Sunday, December 28, 2008

Plume Day deux

Back to the plumes. Should never start a blog entry at dinner time. Most of the grasses are in the front and side yard. I have a few specimens of the Carex comans "Bronze" and it is a nice compact sedge. The plume or seed head is very small, almost didn't see it last year, but there were a few new sprouts nearby in the spring.

Pennisetum alopecuroides "Moudry" is front and center of the front yard garden. Unfortunately it reseeds prolifically so I am careful to get the 'babies' under control... sharing with friends.

As a couple accents I have two red Cordylines, not sure of the variety. I was surprised to see it come back after last winter. The rotten bunnies had eaten the foliage down to a nub in the winter, then a hard freeze in late February took out the rest of what was left. Spring brought new growth and a nice accent near my red Japanese maple.

Throughout the garden I have had the Stipa tenuissima "Pony Tails" reseed. They are easy enough to dig up and share, so I don't mind the scattering of these little grasses. They move so easily with the breeze and give nice movement to the garden.

The only Miscanthus that I have is Miscanthus sinensis "Dixieland" It is a 3'- 4' tall specimen. I am not entirely happy with the location of this grass. Think I may move it so it is more noticable. The foliage is a green and white variegation with a slender leaf. I love the plumes on Miscanthus...very graceful.

A true thug in the garden is Phragmites australis - Giant Reed grass or Common Reed grass. This guy came into our neighborhood with the flood waters of Hurricane Isabel. My neighbors and I are trying to eradicate this very invasive weed. It chokes out the natives shoreline grasses and keeps on coming. Pruning to the ground and applying Roundup directly to the fresh cut seems to be fairly effective.

Last but not least are two small 'grasses'. First is the common Liriope muscari, this is a nice anchor, border, filler and all around easy plant. You don't think about the flowers nor the berries during the growing season, then during the winter they really stand out.

The second is a carex that was planted late September and didn't bloom this year but I am really looking forward to having it bloom next year. I saw an example of this plant in Pam Harper's garden. It is truly striking. This variegated carex is Carex phyllocephala 'Sparkler'. Will be sure to take photos of it when we have the seed heads splaying out as a sparkler.

The Stipas and the Carexes do not need pruned back in the winter, though you can comb your fingers through the foliage and pull out the dead. The Pennisetums, Liriope, Miscanthus, Muhlenbergia and the Pampas Grass all get cut back before new growth starts in the spring. For now, they are all gracing the garden with their beauty.


  1. Don't get us started about the BUNNIES!
    "Bunny" is a four-letter word around here. Umm... you know what we mean.

  2. Glad that I found your blog!

    You are in Tidewater Virginia?


  3. Hi Cameron, yes, Tidewater Virginia. Welcome and Happy New Year!

  4. Hi Janet, hope it is okay to comment so late! Your grasses are excellent, and the sparkler is a cutie.

  5. Sure you can post whenever you like! glad you visited.


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