Magazine article Sunset

A Sea of Grass

Magazine article Sunset

A Sea of Grass

Article excerpt

A swath of rusty-hued New Zealand sedge (Carex testacea) brings alive a formerly bland spot among European weeping birches (Betulapendula) in Saratoga, California. The grass doesn't live long but is "well worth the trouble of replanting every three years or so," says landscape designer Chris Jacobson (gardenartgroup.com). Adding cool contrast in the background is a mixed meadow of Carex divulsa (flowers need to be sheared as they brown to prevent reseeding), Festuca mairei, and fountain rush (Elegia capensis), with nandina against the wall.

* PLANT

Grow seedlings of herbs such as chervil, dill, and watercress in well-draining soil in a location that receives four to six hours of sunshine. Once plants are established, snip leaves to add to salads.

In mild-winter areas, start seeds of cool-season flowers such as Iceland poppies, pansies, stock, and violas.

* MAINTAIN

With varieties of large slicing tomatoes, thin fruit to encourage plants to produce larger tomatoes and prevent fragile branches from breaking.

Deep-water mature trees to help them through drought. Stick a shovel in the ground in five to seven locations beneath the tree's drip line to loosen the soil. Fill each hole with water slowly, allowing the moisture to penetrate the soil. …

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