Dead or Dormant?

Posted by John on September 30th, 2011

Just got back from a long work trip and found myself with some rare free time and decided to wrap up the mulch on the last flower bed I added.  It had been a couple weeks or more since the last time i had been over on that side of the house and right away I noticed some changes.  First off the big Japanese Silver Grass I planted to hide the electric meter looks pretty rough, dead even.

Here’s what it looked like when I planted it.

tall grasses

Here’s what it looked like today.

dead tall grass

No, that’s not Rod Stewart’s hair piece, that’s the same grass. Looking a little peaked today are we?  So the big question is… is this grass dead or dormant?  If there are any green thumbs out there, I’d love to hear your opinion on this one!

The bad news here is the other grasses look OK.  Why is that bad?  Because that means this one is probably dead.  The good news is the nursery where i purchased this grass has a one year money back guarantee.  I think I’ll be taking advantage of that policy, unless someone advises me otherwise.  May be lazy and wait until the spring anyway though.  TBD.

This past month we’ve had a lot of rain.  Despite my earlier effort to install the downspout extenders, I’ve still gotten some run off, albeit a minor amount.  The front edge of the flower bed has a good amount of sand from all the rain.  So, once the mulch is in place I would expect the rain to move the mulch as well.  I may have to add a small extension piece to the current extender.  Here’s a shot of the run off.

flower bed runoff

One of the bright spots in this bed has been this tall fringe flower.  It’s been turning some leaves red and then dropping them. Looks beautiful.

fringe flower

It’s also been producing a few flowers.

fringe flowers

Now onto the mulching.  If you’re interested in learning how to edge and mulch a flower bed, check out this post.

mulch bed

For now, I’m just going to leave this downspout trowel in place.  Next spring, I’ll extend it and rock it out.

japanese grass

All done.  Immediately after I took these photos, I removed the tags from the plants.  I like to procrastinate with those.

side flower bed

My transplants look pretty decent as well.  If you recall, I moved two crimson pygmies that were in rough shape over behind the fringe flower.  They were originally in the front of the house early this past summer before I had installed a drip irrigation system.  They didn’t do so well so they were relegated to the plant cemetery.  The plant cemetery is the small area behind the shed that is nearly in shade all day.  Consequently, a couple plants I’ve had back there in pots have sprung back to life.  Except, they’re evil now.


Before I moved this one here, it had purple leaves, not the green shown here and it looked bare.  I think these will pull through nicely.  I also moved a pygmy over to the side of the shed.  This one is still in critical condition.  However, the plant I moved from the shed is thriving along the side in the new bed.

other shrub

So that’s it for new plants this year.  We’re very happy with how the flower beds came out.  Next year I’d like to add a few more plants to each bed and try to increase the depth and play with the height some.  Not bad for a first try though.  I think I’ve had my fill of mulch for a while too.  Next year I’ll probably just have a lawn cutting service freshen up the beds with a couple inches of mulch rather than me do it.

Anyone still doing yard work or are you all done for the season?

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