Once again, Gardening Gone Wild has invited garden bloggers to a photo contest, and this time the topic is grasses. There's even a prize, but the best thing is looking at everyone else's photos. It's so inspiring.
Above is my entry, a photo of Stipa gigantea, taken against redwoods with ceanothus thysiflorus in the foreground. This beautiful Mediterranean grass gets by without any summer water in my garden. I only have one plant; they grow to 8x8 feet. In the spring, Stipa delights with silvery green fronds that sparkle in the sunlight. They fade to golden over the summer, but are a great focal point well into the fall. Finches and hummingbirds alight on the stems, enjoying the safe spot way above the ground, then flying off again to feast on the nearby lavender seeds.
My favorite grass for the California garden is, however, California fescue (Festuca californica). The photos I had just weren't as dramatic. Here's a row of Festuca planted along the dry stream bed in the front garden. They've stayed green all summer on hand-watering every 10 days, in full sun. I'm impressed and delighted because they actually prefer part shade.
With no water in the back garden, Festuca shows its golden California color, providing a beautiful contrasting background to the dry seedheads of Salvia spatacea (Hummingbird sage).
And now I'll head over to Gardening Gone Wild to have another look at the other contestants' photos. And then I'll prune Stipa.