August 15, 2008 at 5:42 am (1)
Panicum ‘Huron Solstice’ is a new variety of switch grass for 2008. The blue green foliage begins turning a deep burgundy wine color in early summer, and by fall is almost totally burgundy, providing a stunning accent with its blazing fall color. Dainty, airy, purplish inflorescences appear atop the foliage in late August. Height is approximately 4′.
August 15, 2008 at 5:38 am (1)
Eragrostis spectabilis is a fall blooming grass that makes my heart sing when it bursts forth with light airy, pinkish-purple panicles in mid August here in the Northwest. Planted among pink Echinacea, the blooms become a bouquet in the garden. When side or back lit by the sun, the inflorscences positively glow. Now add a gentle breeze, and an element of movement makes the scene come alive. Eragrostis spectabilis reaches 2′ in height and width.
August 11, 2008 at 4:21 am (1)
Warm season grasses are preparing for a magnificent stravaganza as mid August approaches. Among the most common families of warm season grasses are Panicum, Molinia, Miscanthus, and Pennisetum. These are the grasses that like temperatures above 75 degrees. Bloom time begins in mid August and continues through September. Since they bloom so late in the season, the seedheads remain in tact through the winter in most climates. I recommend not cutting these grasses down until late February or early March, as they bring so much enjoyment through the drearier months. After a frost, the foliage turns tan, but remains upright and adds a much needed structural element to the garden. Additionally, the foliage rustles quite dramatically in the winter winds, lending both movement and sound. The seeds provide food and cover for the birds as well.
Ornamental grasses compliment perennials in magical ways. In designing gardens, its wise to choose grasses and perennials that bloom at the same time for maximum impact. Here we have a Pennisetum (Fountain Grass) ‘Red Bunny Tails’ which blooms from late May through the summer. As the inflorescences emerge, they are distinctively burgundy, gradually changing to a tan color. They will remain upright most of the winter, depending on your climate. Even the slightest breeze sets them dancing and adding movement to the garden. By contrast, the Echinacea is stationary and acts as the grounding element. For this particular combo, the grass reaches 3′ high in bloom, while the coneflower is slightly taller, giving the grass a ‘filler effect’ like baby’s breath in a bouquet.
August 5, 2008 at 5:53 pm (Ornamental grass companion perennials)