What we are looking at is the tall grass on the right. It is tall. I'd put it at fifteen feet. Notice too how the flower spikes are more than double the height of the grass itself. You have a medium sized grass with outrageously tall blooms. This grass has intrigued me from the first day I arrived to work in this garden.
There is one other place, an office complex, where I have seen a grass of similar stature like this. I have considered stopping in to get a shovel full.
My best guess is this is Saccharum ravennae, Ravenna or Plume Grass. I have a book that says it is a native grass. My interweb reading says it is from the Mediterranean and North Africa. I am also reading it is an invasive out west where there are plenty of dry soils low in organic matter that it prefers.
Why do I keep running into interesting plants of foreign origins and dubious habits?
What we are looking at is Hazelwood, NC, now part of the greater Waynesville metropolitan area. Beyond and up the mountain are a number of other gardens I tend.
I want this grass. Being a Saccharum makes it a relative of sugarcane. Ku'ulei A'ina should have some sugarcane. I wonder if the stems are sweet? I can find a dry, infertile, sunny place for it. Maybe I can use it to help hide a telephone pole. It would be interesting planted next to and contrasting with the shorter Miscanthus grass.
Next time I am there I may slip and fall with a shovel in hand. It also has to be cut back before spring. It is the last perennial standing in the garden as I have been putting it down for the winter.