|But, its real charm is the twisted beige winter foliage|
|Danthonia starting to fill in the lawnette|
I love that it will grow on dry, rocky and poor soils where one might assume nothing could possibly grow. So it's probably no surprise that it is found naturally growing at Clay and Limestone. I've plenty of thin soil sitting on top of rock and Poverty Oat Grass is growing right on top of it.
I had already fallen for its charms long before I stumbled upon it's identity. After all, here was a plant that grew were absolutely nothing else would and it required very little care. It has a ground cover effect where it has been allowed to seed and spread. But, its real charm is the twisted beige winter foliage.
But, that's not all! It has wildlife value! Various insects feed on the foliage, including several really cute skippers and small critters use the foliage for protective cover. It's also deer proof! Btw, that's becoming increasingly important to me!
source: Matthew Perry
It's very happy in the semi-shade of the Bur Oak and is the primary grass in the Blue Bottle Tree lawnette. There's something pleasantly calming about mowed greenery amidst the exuberance of my native plantings, but, I'm thinking of letting the danthonia flower and go to seed. I want to see the plant in full growth and see the inflorescence that has been described as small and delicate. It's a airy grass that may look lovely en mass. In addition to all those good reasons, there's one more: letting it go to seed means more plants since, this little grass does not spread by rhizomes.
In case you were wondering:
Danthonia spicata is technically a cool season perennial bunchgrass that can be found growing in most of North America except California, Nevada and Utah (not to worry Danthonia californica grows there).
Native cool season grasses grow and reproduce in cooler conditions, offering forage in early spring, fall, and part of winter, and seed by early summer. They grow well under the shade found in woodlands or in moist and dry prairies and are easily propagated from seed. Chasmanthium latifolium (River Oats) and Elymus hystrix (Bottlebrush Grass) are two other native cool season grasses that you are more likely to encounter in the trade. Bunch grasses form one clump (or bunch) and do not produce well developed rhizomes or stolons. Gardeners who want to move away from the high maintenance of turf grasses should consider bunch grasses. Both cool and warm season bunch grasses fulfill an important ecological role in prairies and other natural communities. They can play a similar role in our gardens. These grasses provide food (forage and seeds) early in the growing season as well as cover for wildlife.
I am happy to report that if you want to give Poverty Oat Grass a try in that very difficult, poor dry soil you can now find seed. Try searching the internet or you can visit Prairie Moon Nursery.
It's a really cool grass. Trust me! Have I ever steered you wrong!
Thank you for stopping by and welcome to Clay and Limestone's Wildflower Wednesday celebration. WW is about sharing and celebrating wildflowers from all over this great big, beautiful world. Join us on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Remember, it doesn't matter if they are in bloom or not; and, it doesn't matter if we all share the same plants. It's all about celebrating wildflowers. Please leave a comment when you add your url to Mr Linky.
Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone."