Yellow-Eyed Grass; or
California Golden Blue-Eyed Grass;
or, Yellow-Eyed Pigroot
"We travelled on
By woods, & fields of yellow flowers,
And towns, & villages, & towers,
Day after day of happy hours."
-Percy Bysshe Shelley
Yellow-Eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium californicum formerly Hydastylus brachypus & Sisyrinchium boreale), aka Golden Blueeyed Grass, is a primitive iris we have planted in full sun.
It grows eight inches to a foot high, looks like a clump of turf, & thrives in meadow or prairie conditions with dry summers & damp springs.
The endearing little yellow blooms are short-lived, but each stem produces many buds serially, so that the bloom period is lengthy in spring & summer, strongest in May & June.
It grows wild from the northern California coast to British Columbia. It is sometimes sold as a bog plant because it can do very nicely in wet conditions, but might suffer in bog conditions if not provided with a medium-dry period at high summer when it becomes semi-dormant.
If it is happy, it will be evergreen through winter, but will die back during cold winters or any conditions less to its liking. If it does become shoddy looking in autumn or winter, it will appreciate being sheered short, so that it can start over in spring.
Generally it easily naturalizes in a sunny part of the garden, but can be a little unpredictable & in some cases weakens year by year. Ours was in a very droughty xeriscape garden where it bloomed well for a couple of years but slowly waned, so that we moved it to a spot where periodic watering was more feasible, & in this new location is gets denser & thicker each year, needing to be divided about every third year.
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