This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
W. B. LeV., Philadelphia, writes: " The enclosed sample of grass was grown from seed sold me for " Kentucky Blue Grass," and as it makes a beautiful lawn and displaces the " Fall Grass," I am anxious to have its proper name. Will you oblige me by giving me the same ? Being in want of more seed this Spring, I called at several seed establishments, but they did not seem to know what it was. On consulting The Gardener's Monthly, I found in March, 1876, an article on " Rhode Island Bent Grass." I then called on the seed stores again. but they discouraged me from buying the latter as it would not suit our climate, and that it would not make a good lawn. One firm said it was nothing but common Herd grass. I found none in this market •, so 1 sent to W. E. Barret & Co., Providence, R. I.; and the result is at present writing, my lawn looks if it will exceed any in W. P. With thanks for your article on R. I. Bent." [The little piece sent appears to be Poatrivialis, and not either Blue Grass or Rhode Island Bent Grass and which we have seen occasionally, lately, in lawns about Philadelphia, and promising very well.
But it is known that the Kentucky Blue Grass makes an admirable lawn grass for Philadelphia and vicinity, and nothing better is to be wished for; it, as well as the Rhode Island Bent, will crowd out every weedy thing in time. Rhode Island Bent is Herd grass, or Red-top of some stores; but by no means the"common"
F. Frankford, Phila., writes: " I am interested in the note which you made to your other Philadelphia correspondent about the Lawn Grass. I have what I thought a Blue Grass lawn, but have noticed two shades of color in patches, and some of the lighter (and finer leaved, ) patch getting near a shrub bush, I allowed some to make stalks, one of which I send you. It looks very much like the Blue Grass stalks, but it seems to do better in the cool and shade than the darker. Are there two kinds of Blue Grass?"
[It is realty very hard to decide on kinds by these common names. Botanical names are generally given by botanists, whose names all the rest agrees to stand by, and thus there is a certain degree of uniformity; but nobody knows who gave common names, nor how many are at naming the plants, and hence nobody can tell what is the plant meant by any common name. The grass sent is really Poa trivialis, or, as it is given in botanical works, the " Rough Stalked Meadow Grass, " though like what is known as " Kentucky Blue Grass, " which is Poa pratensis, and not P. campestris, as a slip of the pen made us say in our late note, it is very distinct in some respects. It seems more common than we supposed in Pennsylvania, and as the lightness of the color is referred to in distinction, it opens up an old question whether what was originally known in Pennsylvania as Green Grass, may not really have been Poa trivialis, and that it was not the same as Poa pratensis, the Kentucky Blue Grass, as of late years has generally been believed. Not having the means to decide this question, we merely put the suggestion forward. If anyone can send us specimens of what the old people knew as " Pennsylvania Green Grass, " we should be very much obliged.
It is also an important question how far the Poa trivialis is really adapted to make good lawns. When we get that Botanic Garden, which the newspapers tell us the Commissioners of Fairmount Park are about to inaugurate, patches of all these grasses together will afford valuable popular instruction. - Ed. G.M].
Herd grass. Dr. Channing, in the article referred to by our correspondent, pointed out the difference. A small patch of the plants from seed sent by Dr. Channing, corroborates all Dr. C. says of the value of the Rhode Island variety as it may as well be called for a popular distinction sake. From the growth of this in our flower border, we see no reason why it may not make an excellent lawn grass here, as well as in Rhode Island. The only remark we can make on this matter seems to be that Poa cam-pestris, the Kentucky Blue, or Pennsylvania Green grass, seems quite good enough for all our purposes. - Ed. G. M].