Plant of the Month
Black Mondo Grass
Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens'
Grid T2 on the west edge of the
Hosta Walk, towards the bottom end
I was a little nervous about planting Black
Mondo Grass because it is often listed as only
hardy to zone 6, but it has done very well for
us. That may be because we are now
considered zone 6 on the most recent map; or,
it may be that others are finding it hardier than
expected, as I now often see it listed as hardy
to zone 5.
Black Mondo Grass, Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigresecens’ in front of Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ 10-21-15
Truly black plants are hard to find, but this
comes very close. The foliage is usually
described as 'semi-evergreen' which translates
to 'often looks ratty and ugly in spring until the
new foliage emerges'. We planted this strip in
2011 and it has now filled in nicely. It is a
little bit slow to establish and spread, but the
good side of that is that it is not so aggressive
that it spreads into places you don’t want it.
Black Mondo Grass, Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigresecens' 10-21-15
I think the color is best right now, warm days
and cool nights seem to intensify the dark
color. We will have plants available for sale at
the Arboretum Associates plant sale, scheduled
for June 4, 2016.
One of the transitions that happens every fall
is when the irrigation in the Arboretum is shut
down for the year. The permit that the
University has from the state allows us to water
with the re-claimed water from May 1 until
November 1; but, many years we get enough
rainfall (or freezing temperatures begin) that
we are able to shut down sooner than that.
This year we have been watering most of the
month of October, but the system was shut
down on the 21st of October. Shutting down
our system involves removing batteries from
all 74 of the wireless controllers, gathering up
hoses and sprinklers, draining the system and
finally using a large air compressor to blow out
the 138 zones.
Fall color on the Asian Grapes, Vitis amurensis 10-21-15
The other major focus for the fall is clean up.
One big component of that is mulching as
many of the leaves that fall as possible. We
use both of our large, commercial lawn mowers
to accomplish this. The leaves are chopped
and fall back into the turf, eventually breaking
down and adding organic matter and nutrients
to the soil. That mulching process is one of the
reasons we are able to maintain deep green
grass with no added chemical fertilizers.
Three Flowered Maple, Acer triflorum 10-2-15
Arboretum Associates Annual Plant Sale
Saturday, June 4, 9 am - 12:00 pm
Ice Rink, Latah County Fairgrounds