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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.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Working Like A Muhly

There are just not too many fully sunny locations at Hoe and Shovel. With the removal of a couple of the neighbor's trees last year a nice portion of the west facing front yard opened up to let a good amount of sunshine in.

It was decided to dig up some lawn and create a place for some much longed-for sun-loving natives and Florida-friendly plants.

My first exposure to Purple Muhly grass, Muhlenbergia capillaris was marveling at it planted en masse along the coastal shores of a Florida state park a few years ago. At the time it was wished that there was some way to enjoy this uniquely blooming native grass in my garden. And at the time it was not thought possible due to the mostly shady nature of my garden.
It is not a plant readily seen incorporated into the home landscaping in our area. But we were all for giving it a try in the newly dug up area where it would receive several hours of sunshine and the slight slope allows for good drainage even though the soil is rich.

Dear readers may remember it was hoped we would see some blooms this first season when small 4" plants were so recently put in the ground the second week of July. We are more than thrilled as this hard working grass is beginning to put on a bit of a fuzzy purply show. Daily the purple color is deepening and more stalks are appearing. We may be seeing more of this grass as the weeks go by.

Some More Sun-Loving Plants in the Front Lawn Renovation

And in the same newly planted bed is Agastache 'Black Adder'. They have flushed out another set of blooms since being pruned back soon after being planted, also in July.
They are marketed as hummingbird mint and said to attract the tiny birds I've seen visiting other flowers this summer. While there has not been any sited on the Agastache, bees and butterflies are happily frequenting the lavender blooms.
While we're having a look at the progress of the front planting bed it won't hurt to admire the Cassia Alata or Senna Alata again as it continues to please the eye as the centerpiece of the narrower side located just above the muhly grass that's planted closer to the street.

Blessings and a wonderful weekend to all,


  1. Meems,

    Your sunny bed looks great! The Pink muhly sparkles beautifully in the light in your garden. It is goldfinch that love agastache, so I'll bet you'll see bird activity if those show up for your mild winters. Goldfinch live here year round. Monarchs love the agastache, too.


  2. Meems, Thanks for mentioning you spotted this grass in a costal setting. A little research and I find Muhly will work well for me on the oceanside.
    Meems, Congrats on your Blotanical nominations. Yours is the blog that inspired me begin blogging.You have created a first class venue for you images and writing, both of which are finely crafted. You've got my vote.

  3. The pink muhly and Agastache 'Black Adder' really appeal to me-I would so love to have those in my garden. My sun situation in my new garden is the opposite of your-almost all direct sun and no shade.

  4. meems,

    your new sunny patch of land is filling in so nicely. i am sure it is giving you a lot of joy when you are coming and going. i love this very ethereal purpley grass. it is so different from anything else you have. i can just see it on a slightly windy day...shining brightly swaying back and forth.
    i also love the black adder. it looks very much like a mint we planted in the open veggie garden that i just keep cutting and bringing in the house for the smell. i am so excited for you to have such wonderful results in that bed already. i think you live on top of black gold. of course we all know you work very hard too.
    happy september saturday.
    we are having rain again for the umpteenth day in a row...but i am not complaining. last year we lost 7 trees due to the drought.

  5. Love the Purple Muhly Grass, Meems.. You are doing a great job with all of the sun-loving plants down there. Like you, we don't have much sun in our yard either. That's why George built the new flowerbed out front.

    Have a great weekend.

  6. Thank you for your blessing and the look at your sunnier flower bed. That purple muhly grass is so pretty with it purple haze beginning to spread. Have a great weekend yourself.

  7. No Muhly here showing colors at all and I am farther north. Maybe it is because yours is newly planted. I know I have had new plants bloom earlier then nromal their first year.

    Beautiful anyway.


  8. Meems, the muhly in your garden looks very elegant if I can use this term for a plant.

  9. I just love how it shimmers in the light. Very pretty.

  10. It's beautiful there. I always enjoy your garden pictures! That Muhly grass is so pretty!

  11. Very nice Meems, it looks so bright and wispy. I love how the sun lights up the grass. Is that the bed at the front you had recently done?

  12. Cameron,
    I always think of you when I see anything about Agastache. Mine doesn't look anything like yours but it's a start. The goldfinches won't show up until about the end of December... hopefully they will notice the agastache.

    Thank you.

    Oh, the Muhly works really well near the beaches... it should do really well for you. Thanks for the well wishes AND your vote. So glad you're adding your Key West notes to the Florida blog world.

    I'm like you, not much sun but I'm really happy this little corner has opened up so I can try some new things. It's been fun.

    That front section has been fun to enjoy from the street and the driveway. Funny - I can't get through my morning walks without noticing a weed I have to stop and pull... never had that opportunity before. The agastache does cut well and offers a sweet display in a vase. There are so many kinds~~you may have had this or something similar. That rain just keeps on coming for you Tennesseers... good for the earth right?

    Shade gardeners have to 'create' sunny spots sometimes... I'm making the most of a couple of small spaces of sun... the front and the side where the veggie garden resides. You guys have done a marvelous job with your roses in the sunshine.

    Purple haze is a good way to describe the effect of the muhly... it is ultra fuzzy.

    Your blooms is probably right around the corner.

    Oh, I think elegant is a great word for plants. Thank you.

    I agree... those tiny little wisp catch the light so sparkly.

    Well, Thank YOU... that is so kind of you to say. Glad you come by to visit.

    Yes, it is the front bed I just dug out and planted in July. That intense summer sun has grown it up fastly!

  13. The new front bed looks fabulous. So many different plants that you didn't have before. Isn't it fun to be able to try these new ones? I keep wanting to try new plants.
    I don't recall seeing any goldfinch around here since I've been here going on 18 yrs.

  14. Hi Meems~~ Great minds think alike. Muhly is new to me this year too. Its flowers are just beginning to emerge. I think I'm going to love this grass. Great photos as usual. :]

  15. How exciting, Meems, to have this kind of show from newly planted young 'uns! The agastche looks wonderful too. I tried this plant and it died immediately. Maybe it needs to join the muhly on the hill, thanks for the inspiration. The Senna is a gorgeous specimen as well. I love your new sunny spot. :-)

  16. Lola,
    I can't tell you how much it has been getting to put plants directly into a sunny spot. Even this area only gets about 5 solid hours but in Florida that's a lot. It will be interesting to see how it does in the winter with the sun shift to the south.

    Goldfinches love thistle seed. Maybe you should put some out in December... you will probably see some, too. They only hang around here until about the end of April ... sometimes into May.

    Oh, a perfect addition to your beautiful gardens. You will love it... I wonder what it will do in the winer for you?

    From what I gather the agastache likes lean soil (which I do not have- but its on a slight slope so drains quickly) and dry conditions. If the muhly does well the agastache would most likely join it and provide color even when the muhly isn't blooming. Agastache is not a plant we see around here. Not sure why. My friend Cameron got me started thinking about it. Now that I have a sunny spot I thought I'd give it a try.

    I hope my muhly grows up to imitate your muhly. I'll be sure to remind them that is the best flattering.

  17. Meems,
    Just back from the Garden Writers Symposium in N C and the Muhly was near full color in all the botanical gardens there. I think Muhly is underutilized around Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Durham and it is getting more use here in Florida. With the deer problems in the Carolinas I would think they would use it more than they do as deer do not like ornamental grasses. Glad your 4 inch plants bloomed so well. Just shows us all how proper soil preparation pays off.

  18. meems, it's all sparkly and beautiful in your garden! Your hard work is being rewarded with blooms in your young garden! Both plants love the sun and drainage, but I think it's the drainage that matters most, ergo, we won't be growing either here;-) Have a sweet weekend~~ gail

  19. Your sunny bed looks so nice! And since I love that muhly grass... I wish I could find it here and try if it's hardy or not / gittan

  20. Your Muhly is beautiful! I should plant more since my clump blooms late every year. I'm not sure why.

  21. I live in the Ocala area. How do you control the leaves, collect the leaves in your area with so many plants and ground coverage?

  22. Michael,
    I'm not certain I understand your question perfectly but I think you are asking how I control the leaves in my own garden? I let them fall and naturally mulch the areas where there are planting beds. When they fall on the hardscape or the lawn they are gathered up and placed in the compost pile for later or they are placed directly into planting beds for mulch. I hope that is what you wanted to know.


Have a blessed day,

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