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Colorado State Grass Unacceptable For Garden!

I really don't want to become the stifle-a-yawn Lawn blog. But I got an e-mail from Luanne Stehno and you've got to hear this story.

She lives in the Denver burb, Arvada. She wins the city's 2004 This Old Yard essay contest which asked contestants to describe why it was smart to conserve water in the landscape. What she wins is a new garden, designed by the supremely credentialed landscape architect Ken Ball, who's been associated with Denver Water (the folks that coined the term "xeriscape") for who knows how long.

The garden is a great success: lovely plants, green lawn, very little water. So great, it's considered a prototype for what can be done by the average water-wise homeowner. And one of the stars of the show is Colorado's venerable state grass, Bouteloua gracilis, commonly known far and wide as blue grama grass.

Here's Luanne Stehno's lush, three year old landscape featuring flowering perennials and a flowing, blue gama grass lawn. The photo was taken this past June. photo credit: Luanne Stehno hide caption

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photo credit: Luanne Stehno

Last month, a neighbor of Ms. Stehno's called the City of Arvada to complain that the blue grama grass looked tall and weedy. Guess what happened? No, no one took the neighbor aside to explain that this was a demonstration garden, a view into the future, and would she like to learn more about xeriscaping?

Not even close.

Instead, Luanne Stehno was asked to cut her blue grama grass down to city-ordained size.

Well, the story's just rolling along like endless fields of Kentucky bluegrass. Neither Luanne or Ken Ball are going to go quietly. I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, for more background, here's the Denver CBS affiliate's story, and here's an item from the Rocky Mountain News.