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Posts Tagged ‘shenandoah switchgrass’

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During much of the summer, grasses form a backdrop for dazzling flowering plants, but come autumn, it’s their turn to shine. This is a Shenandoah Switchgrass or Panicgrass (Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’), a hybrid of a native grass. The seedhead stalks form an airy cloud of fine tracery. When the stems are beaded with morning dew and lit by the sun, panicum is as beautiful as any garden plant.

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Here’s a taller switchgrass, Panicum virgatum ‘Thundercloud’, which reaches about six feet.

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Another native hybrid is Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Prairie Blues’, or Little Bluestem. It forms a low-growing clump about 2 to 3 feet tall.

grass

The non-native miscanthus varieties, sometimes called Maiden Grass, are among the showiest grasses in the garden with their eye-catching plumes. This is miscanthus sinensis.

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The tallest perennial in the garden is Miscanthus giganteus. It towers over the garden at 10 to 12 feet tall. According to Wikipedia, it is a hybrid of Miscanthus sinensis and Miscanthus sacchariflorus and is currently used in the European Union as a commercial energy crop, as a source of heat and electricity, or converted into biofuel products such as ethanol, being more efficient than corn grown for that purpose.

I am content just to enjoy mine as a garden spectacle. Its tall stalks typically stay upright all winter until I cut them down in the spring.

giant

I’m especially fond of the pennisetums, or fountain grasses. This is Pennisetum Alopecuroides ‘Moudry’, or Black-flowering Fountain Grass. It was at its best back in September, when I took this photo. As their name implies, the fountain grasses form a gracefully arching clump.

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Finally, here are the distinctive seedheads of sea oats displayed on Chasmanthium latifolium ‘River Mist’, a variegated version of this North American native. River Mist was new to the garden this summer, but I’ve grown the green-leafed variety for some time. This grass is quite tolerant of shade and can make an interesting addition to a gloomy corner.

The plants shown here are all hardy perennials. There are also some very attractive grasses grown as annuals, but I haven’t tried any of them yet. Whether your garden is big or small, grasses can be worthy additions.

oats

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garden1

As we move into fall, the garden begins to take on an overripe, languid feel, an aging beauty going to seed, in this case, quite literally. However, it is still a beautiful place to stroll and take in the sights.

Lemon Queen sunflower (Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’) dominates the central island. I didn’t get around to staking the Queen earlier in the season, and now she is so well-attended by bumblebees, I am content to let her tumble out over her lesser neighbours.

Lemon Queen walk

The ornamental grasses are taking on a starring role in the border as their seedheads mature.

Lemon Queen and Grasses

My favorite is probably Redhead Fountaingrass (Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Redhead’), which has already been magnificent for weeks.

Pennisetum Alopecuroides 'Redhead'

Its little cousin Piglet (Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Piglet’) has a softer look, with gently arching stems.

piglet

In addition to airy seedheads, the blades of switchgrass add colour interest. Here is Shenandoah (Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’) touched with scarlet.

Panicum virgatum 'Shenandoah'

The various ligularia species have been brightening shady corners since midsummer. Here is Desdemona (Ligularia dentata ‘Desdemona’).

Ligularia dentata 'Desdemona'

Of course, fall is the season for asters. Here is Pink Bouquet (Aster dumosus ‘Pink Bouquet’) backed by Silver Brocade artemisia (Artemisia stelleriana ‘Silver Brocade’).

Aster dumosus 'Pink Bouquet' and Artemisia 'Silver Brocade'

By autumn, the annuals have matured and are adding touches of brillant colour. The caryopteris, or bluebeard, is adding a pretty blue and the deep wine-cerise of Angelica is outstanding with phlox and sedum. Here is a selection of other garden highlights.

To visit other September gardens, please drop by May Dream’s Garden Bloggers’ Day roundup, linked here.

Cleome

Cleome

Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Longwood Blue'

Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘Longwood Blue’

Angelica gigas

Angelica gigas

Rainbow Knockout Rosa 'Radcor'

Rainbow Knockout Rosa ‘Radcor’

Calamintha nepeta 'Blue Cloud'

Calamintha nepeta ‘Blue Cloud’

Echinacea 'Green Jewel'

Echinacea ‘Green Jewel’

Black Adder Agastache and Hosta Krossa Regal

Black Adder Agastache and Hosta Krossa Regal

Anemone hupehensis 'Pink Saucer'

Anemone hupehensis ‘Pink Saucer’

Joe Crow

Joe Crow

Woodland Walk

Woodland Walk

Tamarack Walk

Tamarack Walk

Shade Walk

Shade Walk

Japanese Painted ferns, hostas and Tiger Eye sumac with Amur Maple

Japanese Painted ferns and hostas underplanting Amur Maple with Tiger Eye Sumac in background.

Royal Standard Hostas

Royal Standard Hostas

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