Articles in Category: Grasses

Calamagrostis brachytricha

on Monday, 03 May 2021. Posted in Winter Interest, Deer Resistant, Grasses

Korean Feather Reed Grass

Calamagrostis2 edAnyone who’s ever visited Shooting Star Nursery knows how much we love our ornamental grasses, and this week we are highlighting one of our favorites that is (undeservedly!) less well-known than some of its flashier relatives like Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’. 

Calamagrostis brachytricha – also known as Korean Feather Reed Grass – is a truly lovely ornamental grass. Plants reach about 3’ tall and 2’ wide at maturity, and are topped with foot-long feathery pink inflorescences in late summer. These blooms last on the plant throughout the winter, and also will hold up nicely in cut flower arrangements.

Korean Feather Reed Grass prefers a bit of afternoon and moderate watering in order to look its best, and will also tolerate clay soils. It’s also fairly deer resistant, and wintering birds will enjoy eating the seeds (which are sterile, so they won’t spread throughout your garden).

Like most other ornamental grasses, Korean Feather Reed Grass is lovely on its own, but it really shines when you combine it with other plants – especially fall-blooming perennials like Asters, Solidago, and Rudbeckia. It works beautifully in a mixed border, alongside a water feature, or even just softening the sharp edges of a building. For a real visual treat, plant it where it can be backlit – either by the morning sun catching the droplets of dew, or by the afternoon sun enhancing the rosy glow of the bloom.

During the winter months, the inflorescences turn a tawny gold; providing a nice visual interest in the winter garden – especially when frost crystals cover the inflorescences on a crisp January morning. Leave these blooms on throughout the winter, and cut the plant back to a few inches tall in early spring once the new growth begins to appear.

Fargesia 'Rufa', Hardy Bamboo

on Tuesday, 26 January 2021. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Evergreen, Grasses

1/26/21

fargesiaRufa2Clumping bamboo (Fargesia ‘Rufa’) is as visually attractive as it is remarkably effective for a privacy screen. With all of the classic characteristics of lush, evergreen bamboo that we love, it reaches a moderate height of 10 feet tall, making it a great option for easy maintenance. 

'Rufa' is one of several species lumped under the common name ‘hardy bamboo’. They all have the same tight clumping growth habit and mounding form that doesn’t spread far from their original planting, and they grow well in both sun or shade. When compared to other 'hardy bamboo', 'Rufa' is more heat tolerant and able to handle full sun without leaf curl, and is the most cold-hardy.

The perfect location is somewhere with at least four hours of filtered sun or better. It will grow faster with more sun, which means a faster privacy screen. Keep in mind that sunnier sites will require more watering not just because of evaporation. They consume more water as they grow faster, and prefers well-draining soil that is rich in organic material.

fargesiaRufaAdequate watering during the transplant establishment period is the key to success. They should be watered well until the soil is saturated and moist, then allowed to dry out before the next watering. The amount of time between watering has many variables so it’s helpful to have a moisture meter or a way to check the moisture content at least 6-8 inches below ground level.

Remember when we mentioned ‘low maintenance’? After your bamboo is established, other than making sure its water needs are met, it is virtually self-maintaining. Just leave the dropped leaves on the ground for a winter mulch to insulate the roots and retain moisture over winter and summer. As an added bonus, it will help keep weeds down in spring, and eventually, break down releasing matter and nutrients back into the soil.

Panicum virgatum

on Thursday, 01 October 2020. Posted in Winter Interest, Fall Color, Deer Resistant, Grasses, Flowering Plants

Switchgrass

Echinacea and PanicumPanicum virgatum – also known as Switchgrass – is native to the tallgrass prairies of the Great Plains. Its height, texture, and stunning fall color have made it a favorite of gardeners throughout the Rogue Valley.

Switchgrass is drought tolerant and deer resistant, but will also tolerate clay soils well. Plants prefer full sun and relatively lean soil (over-fertilized plants can get floppy). Light, airy flower heads appear in mid-summer and remain attractive through the winter months; providing four-season interest in the garden.

As with all ornamental grasses here in the Rogue Valley, we recommend leaving the grasses standing through the winter (the leaves provide habitat for beneficial insects and the seeds are beloved by overwintering birds) and cut back in late winter/early spring.

We carry three different varieties of Switchgrass here at Shooting Star Nursery:

Panicum Heavy MetalHeavy Metal – Striking metallic blue-gray leaves with airy buff-pink flower heads. Plants reach 5-6’ tall by 2-3’ wide.

 

Northwind – Strong, upright growth habit; blue-green leaves turn a lovely tawny gold in the fall. Reaches 6’ by 3’. Northwind was the 2014 Perennial Plant of the Year. See photo at top of the page.

 

Panicum2cropShenandoah – During the growing season, green leaves are tipped with reddish-purple and the whole plant turns red and orange in the fall. Truly striking! 3-4’ tall by 18” wide.

Muhlenbergia 'Fast Forward'

on Friday, 21 August 2020. Posted in Winter Interest, Deer Resistant, Grasses, Flowering Plants

Pink Muhly Grass

FFSome ornamental grasses – Miscanthus ‘Adagio’, Andropogon ‘Red October’, Calamagrostis ‘Karl Forester’, Panicum ‘Northwind’ – are known for their big, bold, structural presence in the garden. These grasses practically beg to be put front and center, and used as a focal point. Other grasses are more subtle and delicate-looking in their appearance. Muhlenbergia ‘Fast Forward’ falls in the latter category.

Muhlenbergia ed‘Fast Forward’ is a truly graceful ornamental grass. It’s finely textured, with bluish-green foliage that grows in a tidy clump; about 2-4” tall by up to 3’ wide. As attractive as the leaves are, though, the inflorescences are what makes this a stunning addition to a garden or border. Plants begin blooming in late August, and the lovely pink inflorescences create a soft haze of color that seems to float in the air. This grass is really effective as a backdrop for other shorter perennials, or massed in a clump. If you can put it somewhere where it will be backlit by the late afternoon sun, that’s even better!

Muhlenbergia ‘Fast Forward’ provides you with both color and texture in the garden, as well as an element most gardeners rarely think of: motion. Fine blades of grass and inflorescences dance slowly in an afternoon breeze; adding a soft vitality to your garden bed or border. These plants are also deer resistant, and do well in full sun.

Like most ornamental grasses ‘Fast Forward’ browns out during the winter. We like to leave the grass blades and flower heads standing all winter: their silhouette provides some lovely visual interest in the winter landscape, and the foliage will help protect the grass from heavy rains and unexpected cold snaps. Cut it back in early spring (late February through early March), when you start to see new growth push through last year’s faded vegetation.

Pennisetum orientale 'Karley Rose'

on Friday, 14 August 2020. Posted in Winter Interest, Deer Resistant, Grasses, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Karley Rose Oriental Fountain Grass

Karley Rose edAn easy to grow, soft textured fountain grass, Pennisetum 'Karley Rose' will give you months of light pink blooms that are great for floral arrangements and beautiful accents in the garden, but aren't attractive to deer.

This Pennisetum is more cold hardy than the straight species (Pennisetum orientale) and blooms earlier than other varieties like 'Hamelyn'. The rose-pink blooms appear in early summer and continue on until frost. Once the blades and blooms dry out to an autumnal tan, the silhouette remains pretty in the frost of winter. Cut this grass back in early spring, as new growth begins to emerge. Aside from that, there is no special care for this drought tolerant, deer resistant grass.

When in bloom, 'Karley Rose' tops out at about 3' tall and 24-30" wide. ‘Karley Rose’ is easy to divide, to create a graceful, massed effect in your garden. It looks great backlit by early morning or late afternoon sun and pairs nicely with Sedums, Echinaceas and other large-flowered perennials. Full sun or light shade and well-draining soil is best – the one thing ‘Karley Rose’ doesn't like is wet, boggy soil.