Thursday, December 4, 2014

Golden Forest Grass For Impact

Today was another productive one with lots of volunteer help this morning.  We had a good crew of Grumpies come in to help install the remainder of our deer fencing, help re-stake trees for the Holiday Lights Show (HLS), continue carpentry projects and work on some additional HLS tasks.  Maury, Gary, Dick P. and Dick H. worked on finishing up the deer fencing around our tasty arborvitaes (Thuja occidentalis and Thuja plicata) while Larry and Marv B. re-staked the trees. Ron Y., Vern, Dave T. and Jim continued their carpentry projects while Bob K. troubleshot some more HLS issues.  Alan M. continued to clean up our tools for the winter and Janice stopped by to work on some HLS repairs out in the gardens.  We also saw Terry N., Kris K., Bev D., Deb G. and many others today.  Our last and final test night of the HLS went well tonight and I had some help from Tina and Karen.  We also saw Jim and Bonnie D., Janice and Mike P., Marsha, Sue M, Jimmy and his daughter.  The photo above of 'All Gold' Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra) was certainly not taken recently but that photo and those below should inspire you to consider this grass for your partly shaded locations next year.

Japanese forest grass (Hakonchloa macra) is one of my favorites for offering color and texture in the part shade garden.  There are many varieties out there and the original species is green and can actually tolerate quite a bit of sun.  This is not a drought tolerant grass so adequate moisture, decent soils and supplemental watering (along with some mulching) are strongly recommended.  Drawbacks include slow growth and not being inexpensive.  However, this grass, when happy, can be a great addition to the partly shaded border as seen above.  Offering illumination and color, this grass contributes a range of chartreuse to gold (dependent on season of the year and available sunlight) and flowing texture.  The variety 'Aureola' is also quite popular and has a strong yellow variegation on green leaf blades.  There are some other variegated forms that feature either white variegation on green leaves or white variegation on golden leaves.  Check further on these but 'Albostriata', 'Sunny Delight', 'Stripe it Rich', 'Naomi' and 'Fubuki' are all quite nice.  Some selections have a stronger late season fall color like 'Nicolas' and 'Beni Kazi'.  However, 'All Gold' continues to be my favorite and the photos here should inspire you to look for it and use it in similar garden formats.

early growth and emergence in May
 flowering in early October
pinkish tints in late October (above and two photos below)

winter coloration seen above
 effective single specimen
 softening a path edge in a row (Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Madison, WI)
10 years ago we planted 72 plugs of 'All Gold' in the crevices of this boulder wall and it has filled out nicely as seen above and below

 winter look above
a single specimen can reach 18" tall and 30" wide
two might be better than one
soft "skirting" around this boxwood (Buxus)
above at Olbrich Botanical Gardens (Madison, WI)
used above and below as a clumping groundcover

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