Monday, August 9, 2010

Monkey Grass, Liriope muscari

The best thing about taking plant and garden photos is the chance to see something in a new way  as you pay attention with your camera lens.  I knew liriope  had purple spiky things that got black berries sometimes, but never really thought about the fact that there had to be flowers if there were berries.  I was living with monkey grass waaaay before I ever learned any botany - just goes to show how much we take for granted those "always been there" sorts of things.  Look how pretty the flowers are up close!

Liriope grows in the of shade of my garden, and in nearly every shady southern garden planted in the sixties and seventies.  Liriope muscari was probably one of the plants J. C.  Raulston had in mind when he lamented the limited choices available to landscapers and home owners.  While it is still planted today, you might consider a dwarf or variegated type if you want to be current - and do  J. C. Raultson proud.

Felder Rushing, in Tough Plants for Southern Gardens writes,  "Monkey grass eats magnolia leaves."  Liriope leaves cause the fallen magnolia leaves to turn on edge where they remain hidden until they have turned to compost.  He says it's a handy trick the botanical gardens use, and if you have a magnolia, you can too.