Grasses Having a Moment

Grasses Having a Moment

I’ve been lying. Many a time, I have said, “pppffffftttttt, flowers, they don’t do much for me. I like leaves!” And what am I doing now? Screeching to a stop to go photograph and pet the blooms on the grasses. Nothing makes me lament my shady lot quite as much as seeing glorious grasses in full bloom, dancing around in the sun. At least I get vicarious pleasure from Patricia’s garden often and see how amazing and happy grasses can be. It’s hard to imagine that her front yard was a blank slate in April. The grasses, from Scott Weber’s garden, I believe, make such an impact. The bloom, like a cat-tail with a crew cut, belongs to Pennisetum macrourum . Exuberant is the word that comes to mind. Schizachyrium scoparium ‘The Blues’, aka Little Bluestem, another plant out of Scott’s Rhone Street Gardens, is blooming its little head off. I can’t even… With the color echo of the Ricinus ‘New Zealand Purple,’ aka Purple Castor Bean. It’s just killing me. Speaking of color echoes, the buff Allium seed heads show off nicely in front of a stand of Calamagrostis, aka Feather Reed Grass. Allium and what I think may be Stipa gigantea, aka Giant Feather Grass also make a nice pair. Calamagrostis, aka Feather Reed Grass is such a cooperative plant on a narrow path, politely squeezing itself into a tight column. And Calamagrostis again (I think) with fuzzier flowers. I think Cortaderia, aka Pampas Grass gets a bad rap because people underestimate its footprint, and it’s tough to remove that huge clump of sharp leaves if you...
Ushering Out Summer with a Mesmerizing Mystery Grass

Ushering Out Summer with a Mesmerizing Mystery Grass

Like it or not, the calendar, indifferent to our preferences, announces the final day of summer today. Me, I love this time of year. The heat loosens its grip on our days, and my favorite plants are peaking. Grasses are blooming, the big leaves are at their biggest. The angle of the sun makes everything look magical and golden. It gets me in the mood for plant hunting, and I’ve got it bad for this mystery grass. I’ve got to get this into my garden. UPDATE: Okay this is funny. It turns out this is Stipa barbata. The Annie’s Annuals description describes this plant similarly, so if I had just searched plant lust for “Mesmerizing Grass,” it would have led me to its identity. How random. But the photos we had were from the stage where the flower looks more like mexican feather grass, before it gets all puffed up and wispy. It’s just so…wispy and ghostly. Look how well it mingles. I can hardly stand it. The ethereal blooms remind me of traces of sparklers waved in the dark. Does this happen to you? Are you suddenly gripped with a plant obsession you cannot ignore? My fall plant hunting is officially kicking into high gear. Any ideas, plant fanatics? Featured...