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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Few Grasses in My Garden on a Wet, Gray Day

Fall is for grasses! I went out in the dampness to see if I could find an interesting plant to focus on for Wildflower Wednesday. There is very little flowering, and it was really hard to find a stand-out plant in the gray morning light. But many of my grasses are named varieties of native grasses, and their whip-like leaves and seedheads that catch the rain did make them stand out.

So, I thought I would focus on my grasses for Wildflower Wednesday. Not all of them are North American natives, but many are.

Native Chasmanthium latifolium/Northern Sea Oats

There are three good-size clumps right at the front of the bed that runs along the south side of my garden, as well as loads of others scattered throughout.

Another native grass, Panicum 'Blood Brothers' in the same bed

The seedheads catch the raindrops, which makes them look like they are dripping with jewels.

'Blood Brothers' has the reddest leaves and stems of any grass I've seen.

Stipa gigantea in the gravel garden on the other side of the driveway droops over a small pot with an Aloe.

Bamboo, technically a grass, but definitely not a North American native, also leans over the same area

Lots and lots of clumps of black mondo grass dotted throughout the edges of the gravel garden

Black mondo grass is an ideal companion for just about anything. Here it is with ornamental oregano

New offsets popping up amidst the hens and chicks

With the very wet lamb's ear, which has rather taken over the gravel garden in spots. I'm not happy with its wet cat look and its aggressive spreading, and I've started removing it.

The sharp bright orange blades of Libertia peregrinans makes a nice corona behind a blue Mexican-style sun face, mixed with more Northern sea oats.

I have three clumps of Sesleria autumnalis/Autumn Moor Grass, a European native

It's got great brown seedheads that arch over other plants in the bed.

Technically not really a grass, Carex elata 'Bowles Golden' works well as a companion to Heuchera

The eyebrow-like seedheads of  Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition,' a named variety of a native Western grass, hang over the lawn

The orange blades of Carex testacea work well with reblooming Spanish lavender. Many sedges are native.

Nasella tenuissimia/Mexican feather grass, a native of southwestern North America with companion plant Agastache

Aren't ornamental grasses great? On this gray rainy day, they make a statement that is so very autumnal.

Check out Wildflower Wednesday on Gail Eichelberger's blog clay and limestone, and see what plants she and other bloggers are writing about today.


  1. Grasses are great and an excellent subject for Wildflower Wednesday in the fall. You have a nice variety of them in your garden. I might go with grasses next month for WW too.

  2. I do love grasses and the Panicum is a beauty...I wonder when it might be available in Middle Tennessee! Sedges are fantastic, but there seem to be more non-native than natives available in the trade~Luckily I have a favorite local native plant nursery. Happy WW to you Alison. xogail

  3. Love the Northern Sea Oats especially! You are so right about mondo grass - it's a good companion plant! Alison, what do you do with your potted aloe in winter? I left mine outside in a sheltered place last winter; it survived. Do you take your plant indoors?

  4. I love your rainy day grasses, Alison! Showing them with their companions helps give us ideas of placement, so very important when they might droop when wet. (Or dry).

  5. Indeed they are great. I just got a 'Blonde Ambition.' I'm not sure where I'll plant it yet. I love Northern Sea Oats. I just picked all my inflorescences and brought them indoors. They're so cool. Major kudos my friend for the photo of the blue sun composition. It's absolutely magical, down to the color echo of the blue in the background. The echo of the spikes in the sun and the grass spikes... everything about it is just really superb.

  6. Grasses and rain work very well together! Yours look very nice and I especially like the last picture with the Agastache! Very pretty!

  7. This is the floppy season, as plants bend from growth, seed heads, and rain and wind. It's good to find the beauty in all of it.

  8. Thanks to Scott over at Rhone St. and now you, I sure am interested in finding a suitable location for a Panicum or two.Must ponder this !

  9. So many lovelies! You remind me again that I need to acquire some Blood Brothers. Such delicious coloring!

  10. I love the seedheads of Chasmanthium but have lost it twice already so probably give up. I just got Panicum 'Ruby Ribbons' which is similar but a little more burgundy, it's great. Your blue sun is so cute peeking out of the grasses. The grasses look so great bejeweled with raindrops. I'm growing a few grasses from seed next year, Scott and others have been wearing me down. Fun post!

  11. This time of year grasses shiine in the garden even as their foliage fades in green to reds and browns.

  12. Beautiful grasses, Alison! I love that you have 'Blood Brothers', it's nice to see a comparison, since mine seem so pathetic, for some reason. I moved them to more sun this year, so hopefully they'll bulk up enough next year...they really are stunning plants, the best coloring on any Panicum I've seen...if only mine were a bit more vigorous!

  13. We have a lot of the same grasses, Alison, including the Seslaria. I hope you either cut the seedheads of the Chasmanthium before they drop, or I hope you love it a LOT, because it will be EVERYWHERE! I battle this, even though I swear I've cut all the seedheads off. I always miss a few, but they always find a spot to germinate far from the original clump. Last year, I was very late in cutting them and OMG...I've fought it all summer long, into fall, and now it's time to cut them off again. I love how they look, waving in the breeze, but I don't like how invasively they self-seed!

  14. What a beautiful garden


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