Christine's garden Home page features Perenniels

Lovely ornamental grass finds its niche

Panicum Vargatum "Shenandoah"I thought if I bought a nice ornamental grass and planted it, that my current obsession with grasses would subside a bit – but all that is happening is that I want more! Such a pity that most require a lot of sun or I would be hotfooting it off to the nurseries to buy every pretty grass I can find.

What I love about grasses is the many different textures, colours, variegation and most of all, the way they move in a breeze. I have lots of Carex in the garden which has been planted as accent plants to my flowers shrubs and as an alternative to ground cover. My favourite is Acorus gramineus which I have in the shade garden and looks quite lovely planted with Lamium. The contrast in colours works so well and I delight in this simple grass every day.

On to my newest acquisition … Panicum Virgatum “Shenandoah” (also known as Red Switch Grass or Shenandoah Switch Grass). Purchased just over a week ago, the photographs show what it looks like now in Autumn. From what I’ve read and the photos I’ve seen on the Internet, the leaf tips turn red soon after it starts to grow in the spring and in Autumn (fall) the foliage is a spectacular deep burgundy colour. It likes full sun, prefers moist fertile soil but adapts to a wide range of soil conditions.

I’ve planted mine in a barrel – I may move it in future but for now I wanted it where I can see it and be able to move it should it need more sun.

[one_half]Panicum Vergatum DetailPanicum Vergatum "Shenandoah"[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Very disinterested “Garden Helper”Disinterested[/one_half_last]

I sincerely hope I haven’t bored you with my “grass story” as much as I seemed to have bored the usually enthusiastic garden-help I have – as you can see, Dexter was so thoroughly disinterested in my new grass planting … I just had to share the photo 🙂

Happy gardening

Panicum Virgatum “Shenandoah” Notes:
Panicum virgatum is native to North American tall-grass prairies from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean and was one of the most prominent prairie species. This grass was one of the important components of the tall-grass prairie that once covered the vast interior of the United States. A versatile grass, it tolerates a wide range of soil and climatic conditions. As the habitats of Panicum are taken over by humans, these grasses are found in wetter sites than before.

Panicum is valued as an ornamental for its erect form, showy flowers and interesting winter silhouette.Switch grass is a clumping, warm-season, noninvasive grass. Foliage color ranges from deep green to steely blue. Plant height varies from 4 to 7 feetwith feathery panicles rising 1-2 feet above the foliage. Flowers are pinkish to reddish, maturing to silvery gray. Autumn color of the plants is various shades of yellow. Plants remain upright throughout the winter or until cut back. (Information courtesy of North Creek Nurseries – see link for additional info).