Saturday, March 13, 2010

Glorious Grasses

Panicum 'Northwind' is named after a grass found at the Northwind Perennial Farm in Burlington, Wisconsin.  I have been to this business many times and it is a delightful place, filled with perennials, antiques, roosters and of course Panicum 'Northwind.'  The reason I highly recommend this grass is it does not flop even if left standing for the winter.  It is greenish-blue in color and tan in the fall and winter.  I have it in several places around my home.  It finally gives up the ghost about now when it is ready to be cut down.

Miscanthus 'Udine' is difficult to find but is different than other miscanthus in that it is not as spreading, does not flop easily and throws out a pink tinged flower starting much farther down on the stalk than other miscanthus.  I did not cut it down this year in the fall, and actually it looked pretty good all winter.  I think the heavy snow held it up because it certainly needs to be cut down now.

Pennisetum 'Hameln' lines my path as it goes from the front to the backyard.  There are only about five plants, and the first year I wasn't sure this was the right plant for this area.  I had tried Nepeta 'Walkers Low' in the area at first but it was covered with bees, needed consistent cutting back over the walk and just never looked right in this narrow area.  I looked at Hamlin today, never cut down in the fall, and it still looks good with daffodils poking up through it.  It is small and graceful and fluffy looking.

Carex 'Ice Fountains' is on the north side of my house bordered by my home and a cedar fence.  I have these small connectable iron fences that I purchased several years ago placed in front of Ice Fountains all along the planting from front to back..  I just leave them in place all year and when the grass grows and arches slightly the fences are obscured and the grass stays in bounds on this very narrow pathway.  It is not always easy to find a small grass that will grow in the shade and look great all season.  This one fills the bill, but I have found it is important to cut this one down in the fall or you have lots of flat mush in the spring.