Grass and lawn substitutes

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JTh

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Re: Grass and lawn substitutes
« Reply #30 on: November 23, 2011, 09:58:00 AM »
I believe Phyla filiformis is another synonym for P. nodiformis, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phyla_nodiflora. There are at least 12 different names for this plant.
Retired veterinary surgeon by training with a PhD in parasitology,  but worked as a virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS  since 2004. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.

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John J

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Re: Grass and lawn substitutes
« Reply #31 on: November 23, 2011, 04:55:01 PM »
I believe you are right, Jorun, personally I usually refer to this particular plant as Phyla nodiflora.
I have a book, ABC of Flower Gardening in Cyprus, written by Lady Murphy and published in 1962 (actually this is the 2nd edition, I believe the original was published in 1956 but I haven't been able to track down a copy). In it her ladyship states, under the heading Lawns, that she has "....found the best substitute for grass is a creeping plant called 'Lippia', which thrives all through the hot weather if watered during summer, and it spreads rapidly". I'm sure this must be what we now call Phyla under one of its synonyms/pseudonyms? Just goes to show that the attempt to find a grass substitute is nothing new.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

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Alisdair

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Re: Grass and lawn substitutes
« Reply #32 on: November 23, 2011, 05:51:17 PM »
Just to confirm what Jorun and John J have been saying, Phyla nodiflora is now the accepted name for the plant that everyone from Lady Murphy to David Bracey have called Lippia nodiflora.
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

David Bracey

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Re: Grass and lawn substitutes
« Reply #33 on: November 23, 2011, 09:37:23 PM »
Dear Alisdair, just to go with the flow and Lady Murphy I have referred to Phyla nodilfora twice on the Forum and twice, dare I say it, as Lippia.
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 I have gardened in sub-tropical Florida, maritime UK, continental Europe and the Mediterranean basin, France. Of the 4 I have found that the most difficult climate for gardening is the latter.

David Bracey

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Re: Grass and lawn substitutes
« Reply #34 on: January 06, 2012, 09:56:22 PM »
Olivier Filippi has just published a book in French entitled "Alternatives to gazon" which will shortly be reviewed in TMG.
MGS member.

 I have gardened in sub-tropical Florida, maritime UK, continental Europe and the Mediterranean basin, France. Of the 4 I have found that the most difficult climate for gardening is the latter.

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John

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Re: Grass and lawn substitutes
« Reply #35 on: January 11, 2012, 11:39:35 PM »
Re Phyla. Can you walk on it?
John
Horticulturist, photographer, author, garden designer and plant breeder; MGS member and RHS committee member. I garden at home in SW London and also at work in South London.

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John J

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Re: Grass and lawn substitutes
« Reply #36 on: January 12, 2012, 05:48:12 AM »
Yes.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

David Bracey

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Re: Grass and lawn substitutes
« Reply #37 on: January 12, 2012, 09:34:08 AM »
Yes but beware of the bees if near a pool or in bare feet. D
MGS member.

 I have gardened in sub-tropical Florida, maritime UK, continental Europe and the Mediterranean basin, France. Of the 4 I have found that the most difficult climate for gardening is the latter.

Re: Grass and lawn substitutes
« Reply #38 on: January 14, 2012, 07:24:03 PM »
Nodiflora Phyla / Lippia is an excellent cover for gardens with little watering in full sun or partial shade. In my area it was used as a ground cover plant in the past 50 years, according to gardeners old, being able to mow with a mower to make the plant look more dense and homogenous

Un saludo

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Alisdair

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Re: Grass and lawn substitutes
« Reply #39 on: January 14, 2012, 07:53:19 PM »
Welcome to the forum, Jordi from Catalunya!
Interesting to know that phyla has been used for such a long time as "lawn" in your area.
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

ezeiza

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Re: Grass and lawn substitutes
« Reply #40 on: January 16, 2012, 02:06:18 AM »
Being a native here and a very fine groundcovernasn everyone knows  I hesitate to say that I have always seen it consociated with other grasses in lawns. I have my doubts that it could stand being used as a heavy traffic lawn.

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gertrude

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Re: Grass and lawn substitutes
« Reply #41 on: February 21, 2012, 09:27:18 PM »
I would like to thank everyone for their helpful, interesting advice re having a 'permanent' green space in our garden.  It has all been taken on board and we'll let you know the outcome at the end of this year.  Again, many thanks.
Pete and Jan. Retired 15 years ago and moved to Le Marche, Italy for the peace and quiet of the countryside and more sunshine, where gardening became a challenge.  We now have a lovely garden with an eclectic selection of plants including many wild flowers of which we are found of..

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Alisdair

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Re: Grass and lawn substitutes
« Reply #42 on: February 22, 2012, 09:48:13 AM »
David mentioned Olivier Filippi's new book, Alternatives au gazon; this has now been reviewed very favourably in the Mediterranean Garden Society's January journal. People who aren't members can read a bit about it on Amazon's French site, and Olivier Filippi's own site has a detailed summary here.
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

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MikeHardman

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Re: Grass and lawn substitutes
« Reply #43 on: July 08, 2012, 02:49:21 PM »
Update on my Lippia nodiflora (given to me by Yiannos Orphanos)...

It has been planted on my steep bank for a few months now. It struggled at first, partly due to competition and lack of watering. But since I got on top of the weeding and got the irrigation to it, it started growing well - and now very well!

I planted it along the 'lip' of two parallel sub-horizontal paths (the paths also act to intercept storm runoff) on a steep bank of partly-consolidated dirt/soil. I planted it on the lip so my irrigation water would be more likely to stay where intended; that worked well. Now it is spreading both across the path (starting to go up the other side - good) and down the slope. It roots at each node, and quite quickly (unlike some other groundcovers). This is exactly what I want for stabilizing the steep slope against winter storms which otherwise cause gulleying, piecemeal erosion and potentially larger-scale slope failure. With it rooting so readily, I feel comfortable with the idea of gently top-dressing the plant with more soil to maintain the lip in future.

Now it is growing well, I am also pleased to see it even competing well with Aptenia cordifolia, the better-irrigated patches of which are rampant and lush now (the irrigation is primarily for shrubs through which the Aptenia is wandering). The Lippia extends fast enough that it can keep partly on top of the Aptenia.

These pictures show:
1. the excellent growth of both Lippia and Aptenia,
2. the same area, less close-up: showing the state of one of the paths where those plants have not yet reached - parched and distinctly ungardened
Mike
Geologist by Uni training, IT consultant, Referee for Viola for Botanical Society of the British Isles, commissioned author and photographer on Viola for RHS (Enc. of Perennials, The Garden, The Plantsman).
I garden near Polis, Cyprus, 100m alt., on marl, but have gardened mainly in S.England

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ritamax

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Re: Grass and lawn substitutes
« Reply #44 on: July 08, 2012, 08:26:01 PM »
About Cynodon dactylon. Very robust, takes foot traffic excellently. Does not survive with no irrigation at all, but regular, shallow irrigation is enough. Very low-maintenance. In winter gets brownish and does not take frost. Weeds start to grow fast amidst when the temperature goes down in the winter and in May or so, when the temperature gets to be well over 20 degrees it will suffocate the weeds (but it's good to do regular weeding in the winter). Needs a lot of sun and a very warm climate. Sides have to be pruned as the rhizomes run out (not very fast). Needs to be mown about every 2 weeks in summer.
Hobbygardener (MGS member) with a rooftop garden in Basel and a garden on heavy clay with sand 600m from seaside in Costa Blanca South (precipitation 300mm), learning to garden waterwise