sedges have edges

Sedges have edges, Rushes are round, Grasses have joints when the cops aren’t around!

Charles M. Allen   –   Botanist, author of Grasses of Louisiana

Hot Plants

One of the distinguishing elements of southern Tallgrass prairies, and especially Gulf coastal prairies and Gulf coastal Pine forests is the number of non-forb, non-grass species. The closer you get to the coast, coming from the north, the more species you encounter. The list of the different genus and species is long and varied. Some are good for horticultural use, some are not. Some are super-fantastic plants.

Sedges are grass-like plants that have opposite dormancy expression in the landscape, compared to native grasses. Grasses are green and actively grow in summer with a dormant season in winter while Sedges and their closely related genus Cyperus have a growing season (generally) in the winter and go dormant in the heat of summer (much like a Louisiana Iris does).

A few Sedges have a particularly brief dormancy period  – or non at all – and so are evergreen.

In many parts of the country, Sedges have become mainstream garden components. Carex pennsyvanica is extremely popular in its distribution range. It grows only a few inches tall and is a colonizer – a good evergreen ground cover –  a lawn substitute capable of withstanding a shady condition. Many of our coastal species are northern distribution as well.

One of the first public gardens to focus on the use of this idea regionally in a large public garden is Reed-Hilderbrand, a landscape architectural firm based in Cambridge, Mass. and New Haven Conn., chosen to design the addition to the new addition to the Sculpture Gardens at the New Orleans Museum of Art.

Reed-Hilderbrand reached out to Pastorek Habitats to assist with the design development stage of the process. We’ve worked with them in the past developing planting plans for Repentance Park in Baton Rouge and the LSU College of Art and Design’s Hilltop Arboretum prairie exhibits.

Our latest collaboration began in February of 2017, the New Orleans Museum of Art  Sculpture Garden.

Situated around a man made lake, the gardens will blanket the ground with drifts of contrasting foliage and textures so the focus of the eye is on the sculptures.

The New Orleans Sculpture Gardens construction project fully underway – due for completion in April of 2019.

Sedges have crimped leaves, which makes up the “edge”.


Marc Pastorek, a contributor to University of Alabama Press,  Southeastern Grasslands book!



Southeastern Grasslands: Biodiversity, Ecology, and Management: JoVonn G. Hill Ph.D., John A. Barone Ph.D., Charles Allen, Brent T. Baker, Gail Barton, Patrick J. Bohlen, Elizabeth H. Boughton, Bruno Borsari, Edwin L. Bridges, Nicholas Brown, L. Wes Burger Jr., J. J. N. Campbell, Jolie Goldenetz Dollar, S. Lee Echols, Edward David Entsminger, Thomas L. Foti, Toby Gray, John W. Guyton III, Raymond B. Iglay, Jeanne C. Jones, Lisa McInnis Ph.D., Reed F. Noss Ph.D., Steve L. Orzell, Marc G. Pastorek, Evan Peacock, Samuel K. Riffell, Jennifer L. Seltzer, W.R. Seymour Jr., Timothy J. Schauwecker, Jason R. Singhurst, Reggie E. Thackston, James W. Tomberlin, J. Morgan Varner, Malcolm F. Vidrine, Matt White, C. Theo Witsell, Wendy B. Zomlefer


A holistic approach to analyzing distinct grassland habitats that integrates ecological, historical, and archaeological data

Today the southeastern United States is a largely rural, forested, and agricultural landscape interspersed with urban areas of development. However, two centuries ago it contained hundreds of thousands of acres of natural grasslands that stretched from Florida to Texas. Now more than 99 percent of these prairies, glades, and savannas have been plowed up or paved over, lost to agriculture, urban growth, and cattle ranching. The few remaining grassland sites are complex ecosystems, home to hundreds of distinct plant and animal species, and worthy of study.

Southeastern Grasslands: Biodiversity, Ecology, and Management brings together the latest research on southeastern prairie systems and species, provides a complete picture of an increasingly rare biome, and offers solutions to many conservation biology queries. Editors JoVonn G. Hill and John A. Barone have gathered renowned experts in their fields from across the region who address questions related to the diversity, ecology, and management of southeastern grasslands, along with discussions of how to restore sites that have been damaged by human activity.

Over the last twenty years, both researchers and the public have become more interested in the grasslands of the Southeast. This volume builds on the growing knowledge base of these remarkable ecosystems with the goal of increasing appreciation for them and stimulating further study of their biota and ecology. Topics such as the historical distribution of grasslands in the South, the plants and animals that inhabit them, as well as assessments of several techniques used in their conservation and management are covered in-depth. Written with a broad audience in mind, this book will serve as a valuable introduction and reference for nature enthusiasts, scientists, and land managers.

Southeastern Grasslands offers a good representation of the biological significance bestowed upon these systems and the efforts currently underway to restore and maintain them for future generations to know and appreciate.”
—Alfred R. Schotz, botanist and community ecologist with the Alabama Natural Heritage Program (ALNHP) at Auburn University

“An excellent and thorough account, past and present, of the grasslands of the southeastern United States. The information included in this volume will be of interest to anyone studying grasslands, whether in the southeastern United States or elsewhere.”
—Robert H. Mohlenbrock, author of Vascular Flora of Illinois: A Field Guide and This Land: A Guide to Eastern National Forests

The book was initiated six years ago, due for sale in January 8, 2019.


Looking up and looking down!

the much-unappreciated Long Leaf Pine, the Kerry and Kru Stewart garden, Hattiesburg, Mississippi

the much-unappreciated natural grassland, Abita Springs, La.

Both are Southern jewels


Louisiana Children’s Museum construction project underway

The Louisiana Children’s Museum garden design, a collaboration between the architectural design firm Mithun and Pastorek Habitats, consists on indigenous and naturalistic  and children-oriented plantings.


the coolest plants in the garden don’t have to be native

H is for Horticulture!

The Allen Family Bioblitz was a butterfly blast! Charles Allen’s Native Ventures hosted the annual summer butterfly extravaganza. Craig Marks signed copies of his new butterfly book for Louisiana and  counted over 40 species of butterflies.

Charles’ gardens are really fun and pretty, full of good plants. This is one of many gardens he has built and gardened in over the last 20 years, his backyard is Kisatchie National Forest, his 20 acres backs up to the Ouiscachitto River in Vernon Parish, Louisiana.

the Charles Allen Purple Prince and California Giants seed mix zinnia patch, July, 2018


In my prairie garden at home, the amazingly wonderful Katheryn Rain Lily via Tony Avant’s Plant Delights nursery purchased a few or more years ago is really fun to watch in the hot summer rainy season with nearly continuous flowering and seed very nice indeed. Colonizes and is nearly indestructible, yet delicate and beautiful.

Don’t forget the fine horticulture lily Crinum Schmittii, a South African native of the highest quality. Goblet shaped flowers of clear white with black stamens ahhhh….

Extremely adaptable in most conditions, wet, dry, sun or shade. And notice the nice caterpillar called the Convict because of its black and white stripes. Linda Auld tells me the Spanish Moth uses lilies as its host plant. These are plants I have grown and propagated from for over 25 years – originally shared from Scott Ogden of Texas. Speaking of Linda, she is a friend of mine and a friend of all things that bug. She calls herself the Bug Lady and lives a bug-filled life. Read about her in this week’s Times-Picayune

Cramer’s Amazon Celosia is a butterfly magnet and a landing pad for dragonflies. Careful with it its like a loaded gun, it seeds like a weed but Monarch’s get drunk off its nectar come October

one of my house gardens, fun with cool plants, below

the garden out front, Covington, August 11,2018

M.Pastorek, August 2018

in foreground, two of my favorite sedge species, just cut back, and cucumber tripods and gomphrena from seed. Sedges have edges  :))

I may be the biggest fan of tropical Salvias, this one is one of my all-time faves, Salvia Purple Magesty. Blooms is ever-loving heart out every year without fail, and hardy north of Lake Ponchartrain which is saying a lot!

grow cucmbers from April to first frost here with about five crops each year using three pieces of cut bamboo canes tied together. delish!


don’t forget the natives! Plant-driven gardens!

two species of trees that attract and are host plants for Swallowtail Butterflies…

the coarsely-armored trunk of Toothache tree, Zanthoxylum (left) and Wafer Ashtree, Ptelia trifoliata both native Citrus (Kerry Stewart Garden)

Pam Puyear’s Pink Turks Cap (Almost Eden Gardens Nursery in Louisiana) a Hummingbird plant that delights humans, too

The fruit of Paw Paw tree – not only a good plant, but tasty, too! I planted this tree over fifteen years ago at Kerry’s garden in Hattiesburg, Ms and loaded up on fruit when I visited. A host plant for the Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly. Nummy!! tastes and has the consistency of Papaya  :)))


fun with seeds!

Lepidium virginica, pepper grass seed, tasty…

a load of Eryngium seed harvested this week. A carrot family member with great pollinator attraction and has silvery leaves, was used by native americans to make footwear – Go prairie!!

and the piece de resistance! Little Bluestem grass plants in my nursery….

and speaking of tough plants, how many plants do you know of that are rated in the top ten tier for flowering garden plants and can take growing in crushed asphalt? how about this bad boy, Rudbeckia grandiflora, a prairie plant extraordinaire that I seeded in a power line right of way last year in a prairie planting. not too shabby…

happy as a clam they are…

have a good day…..

5 thoughts on “sedges have edges

  1. I’ve been following your blog for a while. It particularly caught my interest because of its subject matter, and your southern location (I grew up in Mississippi). I’ll be driving through Mississippi ending in New Orleans in early October and am looking for gardens, meadows, prairies, naturalistic plantings, things of that type that might be accessible. My own garden is a kind of simulation of a wet prairie, though not at all made of only native plants. I do want to visit the Crosby Arboretum for sure, but hope to have time for other things. I don’t want to publish my personal email address, but I’d appreciate it if you could let me know via a message at my website:

  2. Dog, I seed yer name, shudda ust yer nam der plume, da prairiedog, letem guess…

    Dam dog dey shurd no!

    Get Outlook for iOS ________________________________

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s