A few years ago, on a trip to Montreal to visit a friend, I happened by this plant in the Montreal Botanical Garden, Pennisetum macrourum. It was love at first sight.
Just look at those amazing, tall stems...those fabulous white flowers, catching the light so elegantly...waving in the slightest breeze.
Try as I might, however, not only couldn't I find them for sale anywhere...I really couldn't find any good information about them. How hardy were they...what were their water requirements?
Amazingly, just as I'd sort of forgotten about them, I found them! There they were, at the Wind Dancer Garden booth, at the HPSO Plant Sale last fall...sigh...remember where there was a FALL plant sale :-( I snatched one up instantly...I was ELATED! Of course, I wanted at least 2 more to create a decent patch of them in my garden...so went down to their nursery outside Salem to get them (and a few other grasses as well)!
Here they are shortly after planting last fall (toward the bottom, just left of center). From what I had learned from Carolyn Kolb (owner of Wind Dancer) they were pretty tough...and fairly drought-tolerant, once established. Fall planting seemed perfect...since our mild winters make for good root growth, plants can get comfortably established and be ready to grow once spring rolls around.
Seen here in October...I was already loving them...they offered such a delightful textural highlight to the garden...I couldn't wait to see how they performed the following year.
|Early July||Early August|
The blooms are, in a word, incredible! They start blooming from fairly close to the clump, but as the stems elongate, they fade from a creamy beige/tan to a glistening white.
Line many grasses, the blooms are amazing at catching the light...they are magical when backlit...seeming to glow, especially against a dark background.
I should mention that, in addition to its beauty, it's VERY low-maintenance. I have these planted in the hell-strip on the side of our house and they've only been watered a handful of times all year (and usually only when I'm watering something else).
So, there you have it, and incredibly beautiful grass...one which I can imagine in a million different scenarios in the garden. If you ever need a tall exclamation point in the garden...try this grass...I doubt you'll be disappointed!