We envision a reslient world dependent on the thoughtful cultivation of plants
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Pacific Plant People

Member Profile

John Greenlee

Known as the “Grassman” in horticultural circles, John Greenlee is an internationally known horticulturist and landscape designer specializing in the cultivation and study of grasses and grass-like plants. He is the author of The Encyclopedia of Ornamental Grasses (Rodale, 1992) and The American Meadow Garden (Timber Press, 2009). As an expert in grass ecology and champion of sustainable design, John Greenlee has created meadows not only in the United States, but throughout the world. Some of his most notable gardens include the Getty Museum and the Norton Simon Museum in Los Angeles, the savannas at Walt Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida, and, most recently, at De Tuinen van Appeltern in the Netherlands.
Favorite Plants Of

Pacific Plant People

Bouteloa repens – Slender grama_John Greenlee_Credit John Brush iNaturalist

Slender grama (Bouteloua repens)

Poa Cita Credit herbariumlover224 iNaturalist

Silver Tussock (Poa cita)

Zoysia Stadium_Credit West Coast Turf

Zoysia ‘Stadium’

Slender grama (Bouteloua repens)
Sustainable Gardening

Plant Family

Poaceae

Genus

Bouteloua

Species

Slender grama (Bouteloua repens)
Its native range extends from the southwestern United States through the Caribbean islands, Mexico, and Central America to Colombia and Venezuela. John has collected Bouteloua repens about 50-miles from downtown Los Angeles on the edge of the Mojave Desert at an elevation of 8,500 feet near Big Bear Lake.

Water Use

Low-Water Use

Conditions When It Thrives

Open, usually hilly terrain on many soil types, from sandy ocean shores to montane slopes, reaching elevations of 2500 m

Ecosystem Services

Native To

Southwestern United States

Geographic Range

Caribbean islands, Mexico, and Central America to Colombia and Venezuela

Availability

Height & Habit

Perhaps eight inches high in flower, Greenlee recommends this as an airy accent to a succulent planting.

Special Features

Did You Know Icon
Reported to be resistant to cattle-grazing

Why They Love It

Greenlee says this grama grass has the most vivid green foliage he’s encountered as well as standout raspberry pink florets that dry on the plant.

Seasonal Appearance/Dormancy

Open, loosely upright habit, slender leaves that are deciduous in winter.

Advice

Silver Tussock (Poa cita)
Drought & Fire Resilience

Plant Family

Poaceae

Genus

Poa

Species

Silver Tussock (Poa cita)
This Grass Has No Bad Hair Days. Poa cita, commonly known as the silver tussock, or wī, which is also the Māori name, is a grass of the family Poaceae that is native to New Zealand.

Water Use

Low Water, Drought Tolerant

Conditions When It Thrives

Prefers dry climate and can tolerate a range of soils, but prefers some irrigation, especially in summer.

Ecosystem Services

Native To

New Zealand

Geographic Range

Availability

Height & Habit

About 2.5’ in each direction, this is a politely clumping grass.

Special Features

Evergreen
Did You Know Icon

Why They Love It

This wispy evergreen grass offers the same year-round texture as Mexican Feather Grass but doesn’t self-seed. Can be used as a stand-alone accent or en mass as a groundcover.

Seasonal Appearance/Dormancy

Poa Cita’s upright, arching foliage emerges yellow-green to be joined by graceful bronze inflorescences in late summer

Advice

Zoysia ‘Stadium’
Drought & Fire Resilience

Plant Family

Poaceae

Genus

Zoysia

Species

Zoysia ‘Stadium’
California’s Lawn of the Future. It needs less mowing and fertilizer than many other turf options. Greenlee is using it as a pathway in his meadows and says you can boost its environmental value by interplanting it with pollinator-friendly bulbs.

Water Use

Low Water, Drought-loving

Conditions When It Thrives

In the wild, species of zoysia naturalize in volcanic or low pH soils, and even salt beds.

Ecosystem Services

Drought-loving once established, and its deep roots are great stabilizers.

Native To

‘Stadium’ is a cultivar. Zoysia species are native to China, Japan, and other parts of Southeast Asia.

Geographic Range

Zoysia grasses grow well across the southern U.S.

Availability

Height & Habit

Special Features

Did You Know Icon
Zoysia grasses have salt glands on their blades that extract salt from the soil forming crystals. Breeder Bladerunner Farms recommends removing clippings from salt-sensitive sites.

Why They Love It

For sportsfields, or people with kids, this new cultivar of Zoysiagrass is slow growing and drought-loving once established, so well-suited for sustainable properties looking for a lower-input lawn. It needs less mowing and fertilizer than many other turf options. Greenlee is using it as a pathway in his meadows and says you can boost its environmental value by interplanting it with pollinator-friendly bulbs.

Seasonal Appearance/Dormancy

Fine-textured deep glossy green, dense growth holds color until late fall and greens up early in spring.

Advice

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