Mailman takes the ornamental grass divisions

Garden Evangelist:Share Your Plants!

by / 6 Comments / 879 View / March 1, 2009

I wasn’t planning to garden today.

Then I saw how nice my clients were maintaining their yard and felt like a hypocrite!

I’ve been procrastinating starting my yearly, winter ornamental grass maintenance because I’ve been distracted by my vegetable garden.

Distraction is the plight of the hungry “evergreen” gardener in Los Angeles.

Blame the cauliflower!


Shamed into the neglected areas of my garden, I gathered my essential tools, (an iPod and a hoe) and took my sorry butt outside.

It felt great to be in the garden with chanteuse, Jill Scott as we sang “Golden” together, the chorus reminding me of the privilege it is to be able to pull weeds under bright, sunny skies.



There are many sunny days in Southern California, making it a gardener’s paradise!


First up, the ornamental grass, Nassella tenuissima, or “Mexican feather grass.

Considered a prolific plant, it borders on “invasive” in some parts of the country.

The grass had reproduced itself in a few spots and it was time to remove the self-seeded offspring.

Fortunately for  all it’s “will to survive,” Mexican feather grass doesn’t put up a fight when uprooted, so I still welcome it in my gardens.


I bet some gardeners won’t agree with me but keep reading, there is a great ending to this story!


Ornamental grass, Nassella tenuissima is a “dancer” in my garden and fun to watch as it sways with the wind.


One hour of “labor of love” yielded me more than just a tidier garden, it transformed me into a “gardening evangelist!.

I uprooted 5 plugs of the Mexican feather grass and they looked so rich and healthy that I couldn’t bear to dump them in the compost pile, or as I call it, “plant purgatory.”

In the compost pile, plants that have misbehaved go through refining heat and are reborn as “black gold” or rich and nutritious garden soil.

Yes, even weeds can be redeemed!


I had other plans for my trespasser.


The “fine” for my garden transgressor was to find a new home and dance for someone else in their garden!


I grabbed a bag of almost-empty, Kellogg Patio Plus soil,  and tucked in the grass plugs.

Next, I made a sign that read, “Free plugs of Mexican feather grass,” and placed it on top of my bird bath by the curb.

I was confident that there would be many takers.


I’m hoping my mail carrier, Paul will become a gardener now that he has adopted my ornamental grass plugs.


As I was setting the bag of plugs down I heard the familiar hum of the mail truck a few houses away.

I waited by the curb so that I could ask for my mail in person.

Unexpectedly, I surprised myself when I opened my mouth to speak and found myself asking a question I hadn’t planned on asking.


Do you like to garden?” I asked my mail carrier as he sorted through my stash of mail with his pristine white gloves.

“No,” he replied softly.


Then perhaps sensing he may have given the “wrong” answer to the smiling fool gardener with dirty hands, he digressed.


“I mean I don’t garden, I guess I might like it if I tried it.”


The garden evangelist in me continued,


“Do you have any ornamental grasses in your yard?”


“No,” he responded and then asked...”What are they?”


“You see those wheat colored plumes in my garden, those are grasses,” I explained


“Oh, yes, I like those, I enjoy seeing them whenever I pass your house,” he smiled.


I smiled bigger.


“Would you like some for your yard?

I have these plugs I took out of my garden today and I really want to pass them on to someone else.



The mail carrier stepped out of his truck.

I considered this a “yes” answer.


I exchanged a pile of mail for a bag of plants with my mail carrier. Hey, look, an APLD postcard! (Association of Professional Landscape Designers).


He handed me my mail, leaving his hands free to peruse the plugs in the bag of Kellogg soil.

As he put his hands in the bag, I noticed his gloves became soiled and I felt a little guilty.


“Go ahead and take them all” I offered to appease my conscience.

“I’m sorry you got your gloves dirty”


“That’s ok, I’m looking forward to planting these in my  yard.

He sounded excited.

I sent him on his way.


Guilt gave way to joy as I envisioned my mail carrier with his dirty white gloves, gardening under the California sun. I felt redeemed!

I felt redeemed!


Gardening changed my life.

I hope he becomes a gardener one day too.

6 Comment

  1. Ornamental grass has advantages and disadvantages. It grows on anywhere, and some of the landscapers didn’t usually use it in designing their garden. At home, my mother always buy ornamental grass,shrubs or anything she usually display it on our house and also in the garden.

  2. Hi Shirley,

    Like you, I love my ornamental grass! I have a tall Miscanthus that is the star of my landscape in winter, at this point. I have lots of young shrubs, so, in future years, some of them might vie with the Miscanthus for star status. But right now, they’re still small and can’t compete with the Miscanthus, all puffed up, as it is, with its summer growth.

    I place a shepherd’s hook in front of the Miscanthus and hang a blue glass ornament from it. The straw color of the Miscanthus provides a nice backdrop for this ornament.

  3. Mother nature= I couldn’t get into your blog…what’s up? Thanks for the visit.

    Hi Dee- Great to hear from you. I hope you are well and ready for spring gardening!

    I can’t find your first comment and I never got to see it. As far as the mailman is concerned, I saw him drive up the other day, but I was on the phone and couldn’t catch up to him. I’m dying to know if he actually planted those grasses. I’ll do a followup.

  4. I left a long reply to this and what in the world happened to it. I bet you can go back and see that I was here soon after you posted this. Sometimes I hit submit on a blog—-don’t look to see if it gets published and come back to find out it’s no where to be found. Sorry.

    Has the mailman reported back on his grasses? I can’t believe you talked him in to being a gardener. He should be able to grow grass and be successful. I wish I had some back and scarfed up the prize. Very clever of you to put the treasures in a Kellog bag of soil.

  5. You always make me smile you little plant evangelist.~~Dee

  6. I am sooooo jealous of the weather. 🙂

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