Monday, September 21, 2009

Standing Tall

The deluge portion of the resurgent monsoon has arrived. Floppage was already running rampant with the taller end of season bloom heavy wild flowers. With the deluge I am afraid for many we may have reached the "Help I've fallen and can't get back up" phase.

There are a few tough stalwarts who will not be bowed. Solidago canadensis with its more compact and conical flower head and tough woody stems stands up to the extremes. Its naked stems are often still standing in spring after winter's long torments.

I was out stalking another tough contender during the morning drizzle for the Gardening Gone Wild photo contest when the goldenrod caught my eye and said take a picture of me.

This month's topic for the photo contest is ornamental grasses. I wasn't worried as I surveyed the bent and leaning inhabitants of the front roadside bed. I knew the grasses would be just fine. Nature's furies pass through, leaving them unscathed. They stand all winter when others succumb to winter's burdens. Hints of green at the base are the signals for a spring haircut and another season of fresh flowing texture in the garden.

The contest judge this month is Nan Ondra. She said she is looking for The One and will just know it when she sees it. I have looked at quite a few of the entries on my pitiful Hughes satellite internet in the midst of a thick monsoon over head and know that my submission will not be The One Nan chooses. It is a sweet picture, but I saw plenty with more enticing wow factor. I enter anyway in the spirit of sharing the diverse and beautiful world of ornamental grasses.

Miscanthus sinensis 'Morning Light'

My miscanthus are still babies and have not reached their full wow potential. I bought one pot two years ago and have been dividing it for the last two seasons in order to fill this front roadside bed with a substantial mass of grass. One pot is now twelve plants and plenty for this bed. Next year they should be reaching the full impact I have envisioned in my mind. I will try my best to leave most of them undivided next year. More division is bound to happen though. The design principle of repetition says that this grass must be repeated in other parts of the garden. It divides so well and I got plenty room, so why not.

Mixed with ox-eye daisy, chicory, ironweed, New England aster, echinops and Verbena bonariensis, the waving miscanthus will be a silvery green bed punctuated with blue, purple and snow white blossoms peaking through the blades of grass. The late spring accent of golden yellow Foxtail Lily and the late summer maroon red velvet of the hibiscus 'Cordial' will strike a different note in turn.

Next year my ornamental grass will be ready for its closeup and a picture of that could be The One.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

Well done even if it isn't The One.

Deborah at Kilbourne Grove said...

Nothing against your lovely grass, it is gorgeous, but I love foxtail lily. I also have the yellow, and on Saturday, I planted the white as well. They are spectacular in flower!

Christopher C. NC said...

Thank you Lisa. I don't think it will be The One. I did like the little hint of chicory sneaking into view in this shot.

Deborah, the foxtail lily has been a real roadside crowd pleaser. It gets lots of comments. I gave seeds to my mail carrier this year for her MIL who drives by on Sundays on her way to church and is always scoping out my garden apparently.

Lola said...

Fantastic, Christopher, fantastic.
Love those grasses.

Carol Murdock said...

I too Love that Chicory "sneaking in the shot!

Anonymous said...

I think you are so imaginative for deliberately growing chicory. I remember looking at it in road cracks in the wilds of east Baltimore (you don't want to go there, trust me) while stuck in traffic jams and thinking, what a great flower; why does no one grow this??!
As for the Morning Light, it is my favorite miscanthus. Right height, doesn't seed around, beautiful form, doesn't flop.
But then, I already knew you were an outstanding gardener. It's in the genes. (:


Frances said...

Your miscanthus is and will be the backbone of your garden, Christopher. Morning Light is my fave too and is being used to hold daughter Semi's precarious hillside in place, being divided over and over. Your shot is divine, and are there any seeds left of you know what? :-)

Anonymous said...

I love Morning Light miscanthus & yours is a great shot! You never know what the judge might pick, good luck!

Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog said...

I know what you mean about the deluge. My garlic chives' blooms have been prostrate for weeks now (and yet keep on blooming!).

I really like the combination of plants you describe for your Miscanthus area. I agree that next year those grasses should be huge (and The One??). They're such pretty plants.