Sprouting joy!

At the beginning of last winter, I invested some time in seeding native sedges. For the plant geeks among you, the two species of my choice were Carex sprengelii and Carex vulpinoidea.

My intent was to grow enough of them to start turning our parkway, which is currently covered in turf, into a rain garden with an ornamental yet reasonably rough and tumble selection of native prairie species.


Getting some native species to germinate is not easy. But throwing my research and horticultural background into the mix, reading up on the science, plus trial and error led me to a reasonably successful method: Potting soil plus sand bedding plus stone chip mulch.

Timing is also critical. Seeding the sedges at the onset of winter puts nature to work. The frigid winter months allow the seeds to imbibe (slowly absorb moisture) and they get cold stratified. This should ultimately break the seed dormancy, and lead to a reasonably successful germination rate.

Does it?


I started peeking into my trays and noticed a tender green fuzz emerging! Success! I just hope that enough of the pots will produce sedges so that I have enough material to plant out the parkway.

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About Marcus de la fleur

Marcus is a Registered Landscape Architect with a horticultural degree from the School of Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Sheffield, UK. He developed a landscape based sustainable pilot project at 168 Elm Ave. in 2002, and has expanded his skill set to building science. Starting in 2009, Marcus applied the newly acquired expertise to the deep energy retrofit of his 100+ year old home in Chicago.

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