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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.

Pennisetum macrourum from scott weber 2

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.

Pennisetum macrourum from scott weber

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…

Schizachyrium scoparium ‘The Blues’

With the color echo of the Ricinus ‘New Zealand Purple,’ aka Purple Castor Bean. It’s just killing me.

Schizachyrium scoparium ‘The Blues’.jpg 2

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.

allium and stipa

Calamagrostis, aka Feather Reed Grass is such a cooperative plant on a narrow path, politely squeezing itself into a tight column.

Calamagrostis earlier

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 need to, but wow. I can’t help but love it. There’s no denying it makes an impact.


I just love Hakonechloa, aka Forest Grass, and the good news is, it’ll grow in the dappled shade I have to offer it. The bad news is, the darn dog thinks it’s delicious. So I admire from a distance. I hope you get to admire it up close in your gardens.

hakonechloa 2

hakonechloa 3


The wavy crimped tassels of Miscanthus, aka Tassel Grass are completely irresistible for a tactile garden appreciator. They beg to shake and shimmy like a flapper dress.


And then there are the foxy little tails Pennisetum, aka Fountain Grass. Must pet.

pennisetum blooms


I enjoy the wild meadow style smattering of Rudbeckia, aka Black Eyed Susan in the mass Pennisetum, aka Fountain Grass planting in the median. Interesting planting triumphs over metropolitan planters’ tendency to plant neat rows of color spots. Victory to the unconventional gardener behind this!

pennisetum with rudbeckia

The fireworks of what I’m guessing to be Stipa gigantea, aka Giant Feather Grass aren’t quite so pet-able, but they’re no less fun to watch. (Corrections welcome if I’ve got a plant ID wrong.)

Stipa gigantea

Stipa (maybe) again, pairs nicely with Verbena bonariensis, aka Verbena on a Stick.

stipa gigantea and verbena bonarensis

Sometimes when a plant becomes more common, I get bored with it, but Stipa tenuissima, aka Nassella tenuissima, aka Mexican Feather Grass has never lost its appeal. So light and silky and always waving in the breeze. Yes, they seed around a bit, and I say, welcome.

Stipa tenuissima

Must the grasses have flowers to get any notice? Nay, says Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’, aka Japanese Blood Grass.

japanese blood grass

And if you thought last week’s featured plant, Stipa barbata, aka Silver Feather Grass was cool, you should check out Floradora’s post about the incredible twisty stems it leaves behind and how they plant themselves. Fascinating.

Stipa barbata

Happy gardening in this golden month.

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