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Torpedo Grass

They call it torpedo grass. I thought that was due to its destructiveness. But as I spent three days yanking it up by the roots from where it had invaded the bed, I realized the name is more likely because it spreads like a torpedo. The tentacles shoot out deep underground and burrow through the dark for an incredible length. Then it surfaces. It can run under stepping stones, white as bone, only to emerge alive and green on the other side. It is a tough plant.

You can see the de-weeding job isn’t altogether finished, but it’s a huge bed.

After the weeding, I planted 3 milkweeds. Monarchs have already been spotted in the area. The milkweeds will add to a butterfly-friendly mix of plants I’m trying to establish in the bed. I then laid out 6 bags of mulch.

This antique gate is from New Orleans. I stuck it in the ground with sheer ingenuity and hard work.

Last, I fed Bigmama’s rose bush. This is the bush that I grew from the cutting my uncle gave me from the bush my dad had given my grandmother for Mother’s Day. I planted it in Memphis where it flourished tremendously. Then I cut it back and transplanted it in Waveland (Jackson to Memphis to Waveland—it is an amazingly well-traveled rose). It blooms on—wait for it—Mother’s Day. It’s about to pop out all over.

The famous Bigmama rose bush

This outing, I also planted Mexican Tuberose bulbs. If they come up, they’ll smell divine late summer. And, ya’ll—the geraniums lived all winter long. Outside in pots. It was a mild winter on the Gulf Coast.

The Louisiana Iris I substituted for my beloved bearded iris bloomed earlier this spring with profusion. The nursery I’ve come to rely on for advice and plants is nurturing a giant papyrus for me, which will go with the horsetail and umbrella palm. I’m learning to grow what this land likes. The drift roses are going strong.

Drift roses, which I truly love and which appear to love Waveland too

Oh, and here is a bit of the 100 daffodils bulbs I planted this fall. I love bulbs and being in the dirt. I don’t even mind yanking up the torpedo grass. Though I wouldn’t invite it to return.

A wonderful daffodil from the 100 bulbs I planted to get a drift of them started

gardening on the gulf coast, torpedo grass

Comments (7)

  • Is your white rose bush big enough to make a cutting? I’d love to have some white roses – is it a climber? Good for you for planting milkweed! My neighbor quit smoking and has turned to planting – specifically milkweed. He’s gone from addiction to cigs to addiction to Monarchs!! Fascinating process! He puts the leaves with little eggs in gallon jars covered with cheesecloth on his porch – he says wasps like to eat them or something like that – anyway, it takes about four days for the eggs to hatch. The caterpillar just eats the milkweed that he drops in the jar, and grows. When the caterpillar is fully grown, in about a couple weeks, my neighbor somehow helps it attach itself to a piece of silk thread hanging from underneath those jars and the process of metamorphosis begins – the crysalis is formed around the caterpillar! (remember from elementary school) You can see the activity inside the crysalis – the tissue is so thin. After about 10 days or so they break free into a Monarch butterfly! Yesterday I saw one break out and flutter to the porch floor. It hung around a while, then I suppose it fluttered away. You’ll have to come visit him next time up this way…

    • The bush is big enough for a cutting, and it is definitely a climber, but it’s actually a blush pink—I am no good at this flower photography thing. LMK if you’re still interested, and we’ll make it happen. We started supporting the butterflies with the Passion Flower vine last year. It “birthed” lots of orange butterflies that hung around the yard, and I was quite taken with it—I felt like the butterflies were my babies. I don’t think I’ll be able to get into the Monarch nurturing, given our schedule, but I will make sure that we monitor the wasps around the house—good to know.I have a friend on FB who does what you’re describing and posts pics. It is simply fascinating.

  • Your energy and commitment are rather overwhelming. I note the weeds out of the corner of my eye and decide they’re “ground cover.”

    Emma—If you would come to Memphis (begging, not inviting, at this point!) you can have cuttings from about 8 different white or cream roses. My yard right now ( I have over 30 rose bushes, climbing and otherwise, many of which—David Austin English—look like peonies the petals are so large and packed.
    Two large bedrooms and two baths upstairs. Clippers by the back door.

    • Oh, no. I’m sure you’re seeing still more torpedo grass. As the post says, this is a work in process. Unfortunately, I just read an article that says torpedo grass shoots are like the limbs of mutant monsters—any little bit left in the ground will re-root to form new shoots. So when I return to the coast, the bed might be a morass of waving, very alive, monster grass. ps Emma, Suzanne’s roses are DIVINE!

  • SUZANNE……I’d love to have a baby from your gorgeous roses ….. some day soon!!! Probably one cutting will do – something that will grow on our white picket fence in front. R has taken over the back yard for his crops. His ministry to the world. Squash, beans, okra, grapefruit, lemon, satsuma, olive, tomato, tomatillo, and much more. No room for a rose back there. I’m afraid he would think it was a weed!

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