Tour of the garden – 10/26/17

Ego boost of the week

After my daughter’s recent field hockey game, my parents returned to our house with us to watch the New York Giants football game. They live in Pennsylvania and don’t get the New York CBS feed. We fortunately get the CBS feed from both New York and Philadelphia.

Irrelevant info but I gave it to you any way.

As my mom got out of the car, it was approximately 4:21 PM EST. That is when the sun illuminates so many of my ornamental grasses.

Even she, non-grass aficionado, had to comment on the Indian Grass that greets you at the end of my driveway.

I won the day.


Panicum ‘Northwind’

Fun fact #1 – this native grass won Perennial Plant of the Year in 2014 by the Perennial Plant Association (PPA).

Fun fact #2 – the name “Northwind” is based on Northwind Perennial Farm, where its owner, Roy Diblik, discovered the grass after collecting its seed near a railroad track in Illinois in 1982.

Fun fact #3 – the fall color is friggin underrated.





More autumn grass love





This hydrangea sucks all year

‘Lady in Red’ hydrangea has been a disappointment ever since I added it to my garden back in 2007.

Virtually no blooms and the advertised darker foliage has yet to emerge.

This is it at what I’ll sarcastically call its “peak”.


The view

This is what I see when I immediately look right after walking out my front door.

Ninebark ‘Diablo’ basking in the autumn sun with a gold-soaked Panicum in the background.

I like it. A lot.


Amsonia, yet again

Another week, another Amsonia money shot. These were planted only two years ago and they’re already making an impact. This one is Amsonia hubrictii.


Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’, more of a groundcover, is just starting to strut its autumn hues.



But I like it.


I see dead flowers

I added Hypericum ‘Blue Velvet’ this spring because I love the blue foliage. The yellow flowers are OK but I look at it as a foliage plant.

Call me odd, but I really dig the dark brown seed heads that have recently emerged.


Speaking of dying plants

The slow death of the Mountain Mint is kind of … attractive in its own way. Very seasonally appropriate may be a more accurate description.



Grass reviews

This is Molinia ‘Cordoba’. The straw-colored panicles are way impressive even if the grass itself is kind of drab. I know I can improve upon its location in the garden and will be studying it all winter. Most likely I’ll look to hide the foliage behind taller plants so only the panicles are visible.


This is Pennisetum ‘Burgundy Bunny’. I’ve got 5 planted along a walkway and while the foliage color is fantastic, the blooms have been sporadic and they are taking some time to get established.

More wait and see for next year.


Don’t judge. I think this is Calamagrostis brachythricha which I know I ordered online a year or so ago but can’t account for its location. I have high hopes for this one based on its universal love from other grass enthusiasts.

If this is a different grass, this photo will be deleted and you shall never speak of it again.



5 thoughts on “Tour of the garden – 10/26/17

  1. Jane

    I love all these grasses! On your tours, can you please tell us which ones are native to the US/eastern US? And btw, I now have three Amsonias (tabernaemontana, hubrichtii, blue ice) in my garden because of your blog!

  2. kate

    I’m surprised that your Lady in Red hydrangea isn’t performing. I have one in part shade that is an absolute monster – maybe 6 feet tall and 8 feet wide after 6 years – and is covered in blooms most years. I do absolutely zero to help it along, and hack away the branches that threaten to overwhelm its neighbors Maybe they just like our cooler Boston climate more?

    One question about your gorgeous grasses – some of those clumps are getting sizeable now. Do you plan to dig up and divide, or just let them expand indefinitely? That is my major beef with using grasses in the landscape – they are beasts to dig up. So I’m curious how you handle this with your many grasses.

    1. jmarkowski Post author

      Hmm, I have no idea why mine is failing Kate, but I’ll continue to hold out hope!

      Oh lordy, to divide these grasses keeps me up at night. I’m terrified of taking on the task but have to do so next spring. It’s time and I’m not getting any younger.

  3. Bill Hodgeman

    Great headings! Made the blog all the more enjoyable! Can’t wait till my Panicums mature. Calamagrostis brachythricha is worth the wait. I have a more established one in my garden and its bloom is to die for. Starts in late July / early August, too, and hangs on through the fall! Thanks for turning me on to Santa Rosa Gardens. Just bought 9 Carex to line the front of a part shade border than runs down a hill towards some taller grasses. They were $3 each, and I had a coupon from my last order!

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