Monday, October 19, 2009

Purple Haze

The last few days have been a case of "Be careful what you wish for..." here in My Florida Backyard. Last week, the temperatures were far above normal, with highs in the 90s every day. This weekend, the first real cold front of the season pushed through - and I mean cold! (Florida cold, anyway.) The stiff north wind made it feel more like January than October, with the high on Sunday reaching only 66 - a new record. The low last night was 48, breaking a record that has been around since 1927.

While we were shivering, we found time to enjoy one of the best displays nature has to offer in October in Florida - the "purpling" of the Muhly Grass.

Muhly Grass is one of our favorite Florida native plants. Similar to more-readily-available fountain grasses, it's an ornamental grass that grows to about 3 feet by 3 feet. Most of the year, the fronds are deep green, but in October the purple plumes rise above the body of the grass. By late in the year, the feathery purple fronds fade to a soft light brown as the seeds ripen and are released. Until then, the bright color is a lovely addition to the gardens.

Perhaps Alice Walker says it best:

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.”

Don't worry, Ms. Walker - we certainly notice it here in My Florida Backyard!

P.S. A cool fact - in areas like Charleston, SC, Muhly Grass is called sweetgrass, and has been used for centuries to weave baskets. When we visited a few years ago, we saw women sitting outside the famous St. Michael's Church selling these baskets to passers-by.

1 comment:

  1. I love that Alice Walker quote. Always makes me smile :)