Monday, March 30, 2009

Mounds O' Mondo

Ophiopogon or Mondo grass is a staple of the landscape industry. Its a great groundcover that thrives in a variety of sun, soil, and moisture conditions. This flexibility is why landscapers often depend on Mondo grass so heavily, and why you should be able to find it in many of the landscapes around town. While I wouldn't say that it is an overused plant or that its boring, the genus Ophiopogon has too much variety in it to simply plant the straight species. It is for this reason that the current test list includes the dwarf and black varieties, and its important to know them and keep them in mind. Black Mondo grass can be used with bright foliage or flowering plants to help enhance their colors by contrast. Mondo grass also comes in silver varieties such as the cultivar 'Silver Mist' and golden varieties such as 'Spring Gold'. Also, instead of only mass planting one type of Mondo grass, consider mixing different colored varieties in a mass to make things more interesting. A good example of this can be seen in the shade garden at the UT Gardens where different colored varieties of Liriope brighten up a shady area. Even the straight species looks good in a smaller mass like around Morgan Hall.

Try planting these varieties for yourself and find a combination you're happy with. But whatever you do, try to make it interesting.

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