OH Briza maxima is known by many names, including big quaking grass, great quaking grass, greater quaking-grass, blowfly grass, rattlesnake grass, shelly grass, rattle grass, and shell grass. This line was given to me in a beautiful birthday bouquet grown and created by a dear friend, Bridget Scully, of Nurture Earth. Being a dried grass seed, the seeds were ready to be saved straight out of the bouquet! It is an annual grass native to southern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. Introduced to New Zealand in 1867 as an ornamental species that also has value as a pasture plant. The grass is striking with tear-shaped pale green to cream coloured flowers that have a distinct overlapping pattern. Used in both dry and fresh bouquets as well as in cottage garden flower beds as they provide interest and movement in any display. Briza comes from the Greek word brizo ‘to nod’ referring to the nodding motion of the flowers. They can grow to 45 cm high. An annual, which self-sows readily and can multiply through their rhizomes.
Direct sowing is said to provide the strongest plants, in which case scatter sow after last frost date in a fertile garden bed. We prefer to sow into a tray in mid spring. Prick out to 4cm diagonal spacing when true leaves appear. Transplant into a garden bed at 30cm diagonal spacing or as you see fit for your garden design.