Musings on Miscanthus

Musings on Miscanthus

I went thru a period wherein I never left a nursery without a grass or sedge in hand, usually several. I just couldn’t pass them up. I’d pop them in here and there in the garden, and loved watching them wave their wild arms in the breeze. I planted a couple Stipa tenuissima years ago, and those little critters, what performers. Some worry about their promiscuous inclinations, but they’re so easy to pull if you really feel inclined. And the new growth color, could anything be lovelier.

 

 

Miscanthus sinensis, a most reliable grass.

Miscanthus sinensis, a most reliable grass.

 

Still, I’ve been a little less inclined to buy grasses since we moved to Flamingo Park, though I did bring an old faithful from the Alameda Garden, Miscanthus sinensis. That plant has performed well for years on end—in spite of being moved and sheered and rearrange every which way—in the ground, divided, potted. It keeps looking great with just a little water and an occasional handful of compost. And we also inherited a huge Silver Grass on the new Hellstrip. That one is also destined to be divided and replanted in a longer stretch.

This week, I strolled back through Concordia University, and did a slower take, really concentrated on that space–with no distractions. I know it’s different that a home garden, this big campus setting, but I love their exuberant use of grasses and mass planting. It’s got me re-thinking how I might incorporate some of the ideas into my own garden.

 

Vanessa Gardner Nagel's sedge circle, Carex flacca.

Vanessa Gardner Nagel’s sedge circle, Carex flacca.

I’ve also been pondering where I could do a planting, like the fabulous crop circle in Vanessa Gardner-Nagel’s garden. Talk about swoon worthy. It’s akin to a mass planting of Carex at Floramagoria, which I also love, but Floramagoria’s is planted inside a concrete square. After seeing Vanessa’s dual Carex circles with gravel pathways, ah pitter-patter, that’s the arc I’m after.

So methinks I’m due to rekindle my love affair with grasses. Love their movement, love their texture, love their utterly cooperative attitude.

I hope to see you at the nursery soon. I’ll be the one with a rose in my teeth and Carex in each hand–at which point I’ll realize, I’m going to need a cart.

  • We had a stage of infatuation with grasses during the early stages of cultivating our plot. They’re architectural nature are undeniable and was used all the time in gardening shows.

    • It was quite a thing for a while, no? And I have to admit to fairly indiscriminate use. But I swear I’m going be more thoughtful in the future. I’m almost sure…

  • I know the topic is grasses but seeing how great those barberry look with them has me wondering if you kept yous, the ones you inherited? They look pretty great together. And of course you need a nice blue conifer too…

    • I did indeed keep the barberry, and I have a few blue conifer shrubs–like the ones at Concordia. I should figure out what they are.

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  • Liz

    28 years ago I planted 12 fountain grass plants and a couple of miscanthus.
    Today the neighbor’s nine acres are filled with fountain grass, as is my little field. How I regret starting those fountain grass plants in their orderly row along the house. (We live in the mid-Atlantic.)

    • Tee hee, Liz. Sometimes it just gets away from you. The mistakes I’ve made are legion…