Hi everyone! You may recall that in our landscape design, the centre of our Micro-Forest was identified as a Native Grass Lawn using Microlaena Stipoides, also known as weeping grass.
The intention of the Native Grass Lawn is twofold – to create a comfortable gathering space, and also to showcase how Weeping Grass can be used for lawns in place of other exotic species of grass. It has the added benefit of attracting local birds, skinks and insect-life. It is also fire retardant. It’s a medium-length grass that lies along the ground as it gets longer, so it doesn’t grow high. It therefore doesn’t need to be mowed, although it can be mowed or whipper-snipped occasionally if desired. If not mowed, the grass itself can provide its own mulch that retains moisture in soil and prevents the soil from becoming compacted, hard, and water-resistant. We are aiming to plant it in late September / early October.
There has been recent community discussion about the best location for the Native Grass Lawn. The original intent was to have it in the centre of the Micro-Forest, which is currently covered with wood chips and mulch. Would you prefer to keep the mulched/wood chipped centre or to plan the Native Grass here? An alternative option is to have a similar sized garden bed developed between the Micro-Forest and Beaurepaire Cres, with logs and rocks around it for seating.
Both options have advantages and disadvantages, here are just a few – and we’d love to hear what you think! Let us know what you think via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Location 1: Micro-Forest Centre
– Consistent with the original landscape design
– Aligns with the theme of native plants in the Micro-Forest
– Native grass is well separated from the exotic grass surrounding the centre of the Micro-Forest
– Help to absorb any excess water sitting on the top of the ground
– Provides a lawn in the centre of the Micro-Forest where people can gather, have picnics, etc
– The lawn can expand from the centre of the Micro-Forest to the entry/exit paths
– Grass is a cooler option than wood chips in hot weather
– Is the grass more comfortable than wood chip style mulch? Personal preferences here.
– We will need to cover the mulch with soil and fence off part or all of the centre of the micro-forest whilst the grass establishes (at least few months)
– May be sensitive to heavy foot-traffic
– Is the wood chip style mulch more comfortable than the grass? Personal preferences here.
Note that wood chips and mulch will ultimately break down, so it will need to be regularly mulched to keep it weed free. Mulch is provided free by Transport Canberra and City Services (TCCS) but volunteers will need to spread it across the centre at working bees. If this is left unattended, it may be over-run with weeds and exotic grasses.
Location 2: Circle in North Eastern side of the park
– Creates an additional space to be enjoyed across the park
– We can fence it off whilst it establishes, without impeding access to centre of the Micro-Forest
– Provides a shady site complemented with the advantages of native grass outlined above in the event of hot weather
– Less of a centre-piece than in the centre of the Micro-Forest
– Area will need to be prepared as soon as possible (dig out existing exotic grasses/weeds, break up/aerate compacted soil if needed)
– Not so well separated from existing areas of exotic grasses as the centre (ACT lawnmowers can spread weeds and their seeds into the area as it establishes)
– May not attract as many visitors as it would in the centre of the micro-forest
So now it’s over to you! Please let us know which location you would prefer for our showcase Native Grass Lawn using Microlaena Stipoides. Please send feedback to email@example.com