Wednesday 16 January 2013

Grass and a few miracles

Firstly a few miracles, then some ponderings on grass...

1.       We have a cleaner again, hurrah! A cleaner is one of the three bits of the holy trinity which helps keep my relationship peachy along with a dishwasher and bad memory.

2.       50% off sales at Urban Jungle and Amultree: ooh I had a moment when I realised I had missed the Amultree sale which included free postage (more notice next time please) however both sales are still on....ordering lots of plants does lift the mood, hurrah!

3.       Snow...well we had it for at least a few hours in the morning when the blinds opened to white magic. I love snow, although wandering around outside the Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre gazing at the sky and slush wasn’t quite the winter wonderland I was thinking of. Bizarrely it still hasn’t been that cold and I have cannas and bananas in my side way with lots of leaves on

4.       Bricks: my lovely neighbour had some spare ones which he has given to me, which is amazing that after 2 years of wondering what to do with bricks and getting rid of them I now want more!

5.       Positivity:  garden wise I’m realising how I’m not at my happiest in November and December as they are kind of dead months where everything is being killed and is on a downwards slope....I know it is purely psychological but the new year makes things feel fresh, and where I used to see a dead Tithonia now I see crocus’s coming up and a place to try out a new plant. Generally this all means I’m feeling a lot more positive, and rather than be at the end of something it is the beginning

The final miracle was a realisation at how much I am now liking the grass family...I never thought this would happen, but a quick straw pole reveals that I grow 9 different types of bamboo and 8 other grasses. I don’t know if this stems from allergies... I am allergic to cats (so I say I hate them, but like the odd one) I also say I’m allergic to children (but some cuties such as baby Whitney have changed this) and I have hay fever so I’ve hated grass. I must say how I’m still not a big fan of grass flowers as it’s the leaves I like and would cut the flowers off if I could. I also don’t like the pom pom flower ones and am not keen on sedges...especially ones that self seed everywhere

However in my recent plant order I have asked for 12 more grasses in total and when I was in Bali I realised how large grasses are everywhere and can be quite tropical looking, especially when just in leaf. In the UK there was a bit of a trend for grasses about 15? Years ago and a recent resurgence with prairie style planting which I like in a more tropical style....

Anyway a few I like which work well in jungle style gardens...
Miscanthus giganteus is the one I’m most excited by...I have 1 already which has slowly been getting bigger however I think it has huge potential for screening as it gets to about 10ft+, making people look small.  It also is unlikely to flower. Interestingly it is actually a hybrid of M.scacchariflorus and M.sinensis and is also being grown in Europe as a bio fuel which shows how fast it grows.

Miscanthus  scacchariflorus seems to be very similar to M.giganteus so time will tell which is better. I have 2x 1 yr olds by new pond which I thought rather nice all year, although I cursed them all the way home on the train from Hampton Court Flower slow as they cut my hands up with their sharp blades!

Miscanthus zebrinus: I have had one of these for 8? Years and it never gets funky...always looks to be a bit sulky which I wish it wasn’t as these look fabulous when happy, stripy foliage in a non ott way

Miscanthus sinensis gracillimus: this was a bit of an impulse buy, but looks great in the garden where I grow it next to the path as edging...nice fine leaves of an interesting green, I’ve just ordered more in a less is more way....

Miscanthus ‘Cabaret’: well once I saw this one’s name I couldn’t resist...and it plays to a fantasy where I have a garden full of plants with comedy names. However beyond Liza it is a good plant to have, but it doesn’t like it that dry
Arundo donax: I was never keen on this, but jumped on the bandwagon when trying to fill my trolly at the Big Plant nursery. I’m also not that keen on variegated plants as I think they are difficult to blend into a garden and don’t really work that well in a jungle as they don’t look very natural...however this plant has proven me wrong, and been a trooper giving height and tropical majesty to its corner. This clump is 5 years old and hasn’t yet been divided.  There is a cream variety out there which I haven’t decided if I like yet , however I have just ordered the plain green one as I have a feeling it could look a bit like sugar cane and give me some of the height I want.

Cyperus alternifolius: I love this plant and have grown it for is currently mainly in the pond, and on the terrace in submerged pots as it is a great filler...I find it just about hardy unlike its cousin Giant Egyptian Papyrus who I would grow lots of if I could over winter it...

Ok so my love of grasses is a bit Miscanthus focused, however I could be persuaded...I do flirt with the palm grass (Setaria palmifolia) as it looks so tropical, but haven’t yet tried it as it is tender and I was chatting to a guy who said how its leaves stings you a bit. I’m also keen to get into Hakonechola’s ....however pampas grasses should be burnt! I’m also not counting restios and I’m too much of a botanist to talk about black lily grass here...

Bamboos are also grasses, and I’m not going to go into them now as they deserve their own posts...this week I am in a super positive bamboo mood as I’m very optimistic about them growing big this year and making more of a show of themselves.....last year’s rain was also great for them, with a clump at the end growing 50% bigger than usual. My blue bamboo has also just put out some new culms which double its size. Wahey!

Anyway, happy sales shopping to one and lots of grasses!
no grass but i love this picture!

1 comment:

  1. Yay for plant sales! Although we haven't bought much this time around, on previous years we have availed of the January nursery sales.

    Hardy grasses make such great backbone and statement plants, especially the large growing Miscanthus you've just mentioned. Quite a selection you have there already. And more bamboos wouldn't go amiss!