biwa
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Searching for flowers with foliage that looks like grass

I just bought a new house and I found 3 completely different looking flowers growing in the garden that have foliage that looks remarkably like grass. The grass blades of one of them are evergreen and short enough that if I planted them in the yard instead of grass, I would never have to mow.

I am interested in planting something similar in my yard to make the grass a little more colorful and a little less boring. Please recommend some plants to me.

opabinia51
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Clover doesn't look like grass but, accompanies grass quite nicely. It treads very well and also feeds the soil through microbial interactions on nodules of it's roots. Crimson clover has lovely flowers and can used to make a lovely tea when dried. The same can be done with white clover.

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Grey
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Is it dwarf mondo grass? Does it grow in clumps?

Red clover is more than just a good tea, it has medicinal uses as well, especially for women. ;)

I'm liking yarrow and creeping thyme (though creeping jenny is pretty cool too) for groundcovers. I've stated to experiment in an area of my backyard with the two former to see how they handle traffic once established. One thing I have noticed - yarrow seems to let weeds in, and the thyme doesn't have the same problem. I'm not saying I don't need to yank a weed once in a while, but it isn't as bad as with the yarrow.

opabinia51
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Creeping Thyme is lovely and smells so nice when you walk over it! And Yarrow, oh sweet yarrow. It grows wild in the Interior of BC and when I see it, I always harvest it, dry it and make tea. It's also good if you are afflicted with prickly heat.

You make a tea with it, drink the tea and chew on the steep yarrow leaves and then apply the chewed yarrow to the sores. Works well for other skin afflictions as well. Good for sun burns too.

But the tea just tastes good so, that's why I pick it.

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Grey
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ooooh, prickly heat! I just got a little touch of that on Sunday when I worked outside for the afternoon. It's gone now, but I wish I'd known then that the answer was right outside my back door! Thanks!

opabinia51
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My brother is cursed with prickly heat and one time we were up North on our parents boat for the summer and he had a really bad outbreak (his first actually). We found this doctor (that we ended up referring to as "the witch doctor) on Cortes Island who looked at the welts on my brothers leg and said: "Prickly heat." and prescribed yarrow as the treatment. Worked like a charm.

I just drink the tea because it tastes good and I guess yarrow would be good for me in some other ways as well.

You could probably make your own tinctures and salvles from it as well but, that would take a bit more time.

Sorry biwa, we've kind of hijacked your thread here.

Flowering grasses let me look in a book here... well as far as native grasses to Western North America (you'll have to excuse me that is where I am from)
Sweet Vernal Grass: Anthoxanthum odoratum
Orchard Grass: Dactylus glomerata
Spike Trisetum: Trisetum spicatum

These ones look nice and you can try asking around at local nurseries to see what they offer.

I like the look of clover and yarrow and you have duel benefit; they look nice, the feed the soil (one does), and you can eat them. Also some medicinal properties in them.

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Grey
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I'll continue the hijack, with apologies. I actually do make my own tinctures, and have made a salve once but nothing more yet. Lemon Balm is my practical cure-all & favorite fresh tea.... then there are Dandelions, Calendula, Elecampagne, Muellin, St John's Wort, Catnip, Echinacea, Turtlehead, Black Cohosh and a whole slew of other things I grow... my medicine cabinet is outside. I keep empty vanilla bottles for my tinctures and the kitchen in the in-law suite is my "herb kitchen" so I have a set-aside space for all my paraphenalia.

I research herbs all the time. Word of caution to anyone who is thinking of dabbling in them: there is no dabbling in herbs! These are made into medicine, and they have have the same side effects and lethal interactions as prescription medications and are *not* safe simply because they are natural. You must be able to identify your plants (there is a form of hemlock that looks a great deal like Queen Anne's Lace to the untrained eye) and know what they do, plus understand how your body works, so anatomy and physiology are important areas to study alongside herbs. /end lecture

biwa
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Grey wrote:Is it dwarf mondo grass? Does it grow in clumps? https://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/50006/
It looks kind of like that. The one in my yard also grows in clumps. It has indigo colored flowers that are bunched up like upside down grapes. The blades are narrower and not as flat.

I was hoping I could find some flowering plant that isn't grass but looks enough like it that I can put it in my lawn without my neighbors thinking my lawn is full of weeds. Grass by itself is boring, it's just green and no other color. It would be nice with some little purple flowers or something.

Like chives for example; that looks kind of like grass, though I'm not sure if its flowers are pretty or not.

opabinia51
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Hmmm, lemon grass comes to mind. And you can think of Daylilies as looking grasslike.

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Jess
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It sounds like you have grape hyacinths (muscari armeniacum) growing. Quite invasive if they get the right conditions. You could try growing Liriope. Grasslike and flower in the Autumn. Chives too, as they are very attractive when they flower. Some of the other dwarf alliums would work too. Then there are crocus spring and autumn varieties, snowdrops, Fritillaria (the shorter forms) Sisyrhinchium bellum, Iris reticulata, erythroniums (leaves are a bit wider) and species tulips. Thats all I can think of for now and you will have to check hardiness for your zone.
Knowing without doing is like plowing without sowing."

biwa
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Yes, the thing in my yard is definately muscari armeniacum; my plant looks just like the picture that came up when I Googled that name.

Wow all those suggestions are really pretty. I especially like the crocus one. Maybe I'll plant all of them. Thanks, Jess!

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Oh oh oh, wiggling and raising hand to post to this. Is it possible you have one of these-
https://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=SIAN3
https://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=SIFU2
https://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=SIMU3
https://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=SIMO2

Or one of these-
https://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=XYTO
https://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=XYMO

I have one blue-eyed grass here and one yellow-eyed grass here and you can't tell whether they are grass or not when they aren't in bloom and unlike the Muscari, they still look good throughout the summer.

I love the blue-eyed grasses.

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imagardener2
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I love blue-eyed grass!!!

[url=https://www.pictarget.com/image38764.html][img]https://www.pictarget.com/image38764.jpg[/img][/url]

Sadly it only lasts a few weeks here in wild flower form and then is gone for another year. :(
"Our elders instruct us to always walk upon Mother Earth with respect, gentleness, and with thankful hearts. We must never deviate from the fundamental precept of stewardship, or we will be capable of causing great harm."

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Jess
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biwa wrote:Yes, the thing in my yard is definately muscari armeniacum; my plant looks just like the picture that came up when I Googled that name. Wow all those suggestions are really pretty. I especially like the crocus one. Maybe I'll plant all of them. Thanks, Jess!
You are very welcome. :D
In the UK we plant Crocus and Fritillaria into our lawns. Crocus tommasinianus works best as it spreads quite vigorously (never invasive!)

https://www.mygarden.me.uk/plantofmonth2005.htm

Fritillaria Meleagris is the best one for lawns that do not dry out too fast.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/plants/plant_finder/plant_pages/329.shtml
What about Colchicum, flowers without foliage in the autumn and then the leaves appear.

https://www.ubcbotanicalgarden.org/potd/2007/01/colchicum_sp.php

Others to consider are; Chionodoxa, Scilla, Puschkinia, and Ornithogalum Umbellatum.

If you go ahead and do this you have to post pictures!! :D
Knowing without doing is like plowing without sowing."

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Jess
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Thelorax I have never come across Xyris before. They are so pretty. I noticed it said endangered on the site you posted.
I agree with you on Sisyrinchium being nicer than Muscari. Your native species is very similar to the bellum we normally see here. Not nearly as invasive either. Having said that there is a beautiful yellow form of Muscari but it is very fussy and spreads very, very slowly. I wouldn't mind getting hold of one of those.
Knowing without doing is like plowing without sowing."

TheLorax
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Hmm, I didn't receive a notification that there was a reply to this thread and there's good stuff that's been added!

Beautiful Sisyrinchium photo imagardener2!

Yes Jess, the Xyris and the Sisyrinchium are very nice well mannered plants for people out our way but as noted by imagardener2, the blooms are gone in a few weeks and they look like regular old grass.

Sometimes it depends on where a person gardens in the US whether or not a plant is going to be a problem or not. biwa is in Virginia and is in a similar region to me so chances are pretty good that any plant that is a problem where I garden is going to be a problem for him/her.

Muscari armeniacum is naturalized in my state which isn't a good thing. It's certainly aggressive as you noted. It will probably end up on an invasive list sooner or later. Incredibly, I found Puschkinia scilloides, Scilla siberica (also naturalized in the US), Convallaria majalis (invasive here in the US), and the Muscari growing here a few years ago in a raised bed I had just created the fall before. I couldn't for the life of me figure out where those plants came from. I didn't plant them. Think there was some sort of Hemerocallis and quite a few other plants I didn't recognize coming up. I asked my Dad where he got the topsoil that he brought over to dump in that bed. He said a neighbor was building a family room addition and he asked if he could have their excavated topsoil for his daughter. He was very proud of himself for getting all that top soil for free. I had to go out there and dig up everything I could easily dig up from that flower bed and then I put a tarp over it for the whole summer and I am still finding a few Convallaria and Vinca trying to come up every spring. My Dad's neighbors had been buying and planting all the bagged goodies from the big box stores and when he took the "free" top soil, I inherited them by default.

I wasn't familiar with Chionodoxa or the Ornithogalum umbellatum. Had to look them up. That Ornithogalum umbellatum wouldn't be a good choice for over here-
https://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ORUM
It's formally identified as being invasive as well as a noxious weed just like Convallaria majalis.

Does the UK have a site like we do that helps people determine whether a plant is native or introduced like we North Americans have the USDA Plants Database?

biwa
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That blue-eyed grass looks familiar. I think I have that in my yard as well, though mine aren't that deep pretty blue. They're a paler color.

Wow you guys thought of even more neat stuff I can plant. That Chionodoxa thing looks nice. I suppose rather than making a decision which flower to use in my lawn I should just get a bunch of them. I bet they all flower at slightly different times. I could make the yard be blue one week, and purple the next, yay!

Though it might be nice to have something that flowers all season.... I have viola weeds that do that but they don't blend in well with the grass.

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Jess
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Interesting! Thanks for that theLorax.
I am not surprised at the Convallaria. It is a thug here too but Ornithogalum umbellatum? Never been a problem here in fact seems quite fussy. Muscari armeniacum is the bane of my life. Once it is in a garden it likes it is impossible to get rid of as there are so many tiny bulbils you can never get them all out.

I find it incredibly interesting what is invasive and considered noxious in one country and not in another and in the case of America even the difference between States as your country is so vast.
What I find more amazing is how a noxious weed here gets transported as a garden plant elsewhere. English ivy for example. I spend my life pulling that stuff out. Why would anyone want to grow it? It kills trees here. :roll:

As far as a site on native plants go, https://www.nhm.ac.uk/nature-online/life/plants-fungi/postcode-plants/checklist-british-plants.html shows plants for the whole of Britain. We have few native species because of our untimely cutoff from mainland Europe. I think that is why we became such avid plant hunters.
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biwa
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I rather like invasive, weedy plants. They grow with almost no care required. There are a few things that I think are too invasive, and English Ivy is one of them, but in general I think planting weeds is good lazy way to make a pretty garden.

TheLorax
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Yes, Convallaria is right up there with Kudzu and Vinca.

I'm going to try my best to address your astute observations, "in the case of America even the difference between States as your country is so vast". I am in Illinois. Indiana is to the east of us, Iowa & Missouri are both to the west of us, Wisconsin is to our north, and Kentucky is to the southeast. Our state has a few species of plants formally listed as invasive. Not so oddly enough, several of the surrounding states list the plants we have listed as invasive plus about 30-40 more. How is it that these other 30-40 plants are invasive in the other states but not in Illinois> the answer is those plants formally identified by other states as being invasive aren't any less invasive in our state than in the other states. Simply stated, our lawmakers don't seem to like to step on toes and the green industry's lobbyists are extremely powerful in my state. Same thing goes on in other states so we're not alone. It happens.

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Jess
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biwa wrote:I rather like invasive, weedy plants. They grow with almost no care required. There are a few things that I think are too invasive, and English Ivy is one of them, but in general I think planting weeds is good lazy way to make a pretty garden.
The problem with that and what you are trying to do as regards making a lawn of flowering plants is that some will out compete others. All plants have to be of roughly equal vigour. The Muscari will crowd out the "Blue grass" which means you will only have colour early in the season.
I worked in a garden where a lady had used these in one border. She asked me to help her out when they had spread to the path and all around the wall of the house. They had smothered all of the perennial plants in one border and the overall appearance of her garden was just a mess. I could not get rid of them. I removed whatever I could but that still left thousands!
Knowing without doing is like plowing without sowing."

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