There's so much that changes in the MG landscape throughout the year...we thought a plant trial and garden blog was the best way to start sharing "what's new" and "what's happening with all those new varieties" with you! Visit often for updates on how trial plants are performing in the gardens and to see photos throughout the season as we grow and change!

Welcome to the Midwest Groundcovers Landscape Blog

Welcome to the Midwest Groundcovers Landscape Blog
Astilbe 'Vision in Red' with Hosta 'Patriot' and Carex 'Ice Dance'

Friday, January 23, 2009

New Grasses 2009

Hello again!
Today we will go over the new grasses we have for 2009! Some of them we have been selling, but they have not been in the catalog previously. Not all are actually grasses, as we have added a Rush. So, without further ado, here they are.
Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola'
If you haven't heard yet, this is the 2009 PPA Perennial Plant of the Year! Since 1990, only one other grass has been named Perennial Plant of the Year. That was Calamagrostis 'Karl Foerster'. One of the greatest attributes of this plant is its shade tolerance. Native to Japan, the common name is Japanese Forest Grass which would make you believe it likes the shade. Its texture is similar to a running bamboo without the invasiveness. Just remember when planting, moisture and shade are good things for this lovely plant.

Molinia caerulea 'Variegata'
When first faced with this plant, I was very intrigued. Even more intriguing was that Brent Gustason, one of our outside sales reps, liked it too. He doesn't typically care for things variegated. This plant however has something special. Foliage is very similar to an aggressive weed named Phalaris arundinacea 'Picta'. Therefore, this offers a nice substitute for that. Furthermore, the scapes are a brilliant yellow which just shine in the sun's reflection. Very ornamental and very tame. This is not a garden thug. It grows to 18" tall and forms a nice clump. In part shade it was planted with Ligularia 'Britt Marie-Crawford' and was outstanding.

Pennisetum 'Piglet' PP#19,074
I'm not the biggest fan of Pennisetum. But this one has really impressed me. Bred by Illinois plantsman Brent Horvath, it has proven reliably hardy in our landscape. On top of it's hardiness, this one can truly be called a dwarf fountain grass. In our landscape it has barely reached 24" in flower whereas P. 'Hameln' would be on the 36" side with flowers. As you can see from the picture, the flowers emerge a very nice white before they fade to tan. This plant is a very nice introduction to our industry.

Juncus ensifolius
I was going to save this for last since it's not truly a grass. But I've saved the best grass for last. This is not a grass but a rush. Furthermore, it has one of the best common names I've ever heard: "Flying Hedgehogs." Sword-like foliage is graced by small brown seed heads that float above and within the foliage. This is a plant that will like moist areas and can be a great addition to the rain garden or bioswale.

Schizachyrium Blue Heaven(TM)
This lovely plant came from Minnesota. Obviously hardy, right! When I first set my eyes on it, I wondered how similar it would be to S. 'The Blues'. In color, it's close, but it is a far better plant. This one does not flop. I like to hold the grass down to the ground and watch as it stands right back up. The colors in fall transform from the great blues of the summer to purples, oranges and reds. It's quite the sight. In addition, it's a selection of a native grass so there is no concern of invasiveness for this plant. The little bluestems are bound to be the "Hot Grass" of the decade. Keep an eye out as these grasses are very garden worthy!

Next post will be about some of our new American Beauty Native Plants(R) that we will offer in 2009. Stay tuned! Until next time, have a great day!

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