bedroom and growing a grapefruit from seed; filling a fishtank full of fittonias and bringing African violets back from the dead.

https://www.janeperrone.com/on-the-ledge

Houseplants, if new to the podcast start here for an overview, and guidance.

Jane is a freelance journalist and presenter on gardening topics. Her podcast has a ton of tips for beginners, and more advanced info for longtime houseplant lovers, as well as interviews with other plant experts. The website is also useful to explore the content of an episode if you aren’t able to listen. I could spend an entire morning traveling in and out of the archives. 

My thoughts: As the growing season comes to a close, my indoors watering schedule starts wobbling between what the plants need and my summer habits of watering too many times per week–welcome back,  fungus gnats! Here’s an entire episode on them

Plant Daddy Podcast

We aim to create a listener community around houseplants, to learn things, teach things, share conversations with experts, professionals in the horticulture industry, and amateur hobbyists like ourselves. We also want to bring the conversation beyond plants, since anybody with leaf babies has a multitude of intersectional identities. We, ourselves, are a couple gay guys living in Seattle, Washington, with a passion for gardening and houseplants. A lot of our friends are the same, though each of us has a different connection, interest, and set of skills in this hobby, demonstrating a small amount of the diversity we want to highlight among plant enthusiasts.

https://plantdaddypodcast.com/

My thoughts: Plants are visual, podcasts are auditory- episodic overviews with links to viewable content available on their website. Are you also seeing Staghorn Ferns everywhere? They have an entire episode (photos included!) on the fern and how to properly mount it for that vegan taxiderm look. Matthew and Stephen are self-identified hobbyists with a passion for plants all the way down to the Latin–it’s impressive.

Epic Gardening

The Epic Gardening podcast…where your gardening questions are answered daily! The goal of this podcast is to give you a little boost of gardening wisdom in under 10 minutes a day. I cover a wide range of topics, from pest prevention, to hydroponics, to plant care guides…as long as it has something to do with gardening, I’ll talk about it on the show!

https://www.epicgardening.com/

My thoughts: The Netflix-episode-when-you-just-don’t-feel-like-a-movie kind of podcast. Addresses the best varietals, composting, soil pH, and troubleshooting some common issues in the garden. With daily episodes archived back to December 2018, there is a quickly digested thought for some of your own curiosities. The website is also a wealth of knowledge. 

Eatweeds Podcast: For People Who Love Plants

Eatweeds: An audio journey through the wonderful wild world of plants. Episodes cover modern and ancient ways wild plants have been used in human culture as food, medicine and utilitarian uses.

http://eatweeds.libsyn.com/

My thoughts: most recent episode (and appropriately timed!)  On edible acorns. My fav topics include foraging and wild yeast fermentation; and when I really start missing the Pacific Northwest, The Wild and Wonderful World of Fungi sends me back to a misty forest wander politely decorated by les champignons. Posting of this pod is sporadic–only 25 episodes since 2014.

You Bet Your Garden

(no longer on air, but archives available)

 

You Bet Your Garden® was a weekly radio show and podcast produced at WHYY through September, 2018. The show’s archive is available online. It was a weekly syndicated radio show, with lots of call-ins. This weekly call-in program offers ‘fiercely organic’ advice to gardeners far and wide.

https://www.wlvt.org/television/you-bet-your-garden/

My thoughts: Host, Mike McGrath, spends much of the show taking calls and troubleshooting, reminiscent of another public radio behemoth with Click and Clack, the Tappet brothers. McGrath incorporates a lifetime of organic gardening tips with humor. McGrath features one tip to find a local “rent a goat place” (no joke) to get goats to eat the most troublesome weeds to a concerned caller considering setting much of her yard on fire.

Cultivating Place: Conversations on Natural History and the Human Impulse to Garden

Jennifer Jewell, the founder of Jewellgarden and Cultivating Place, achieves this mission through her writing, photographs, exhibits about and advocacy for gardens & natural history and through her weekly public radio program and podcast Cultivating Place: Conversations on Natural History and the Human Impulse to Garden, on gardens as integral to our natural and cultural literacy.

https://www.cultivatingplace.com/

My thoughts: sort of like On Being, but for gardening.

A fav episode:

If you aren’t so sure about this podcast thing, and just want a place to start, start here.

Do you really need a brain to sense the world around you? To remember? Or even learn? Well, it depends on who you ask. Jad and Robert, they are split on this one. Today, Robert drags Jad along on a parade for the surprising feats of brainless plants. Along with a home-inspection duo, a science writer, and some enterprising scientists at Princeton University, we dig into the work of evolutionary ecologist Monica Gagliano, who turns our brain-centered worldview on its head through a series of clever experiments that show plants doing things we never would’ve imagined. Can Robert get Jad to join the march?

https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/radiolab/articles/smarty-plants

The Joy of Ornamental Grasses.

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It is December and finally winter has arrived in Denver!  Who hasn’t noticed the low winter light catching the grasses and adding a glowing soft orange to the otherwise monochromatic landscape. Perhaps now is the time to dream of growing grasses or sedges in your own unique space.

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Beautiful Denver Home Enhanced with Winter Plantings

Grasses are adept at growing in different environments within the city.  Read labels carefully so as not to buy a “cool season” (perennial here)  whose growth, or requirements, do not meet your needs.  There are many cool season grasses that may take a few years to reach their maximum height (some formidable!). Also, establish that you are not buying a self-seeding variety if you want control. Also, check the details and ascertain that the water requirements can be met.  Remember even the most water frugal plants need help to establish.

Also, consider if you would like “warm season” (annual here) grasses too.  I bought a beautiful Red Fountain Grass Pennisetum setaceum at the CSU Extension Plant Sale, which is still pretty in December snow. This annual could have been overwintered indoors, but I took the lazy route and I like the golden winter interest that remains.

Grasses are invaluable in restricted spaces.  For example: rooftop gardens can be made into wonderful living areas with miniature grasses like a Hybrid Idaho Fescue  Fistula ‘Siskiyou Blue”, or perhaps a sedge like Ivory Sedge Carex eburnea.  Or large grasses can make dramatic modern statements. The delicate structure of grasses contrasts beautifully with concrete or other urban materials. Also, the narrow leaves are tolerant of high winds and brutal summer roof-top temperatures.  If you are using pots I would consider wrapping containers in burlap or another insulating material during the winter.

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Some cool season grasses that fill in small space front garden varieties include: Dwarf Fountain Grass Hameln Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Hameln’ and  Atlas Fescue Fistula mairei.  These make great border plants . For more dramatic focal point grasses the CSU Extension has a wonderful list to gather more comprehensive ideas as you dream for next year. CSU Horticultural Extension: Ornamental grasses information and list of plants.  

If you have the luxury of more land and you would like some self sowing varieties  the Indian Rice Grass Achnatherum hymenoideds looks lovely in the low winter light. The now wintery soft brown Blue Grama Bouteloua gracilis (our state grass!) is a casual signature planting that spreads prodigiously, and helps make the winter Western landscape warm and magnificent.

Some large grasses can get messy in the wintery weather but there is a solution if you don’t wish to cut back in fall or winter. Gardener Dave wrote a good piece in the Jeffco blog about controlling tall grasses, through the winter, so that they stay attractive and can then be left for cutting back until spring Click here for large grasses that can be maintained as structural interest in winter.

Anne Beletic CMG