Have you noticed around town a grass-type plant with wispy, very delicate pale pink plumes blooming lately? That, my flower freaks, is the beautiful native ornamental grass called Muhly grass, aka Muhlenbergia capillaris.
Muhly is a very hardy, easy to grow grass that would do awesome in your sun to part sun garden. It quickly grows to 3-4′ tall x 3′ wide with an arching habit. The fluffy flower stalks can add another 3′-5′ of height to the plant. The blooms start showing color in late October. I think they’re pretty cool looking even after they dried out. Oh but wait … there’s more: The dried seed heads also are a favorite of hungry birds.
Muhly makes an excellent medium-size hedge, accent plant, foundation plant, middle of the border plant, or even container plant as long as the container is large. It thrives in zones 7 – 11. Maintenance is pretty simple: Cut it back in late January to about 6″ to 1′ from the ground. Give it organic fertilizer such as Milorganite twice a year: mid-March and mid-October are perfect times. Rake or hand pull the dead leaf stalks to keep it clean looking. Then just sit back and enjoy the beauty of Muhly!
It’s a pretty versatile plant in the type of soil it likes, its only requirement is well draining soil. While it is drought tolerant after becoming established, it looks much better with regular watering. Are you thinking about putting in a rain garden, or do you have an area that drains well but stays moist for awhile after rainy days? Those are areas Muhly will do great in, along with it adapting just fine to normal garden situation.
Oh, did you know that Muhly grass also comes in a white flowering variety!! Why, yes it does:
So now that you know all about Muhly grass, how about popping over to R&G’s Unique Garden Boutique and ordering yourself one … or more!
How cute is this birdbath! It’s shallow enough the small birds can use it, it has running water so the mosquitoes won’t breed in it, and the birds will love washing off in the sprays of water from the pipe.
I think this is going to be the next project for my personal garden. I’ll let you know how it goes! Let me know if you want me to make one for your garden!
A client gave me that cute little decorative birdhouse shown in the pic. I wanted to do something special with it, so I decided to make it part of a unique bird feeder!
Making it was very easy, took about 30 minutes, and cost less than $10. What a deal! I screwed the 2′ x 2′ pine plywood base to the balcony railing, used exterior wood glue to glue 1″ x 1-1/2″ edging to keep the seed from flying everywhere and for the birds to stand on, and glued the birdhouse to the center. A gap was left between the edging pieces for water to drain.
A couple of things I might change in the future: 1. If the base wiggles too much in the wind, I’ll brace it to the railing. 2. If water doesn’t drain off well, I’ll drill drainage holes and cover them with screen.
I left it natural, but it could be painted or stained. Just be careful as to what type is used as to bird toxicity. We want to feed the birds, not kill them.
This is a fun and easy project that you can do with the kids to get them interested in bringing birds into the garden. Add some nectar plants for the hummingbirds, and soon your garden will be where all the birds hang out.
Next I need to put a birdbath out for them so they have everything they need on my little balcony. I’ll let you know how long it takes for them to come visit.
We recently talked about designing the garden to make sure we have nectar plants blooming year round for the butterflies. But let’s also remember our year round and migratory birds. This article gives some good ideas how to keep them happy and coming to your garden.
I’m in the process of making a cute little bird feeder to put on my balcony so the neighborhood birds will have plenty to eat. To me, watching the butterflies and birds enjoy the garden makes all the garden work worthwhile.