I really enjoyed John Greenlee's grass talk on Saturday at the lovely Sierra 2 Center in Curtis Park. Greenlee seems to be aiming to broaden our concept of what a "lawn" can be. It doesn't have to be fertilized and watered and mown within an inch of its life; Instead, you can simulate a mini-meadow using undulating waves of ornamental perennial grasses. And while you're at it, why not sprinkle in a few native bulbs or wildflowers? How does mowing once a year sound?
Achieving a meadow look on a small scale, and in a way that dares to please even your fussiest neighbors, can be accomplished. But you want to have a plan in place before you kill your sod.
Read all you can about ornamental grasses, see what's native or suited to our Mediterranean climate, and seriously consider calling an APLD member for help. Many APLD designers attended Mr. Greenlee's seminar and are probably pretty fired up about ornamental grasses and meadow gardens. Hey, if Greenlee's famous clients like Diane Keaton can kick the grass habit, so can we.
One of the grasses Greenlee talked about a lot was California native grass Carex pansa. It's cute and he had some for sale at the post-seminar plant sale. One audience member asked for a deer-resistant grass recommendation. Know what he said? Deergrass, Muhlenbergia rigens. They may bed down in it, but apparently they won't eat it. Your roses, on the other hand...
You can get a taste of Greenlee's presentation by checking out his website's Products page. There's a slideshow, plant list and plant gallery.