How’s my Berkeley sedge lawn growing?


Two months ago I wrote a post about my experimental “lawn” of Berkeley sedge (Carex divulsa). After 5 months it was filling in, but with areas of patchiness. Since then, the Death Star has abated, temps have cooled off to the 80s and 70sF, and we’ve had several soaking rains. It’s time for an update.


What a difference two months of reasonable weather can make! I also gave it a helping hand, once the weather turned, by mowing the sedge on a high setting and then feeding it with Medina Hasta-Gro Lawn, an organic liquid fertilizer that I chose for no other reason than it came in a hose-connecting spray bottle — i.e., no mixing or pouring required. I plan to feed it again in the spring. Meanwhile, I’m very pleased with how it’s filling in.


“Needle-Nosed Fliers” has found a new roosting spot there.


The front porch also got a small update recently when, inspired by a visit to Vivero Growers nursery, I copied their container design, pictured here…


…for a bronze pot of my own that needed refreshing. Tall Mexican petunia (Ruellia), foxtail fern, and variegated lily turf (instead of dianella) make up the pleasing combo, and blue glass beads give it a finishing touch.

What updates or bigger garden projects are you working on in your garden?

All material © 2006-2013 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

15 Responses

  1. Shirley says:

    The sedge looks so good there and is filling in fast enough to look just right by spring. The mowing was a great idea to even it out.

    It’s definitely the time for gardening projects in Texas. I transplanted my Berkeley Sedge experiment to the back yard and replaced it with Creeping Germander in the front Agave bed. Reworking the flagstone courtyard is a big one this week and I’ll post on those changes soon.

    Was your Berkeley sedge in too much sun out front, Shirley? Or did you move it for some other reason? I look forward to seeing more about your courtyard project. —Pam

  2. Scott Weber says:

    It is really filling in nicely, Pam…can’t wait to see what it look like at this time next year! I’ve been moving things around pretty constantly for the past few weeks…but generally just enjoying the garden…trying to take it easy :-)

    Trying to take it easy and moving things around constantly — hmm, do those two concepts go together, Scott? ;-) I’m with you on moving things around. This is prime gardening season in Austin, and I’m taking full advantage of the cooler weather and recent ground-softening rains! —Pam

  3. Ally says:

    Native sedges may be just what I’m looking for in my current project. I started working on a meadow last year, but the lack of rain in Oct/Nov 2012 really put a damper on my progress. This year the increased rainfall was so encouraging I decided to work on the area again. I remember you installed your sedges with plugs. Do you recall if it’s available in seed?

    I don’t believe so, Ally — plants only. Also, Berkeley sedge isn’t native to the U.S. but to Eurasia. Texas sedge is one of several native sedges. I believe that Texas and Berkeley sedges both do better with some shade, not full sun, so I’m not sure how drought-tolerant they’ll be for a sunny meadow (although Sheryl at Yard Fanatic has a sunny Texas sedge “lawn” that may be the exception that proves the rule). Here’s more info on locally appropriate sedges from McNeal Growers, a wholesaler in the Austin area who specializes in sedges. He does not sell to the public, however, so work with a designer with a wholesaler license if you need to buy a large quantity. —Pam

  4. Kris P says:

    Your new lawn and refurbished pot look great! This is our best planting season so I’m in my usual fall planting frenzy, with a focus on the side yard we cleared of lawn this summer. It’s still a work in process and will probably remain so for the next couple of months.

    I’m in a frenzy of fall gardening too, Kris. Isn’t it fun? I look forward to seeing what you do in your side yard. —Pam

  5. ricki says:

    I just did a post about “tweaking”, but most of it is just going on in my mind’s eye. Your planters look great, and hurrah for the unlawn.

    The unlawn — I like that term! Have fun with your tweaking. Sometimes you have to rearrange in your mind before you’re ready to get out the shovel. —Pam

  6. Alison says:

    My biggest garden project right now is moving pots full of tender plants into the house for the winter, struggling to find spots for all of them where they’ll get some light. I really should be moving plants around in a couple of beds that I wanted to redo, but I hurt my back recently, so I’m taking a break from that. Down in Portland, they’ve had some wonderful sunshine for the last couple of weeks, but up here in the Seattle/Tacoma area, we’ve had relentless fog.

    Your sedge lawn looks good, it’s definitely thickening up.

    It’s so hard to do any gardening at all with a hurt back. I hope yours recovers soon, Alison. Take it easy! —Pam

  7. TexasDeb says:

    The sedge is looking so soft and inviting. I’ve got a patch of the native sedge on a shady hillside and I see why you’d choose the Berkeley instead – the native is lot less exuberant in growth.

    I’ve got some of that ruellia that I planted from seed I got from a commercial parking lot strip planting. Now I see why they used it in a “contained” space. It goes everywhere! Smart of you to use it in a planter on a porch. I’m going out to transplant as much of it as I can get out of a large back bed to the front where the deer browsing keeps it under better control.

    I suppose that sends a mixed message to the deer – here have THIS but keep your teeth off THAT? I’m hoping the deer’ll accept what I offer freely and leave the plants I spray or fence off alone. When it comes to my plants and the deer, well, we are still in open negotiations!

    I don’t negotiate with my deer at all, TexasDeb, but my hard line means nothing to them anyway. ;-) Good luck corralling your tall ruellia. It’s very aggressive, as you’ve discovered. I hope mine doesn’t seed out from my porch planter (I’m a little worried about that). —Pam

  8. I love that sedge! Not much going on in my garden and there won’t be until next April. *sigh*

    Your pictures say otherwise, Kylee. I’ve been enjoying your photos of the soft autumn light and changing colors in your garden. —Pam

  9. Kathy Walton says:

    We want to plant a full yard with sedge and having a tough time coming up with the right variety. We have full sun, want low water, low maintenance. Height about 6″.

  10. Matt says:

    How’s it looking now? I’m in North Florida with two monstrous Water Oaks in my sloped, almost terraced, clayey front yard. Would love to go sedge!

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Slowly! Actually, we’ve had a cold winter and a slow spring, so I’m hoping for good growth in May and June. Texas sedge, which I have in smaller areas in back, seems to grow much faster than the Berkeley sedge out front. I’ll try to post an update in the next month or so. —Pam

      • Matt says:

        Oh gotcha! Does the Texas sedge have that same nice color? Also how does the sedge do with foot traffic? How is it on bare feet?
        I’m having trouble finding plugs in my area, I wonder if I can order online somewhere!

        • Pam/Digging says:

          Yes, the Texas sedge looks very similar — just a bit shorter (though still taller than my not-yet-established Berkeley sedges). Very occasional foot traffic is supposed to be fine, but I try not to walk across mine except to weed so as not to compact the soil. Better to use a stepping stone path through it, I think. —Pam

  11. Kapila says:

    Hi Pam! Where do you buy your little bits of sedge from to plant so numerously in the ground? This post is from October; did you plant the sedge in August? Were there any HOA restrictions you needed to take into consideration? Do tell!

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