Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fighting the Odds

The courtyard lawn looked rough last fall - full of weeds, patchy, generally yucky. So Greg just decided to nuke it all and start fresh this year.

With our trip to England and Norway in September, we missed our opportunity to plant fescue last fall.

Between the weather and my trip to San Antonio this spring, we missed our opportunity to plant fescue this spring.

So when I saw the sale on Prestige buffalo grass at High Country Gardens this June, I decided that I ought to take advantage of it. Buffalo grass has to be established in the heat of the summer. Once established, it requires almost no watering or mowing. It's native here. This is a greener-than-usual strain of it. And it was on sale. It seemed like all the signals were saying "Go for it!" So I did.

And the grass came. All 27 flats of 70 plugs apiece came. Those of you who are friends on Facebook suffered through our planting of it (as far as it went). Planting entailed bending over (or kneeling, or sitting on my butt on the ground) in full sun, digging a hole, filling it with water, loosening up the roots of the plug, planting it, watering it again, and repeating....900+ times. That means we got about half of the plugs put in before we gave up and just started trying to keep it all alive.

Full summer is one thing. THIS summer is something else. But we're slowly seeing some progress. After 3 weeks now, the grass plugs we planted seem to have taken hold. They are beginning to grow and send out a few runners. They stay healthy green longer and require watering less often. I know there are a few plugs on the periphery that we'll have to replace, but the majority look like they're going to make it. It's our main success story in the garden for the summer. It may not be much - but I'll take it!


Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

I wish our little lawn was buffalo. It stays short and doesn't really need mowed. We have bermuda. Not that it needs mowed much since I don't water the lawn at all. I plugged it from a small patch that was in the corner of the lawn. Used a tool used to take soil samples a neighbor loaned me. First I had to kill off all the other stuff there but those plugs took off. Your buffalo should do the same. I guess I did water the plugs until they started spreading. Buffalo likes heat. You certainly have that going for you!

Kitt said...

I saw a nice buffalo-grass hell strip the other day that had filled in and gone to seed. It would probably look messy next to well-tended bluegrass, but I thought it was quite lovely.

I hope yours does well!

Gaia Gardener: said...

Because we're dependent on a well for all our water - drinking, household, and outdoor watering - having grass that doesn't need any watering at all sounded really good to us. Most hort strains of buffalo grass are female, so that you don't get the male flower heads (which look like seed heads) sticking up. I really don't care one way or the other, but I suspect the Prestige we're planting is female also.

Of course, I'm far from a purist on lawns. As far as I'm concerned, if it stays low and moderately green and can be mowed, I'm happy!

Patrick's Garden said...

You've got to love High Country Gardens and its mission. Just discovered your blog. Traveled to Wichita from Shawnee this spring for the spring garden show. I've heard people sing praises about it for years.
Imagine my disappointment when I realized my electric wheelchair was too wide for me to drive through nearly all the exhibits. Big disappointment. I wrote a letter to the Eagle Beacon but I need to follow up with the steering committee. Very insensitive on their part and probably against the law

But I digress, glad to have found another Kansas blogger. Good luck with the buffalo

Gaia Gardener: said...

Patrick, thanks so much for stopping by!

Sorry your experience with the Garden Show was such a bummer, but it won't be an issue in the future since they've decided to quit putting it on - too expensive, especially for the garden centers doing the big displays. After several months of living with the thought of absolutely NO garden show, a group of folks got together and decided to put a smaller version of it on, without the big display gardens. So we're not quite sure what we'll have next spring. I will certainly miss the big extravaganza.