Gotta Garden

Monday, September 10, 2007

Ornamental Grasses

Thanks to Shirl of Shirl's Gardenwatch for including me in the grass weekend. She and Layanee are leading the way. Okay, I know it's not still the weekend, but, hey, you do the best you can.

This was a good exercise for me because I have to admit, I take the grasses for granted. A few years back, I wasn't particularly excited by grasses, but, like a lot of things, they grew on me ( pun intended). I think the first one to catch my attention was a little blue one, Elijah Blue.

Festuca ovina var glauca 'Elijah Blue'

Cute, isn't it? I had always planned on having at least three (that odd number thing) but the rest refuse to hang around (I've tried twice), so this one is it. Besides, the catmint is moving in and that's okay with me. (More catmint, less weeds...yes?)

From there, I bought a couple of Miscanthus Morning Light.

Miscanthus sinensis 'Morning Light'

This one dances in the wind and has wonderful fall color (who knew grasses had fall color...I hadn't really paid attention until this one). It also reflects light in a most interesting way, something I notice in the fall more. You did notice I said I had purchased a couple? Well, one is barely hanging on after exceedingly rough treatment by the fence repairman. He thought it was, apparently, a good place to lay a section of the fence...for a week. That it survived at all is testament to its toughness, but it clearly has not forgotten nor forgiven its treatment. It's also in more shade.

I saw this cool (I thought) display of Japanese Blood Grass making a ribbon in the landscape. I thought that was neat idea...and since I never got around to buying more than one, thought I would just divide that one.

Japanese Blood Grass Imperata cynlindrica 'Rubra'

Not such a neat still hasn't gotten over that and so I have these teeny tiny patches (except for one)...maybe in ten years or so, I will see that ribbon.

I love the yellow of this grass.

Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' Golden Variegated Hakone Grass

Both of these came to me through a mail order purchase, one much larger than the other (same price, though). The smaller one continues to remain smaller. But, I like the way they light up the garden...or the way the larger one lights up its space.

These fun little guys I brought back from Seattle where I saw them in the famed Heronswood display garden. They were bright orange that October, such a startling color that I just had to have some.

Carex testacea Orange New Zealand Sedge

Hmmm. Maybe they're not too happy think?

Carex or Sedge (no edge, so much be a carex...thanks to H. the Horticulturist for the 'sedges have edges')? I will have to find the tag for this one. Tiny thing when I bought it, it is getting bigger and bigger. Like those stripes, though.

These guys were planted to solve a garden problem (grasses can be good for that). This areas slopes down and every time it rained, half the garden would slide down the slope. Very discouraging. In desperation, I bought two Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grasses

Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster'

(a neighbor down the street grew them and I thought they were striking). Small things, but look at them now! And, I might more erosion.

My favorite little grass, although it doesn't stay here too long (for reasons I'll reveal in a moment) is Stipa, Ponytail grass.

Stipa tenuissima 'Pony Tails'

It does feel like a ponytail, smooth and fun to touch. One of my cats, Sam, loves it. I had one planted in the backyard and he would lie back there for hours cradling (or wrestling) this grass. Very cute. The grass, however, took exception and gave it up. Poor Sam, no more grass to love. I found a couple this spring and thought I would plant them in a different area (and see how long it took Sam to find them)....well, like a lot of things this year, they're still waiting to be planted...and none too happy. I think they're still hanging on, but barely.

I like these, Black Mondo Grass, although, as I think I have written before, they are more difficult to place than you might think. It's hard to get the black to really show...

Unless I think of another one, that's it for now. This is a great example, for me, of how tastes change. So, never say never. (Disclaimer: I did this rather quickly....)


Blackswamp_Girl said...

Nice post, GG! The black mondo grass really is hard to place, isn't it? I keep hoping that mine will continue its march toward 'Jack Frost' brunnera so it shows up a bit more. I love yours next to that chartreuse... tiarella? heucheralla?

Does your carex testacea not turn orange at all anymore?

Gotta Garden said...

Hey BS_G! Thanks! Heucherella, it is...and if the carex turns orange (it's so little that there's not much to turn), it will do so later...more with the trees...probably Octoberish. They were tiny when I bought them (there's actually two there) and have stayed tiny...boohoo. They're several years old, but you'd never know it...they were actually orange when I bought them...late Oct of 05, I think.

Barbara said...

As I already mentioned in Shirl's blog, we have a lot of grasses we share, though we live in different parts of the world and in different zones. The black grass I just bought this year in Scotland and I hope to bring it through our cold Swiss winter! My post on ornamental grasses will be end of this week.

shirl said...

Hi there, Gotta Garden

Great post showing you are not just a Day Lily Lady! Great selection or grasses - my favourite was Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster' :-)

As for the black grass I have that one too – a big favourite with quite a few of us I see! I find the black grass grows well out of full sun. I also have it planted in quite dark pockets underneath shrubs and it looks great there too. Good luck with yours :-)

Pam/Digging said...

Your stipa looks just fine to me. We call it Mexican feathergrass here, and I have several in my garden. They tend to brown up in the heat of summer. In spring they turn bright green, stand tall, and bloom their little heads off. Your cat will love them again.

They also seed out readily in my garden, not as a nuisance, but I pull a number of seedlings every spring.

Layanee said...

I love that 'Karl Foerster' and will have to add several to the collection! Also love the stipa! Nicely done and thanks for joining in on the fun!

lisa said...

Nice selection of grasses!

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