Calamagrostis

Extremely tough, undemanding and hardy, this truly all-purpose grass brings bold, erect lines to the garden spectrum.

<i>Calamagrostis</i> x <i>acutiflora</i> ‘Avalanche’

This distinctive newcomer is a variegated form of Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ first spotted by Steve Schmidt at American Ornamental Perennials. Showcasing dramatically striped foliage, the medium-sized clumps spring to life as a hefty white central band bordered by narrow green margins embellishes each blade. Topped with an airy aura of rose-tinged green plumes that later take on warm, golden hues, ‘Avalanche’s straight-up stance forges a compelling specimen, or when planted en masse, a boldly patterned screen. (PPAF)

Blooms May–January.

Size: 5' 0" high x 3' 0" wide.

Zone 4/5.

<i>Calamagrostis</i> x <i>acutiflora</i> ‘Karl Foerster’ <i>Calamagrostis</i> x <i>acutiflora</i> ‘Karl Foerster’

Named for pioneering German nurseryman Karl Foerster, this selection bears loose and airy 12 in. seed heads, which tighten to slender plumes by midsummer. Rising above 2 ft. clumps of narrow green foliage, the inflorescences create an ideal semitransparent veiling effect. Plant with deep green Viburnums to accentuate its golden flowering stems.

Blooms May–January.

Size: 5' 0" high x 3' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

Warmed by rosy maroon plumes, Calamagrostis brachytricha is native to the moist woodlands of eastern Asia. The inflorescences stay open and feathery, even when they dry, and eventually pale to an elegant silvery gray. Magical both in an arrangement or outside when the wind blows, the panicles leap from a clump of glossy green, upright and arching blades. This warm season grass exhibits a smaller stature, making it well suited for a container.

Blooms September.

Size: 4' 0" high x 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

<i>Calamagrostis</i> x ‘Cheju-do’

The ultrafine white hairs lining arching medium green blades glisten with dew, while narrow, loosely feathered caramel-colored inflorescences loll above. Smaller-sized than C. x ‘Karl Foerster’ and well-suited for gardens short on space, this relatively new soft-looking Calamagrostis develops a versatile low maintenance clump that transmutes warm rosy amber hues in autumn. ‘Cheju-do’ can be featured as an elegant specimen, planted en masse around large shrubs or small trees and looks especially lovely skirting a Japanese Maple.

Blooms August–October

Size: 3' 0" – 4' 0" high x 3' 0" – 4' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

<i>Calamagrostis foliosa</i> <i>Calamagrostis foliosa</i>

Garnished by violet tinges, low loose mounds of glaucous blue-gray blades generally remain throughout the year and set this cool season California native apart from other North American Calamagrostis species. Slender tapering pinkish purple panicles sojourn just above the relaxed foliage in a lovely fountain-like fashion and by early summer adopt luminous flaxen hues.

Cape Mendocino Reed Grass pouts when it’s hot, appreciates summer irrigation and looks artful either as a large-scale ground cover or peppered throughout mixed borders and naturalized meadows.

Blooms May–November.

Size: 18" high x 2' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 8.

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Fantastic Fall Foliage.... The arresting foliage of these easy-care, low growing perennials remains tidy well into November. Adequate water, mulch and a mid-season trim help ensure their staying power.

November's last hurrah.... The shorter days and cooler nights of November have set the garden ablaze with eye-catching foliar color. By planting an assortment of woody plants as well as herbaceous perennials and ornamental grasses, which promote late season allure, a last hurrah is easily achieved. Each of the plants included in this newsletter bestow either plump berries, late blooms, compelling foliage or artful branching patterns. Happy Digging!

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