Bouquets of Grassy Grandeur

Sarah Gorton

This time of year doesn’t lend itself to putting a bouquet of fresh-from-the-garden flowers on the table. But a dried grass arrangement is the perfect substitute — and you don’t even need to keep it in water!

Everyone loves a nice bouquet, but this time of year doesn’t lend itself to putting tulips or lilies on the table. More muted tones are appropriate.

While you can go to a craft store and purchase plastic branches and sprigs, they don’t evoke the same feeling as a live bouquet and you have to store it until the next year. The solution? Gather some native tallgrass!

This time of year is when grasses go to seed. They grow an inflorescence, or a flowering seed head. Some grasses have large, poofy inflorescences such as plains lovegrass (Eragrostis intermedia) and fall witchgrass (Digitaria cognate). Some species turn color, like gulf muhly (Muhlenbergia capillaris) which turns a bright pink. Some grasses turn a deep brass color, such as little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium). If you’re a proud Texan, include a bit of sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula), our state grass.

Once you have your selections, arrange them and trim them to be varying lengths. Grasses look best in a narrow-mouthed vase to keep them from flopping over. A vintage-style soda glass, jug or even a mason jar with a medium to fill the bottom work well and wouldn’t require you to purchase anything new.

The best part of a dried grass arrangement is that you won’t need to keep it in water. The grasses are typically already yellow — simply clip them, arrange them and leave them be. Nor are you stuck with the guilt of throwing away seasonal décor simply because you’re bored of it.

When the weather warms and you want to put out roses for Valentine’s Day, you can toss the grasses into the compost pile or simply spread the seeds around your yard to grow your own native grasses!

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