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"Possibility and promise greet me each day as I walk out into my garden. My vigor is renewed when I breathe in the earthiness and feel the dirt between my fingers. My garden is a peaceful spot to refresh my soul." Meems

Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Ornamental Grasses Inspiration

Manasota Key, FL *click to enlarge any photo*

I'm a long-time admirer of ornamental and tall grasses. Just about any kind of grass is pleasing in my view. It sways with the breeze and rustles around together making the softest and gentlest sounds. I'm particularly attracted to its manner of forming an upright habit.
Longboatkey, FL taken on a rainy July morning

But then it droops over from the weight of a good rain shower. In my opinion it commands one's attention in almost any setting.
Longboat Key, FL while the oats are still very green in May

Since I am a Florida beach girl I honestly can't get enough of the beautiful native sea oats found along our coastline. Uniola paniculata is the most important plant for dune restoration and dune stabilization and is excellent for lessening damage to shorelines brought by tropical storms and hurricanes.
Coquina Beach, FL highlighting the green grass and the tan oats of August summer
There are few grasses with the same appearance or that share the habitat of sea oats.
Coquina Beach, FL, August sea oats in the foreground and background beyond the water.

Longboat Key, FL, July

The flowerheads of sea oats, called spikelets, are clustered at the top of hollow stems.
Longboat Key, FL, rainbow sky
When the good folks over at Gardening Gone Wild came up with ornamental grasses as the subject of September's photo contest it occurred to me to take a look through the photo archives.

Longboat Key, FL
Not terribly surprising I found oodles of beach photos displaying grasses of all kinds and at every season of the year taken at all times of the day. A great majority of them are of my favorite sea oats.
Fort DeSoto Park, FL, August
As a little girl we picked the seed heads (spikelets) by the dozens from dunes on barren, quiet beaches. It is illegal now and understandably so as they are an endangered species.
Longboat Key, FL, January sunset
This photo taken the same evening as the one entered for the contest is a favorite with the barren grasses bidding the day goodbye.

Dunedin, FL, August ...of the sunset reflecting onto the eastern sky.
St. Simon's Island, GA, November golden sun reflection at sunset.

Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, Nashville, TN, October

Switching to my visit to Tennessee last year. Cheekwood Gardens had so many grasses planted en masse and blooming beautifully.

Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, Nashville, TN, October

Dunedin, FL, purple fountain grass planted at an intersection and glowing in the afternoon sunlight.

Myakka River, FL, after a particularly harsh winter... acres and acres of frost tinged tan grasses.

St. Mary's, GA, where the marshes and wildlife are endless...

Fernandina Beach, FL

Ochlockonee Bay, FL

This photo was my second choice for entering into the contest. In the end I decided to go with the beach picture in the above post. I adore cattails ... they make such a beautifully wild and natural statement along the waterways of Florida.
Again, thanks to GGW for their emphasis on grasses this month. It made me remember how very much I love them.


  1. Good luck. I didn't know there was so many different kinds of grasses till I started to look into the ones that would be ok for my small garden.
    I really like those grasses.

  2. Great post! The sea oats are lovely. I grew purple fountain grass for the first time this year, in a couple of large pots... and I am hooked on it.

  3. oh how funny...we did the same thing by looking back...i even including a cheekwood shot too.
    i came over to see if you had made the cut~off and saw your entry and this post. funny, eh.
    love all your fl picked a great photo for your entry but i love the closeup of the sea oats so much too.
    here's wishing you well.

  4. I love the rustling sounds they make in the wind.

  5. Hi Meems, there is nothing on earth like those sea oats waving on the dunes, doing their job of holding the sandy shore in place. Your shots are beautiful and I was glad to see Cheekwood in there as well, but the beach is hard to beat! :-)

  6. I'm a big fan of sea oats, too -- I entered a photo of a seaside grass in the contest, too. :) Your photos are all beautiful, particularly your contest entry. I love the two empty chairs. :)

  7. Lola,
    I'm incorporating more native grasses into my garden but I don't have too many sunny areas where they fit. For some reason the natives don't have particularly pretty blooms... even though I LOVE the blooms they DO have they don't make such a show.

    I DO grow some purple fountain grass but this year it was shadowed out by some taller firebush... at least I'm surmising that is why they didn't bloom as well. It IS a lovely addition to the landscape and to container plants in a sunny spot.

    I'm smiling at the fact we had the same inclination and were actually working on it at the same time. I DO that close up, too... so "singular". All the entries are unique and wonderful to see!

    It is SO peaceful to hear.

    You are SO right. Can you believe I have hundreds of photos of sea oats because their loveliness just calls to me and my little point and shoot! Besides I go to the beach A LOT... SO many opportunities. Cheekwood was fabulous.

    Just went over to check out your photo... we had the same idea. I LOVE yours, too! So very calming.

  8. Beautiful pictures of the ocean and sea oats. I love it when they slowly move with the ocean breeze.

  9. Good luck with your entry. I just love all this beach habitat you have shown us. It seems like a foreign country to me living here in the middle of the US. Beautiful scenes.

  10. spectacular!! An' the sunsets is real fine too!

    How can ya not win???

  11. I am late to join in on admiring grasses. I think it's because I had no idea how to use them in my garden. I've been seeing them used more around here for landscaping and mixed in flower beds. I don't think I realized how many types there were and how many different types of areas they could grow in.
    You've taken some beautiful pictures, the grasses look so pretty on the beach. Good luck!

  12. Oh Meems,
    You know how to make a girl envious, don't you?
    You have all those gorgeous backdrops in bright sunny weather - I had to make do with a windswept patch of scruffy roadside in a rainy dusk.
    Spoilt for choice. They are all uplifting and lovely.

  13. I love sea oats -- here in Austin, Texas, our native is Inland Sea Oats, and it's a beauty (in fact I have a picture of it in my latest post) -- you have it in Florida, too. Some people don't like how easily it spreads, but I actually need it to spread some to help fill up my "wild" side yard and cover up all the oak sprouts that keep coming up. Native grasses are so valuable -- I had no idea your coastal ones were endangered. Great post!

  14. Hi Meems,
    My name is Jane and I'm with Dwellable.
    I was looking for blog posts about Coquina Beach to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
    Hope to hear from you :)


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

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Tropical Pathway