Tag Archives: panicum

Panicum virgatum ‘Cheyenne Sky’

In a continued series of looking back on new plants I introduced to my garden in 2013 (or technically late 2012), I wanted to share with you my brief but oh so wonderful experience with Panicum virgatum (Switch Grass) ‘Cheyenne Sky’.
I planted a six inch plug of this native grass in late October of last year in a location that ended up being the wettest area in my entire landscape. And that my friends is no exaggeration. It was the last available spot in the garden so I dumped her in and never looked back.
Cut to spring of this year and miraculously, the grass survived the winter and the brutally wet conditions. While the growth was minimal and barely visible, by the late summer, the color of the grass was off the charts:      

Pretty frickin awesome, eh?

As I am want to do, I moved the ‘Cheyenne Sky’ to a much more prominent location in the summer, banking on it putting on a damn good show for years to come.  

Now we wait to see how the OG actually grows and evolves.

From a quick browsing session on the Internet, this warm season grass looks like it has outstanding blue/green color from mid spring until summer and then gets that outstanding color, or some similar version of it, by July/August. Also, with a max size of about ‘3 x 2’, this one will be easily added to multiple new locations throughout the yard.  

Yet another Panicum that appears to be a must-have.


Some ornamental grass reviews

Let’s talk ornamental grasses today, shall we?

Good, glad you are game. Onward.

By far the most consistent ornamental grass for me in terms of size, shape, bloom and winter non toppling over-ness, Miscanthus ‘Gracillimus’ is again kicking some serious booty, even in July:

You are looking at the best part of Calamagrostis (Feather Reed Grass) ‘El Dorado’:

But upon closer inspection, not all that great:

I have a bunch of these located all over the property and really none of them are impressing. The best looking one is in half shade so maybe that is the answer. More to come.

I know they are everywhere and similar to ‘El Dorado’ in terms of being rather “blah” (snobby horticultural term in case you haven’t heard it before) but I still like looking at the blooms on my ‘Karl Foerster’ Feather Reed Grasses from my deck, especially when backlit by the sun in late afternoon: 

Another grass I’ve soured on of late is Pennisetum ‘Karley Rose’. The overall shape is weak and the bloom count has been small the past two years or so:

Maybe it is time to divide and that will improve things. Sounds like a nice Fall task to me. 
You’ve heard me discuss it numerous times in the past, but I’ll say it again – Panicum (Switch Grass) ‘Rotstrahlbusch’ really kicks ass. The one that I divided this Spring is already blooming:

And another division from two years ago keeps on keeping on:

Still loving Purple Fountain Grass in containers, especially now that the ladies are blooming: 

Aren’t you two beauties (AKA Miscanthus ‘Variegatus’) holding up wonderfully:

And finally, you are looking at my new favorite resting place, now adorned with two Blue Dune Lyme Grass in containers:

There are plenty other grasses to review but we will give those some time to develop a bit further this Summer.
Hope you enjoyed. 

Ornamental grasses take the spotlight

It is that time of year.

The time when the ornamental grasses take a giant leap forward, shake their ample booty and become THE focus in the garden.

Well, they do in my garden at least.

Here is just a sampling of these emerging superstars:

Panicum (Switch Grass) ‘Northwind’ when the blooms first appeared:


And now after said blooms transformed into a pinkish hue (love the blue/green blades as well):

Next, we have Panicum (Switch Grass) ‘Rotstrahlbusch’ (yes, I have memorized that spelling):

Miscanthus ‘Variegatus’ behind the same “Rots”:

Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’ not yet showing signs of bloom but still stunning in its own way:

Misanthus purpurascens (Flame Grass) with blooms just popping out in front of the giant Miscanthus ‘Gracillimus’:

Every night, I stare at these Calamagrostis (Feather Reed Grass) ‘Karl Foerster’ blooms from my deck as they are backlit by the sun. Good times:

And finally, Chasmanthium latifolium (Northern Sea Oats) are at their peak, as we speak:

More grass love to come in a future post as they continue to transform with the arrival of autumn.


Subtle changes in the garden

With two active young children, full time jobs and various trips to and fro while trying to enjoy the summer, we seem to spend most of our time getting into and out of our cars. Even though it always feels like we are in a rush to go somewhere, I make it a point to always sneak a peek at all of the plants in my driveway garden bed. 
This bed is planted with mostly ornamental grasses, native perennials and a few deciduous shrubs. Right now, it is my favorite part of my landscape (and this is of course, subject to change) as it has been the most challenging to put together, yet by far the most rewarding. This bed stays wet longer than any other since the rain is routed off of the driveway and pools here. Also, this is the area where the deer feel most comfortable setting up shop. There are no windows on this side of the house so I can’t scan for them and scare them away like a wild man.
What I enjoy most as I get into my car each morning and out of each evening, is noticing the subtle changes that are passing right before my eyes. I feel like I have superpower-like vision and can spot the most minute of changes. A rough day at work can become a distant memory just by noticing that the viburnum berries are changing from green to purple. 
Here is what I’ve observed of late in my driveway garden bed and while it may not jump out and grab you, it works fine for me:
Miscanthus ‘Variegatus’ is putting on major growth and it shines when back lit by the sun, but also stands out when the sun goes down with it’s light foliage. It is now starting to emerge from behind the taller perennials (Boltonia in the photo below):   

And behind the Viburnum ‘Emerald Lustre’:

A very young Panicum (Switch Grass) ‘Northwind’ is only about two feet tall, but a few blooms just snuck out this week:

The foliage on Itea (Virginia Sweetspire) ‘Henry’s Garnet’ has begun it’s autumn transformation as you can see on the underside of the leaves:

And even more so on the bottom of the shrub:

The “oats” on Chasmanthium Latifolium (Northern Sea Oats) are maturing to their brownish/tan shade:

The aforementioned Boltonia is just showing the first signs of bloom:

And last but not least, the Panicum ‘Rotstrahlbusch’ blooms are a sea of red and look fantastic en masse:

I am already looking forward to the next trip to my car!