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Archive for the ‘grasses’ Category

 

009Big is definitely more beautiful – of course it is .. especially when the big grasses are part of the picture. In our Sussex Prairies garden  only twenty five percent of the garden is grasses but at this time of year the grasses definitely take front of stage with their impressive stature, dominating presence and architectural splendour.

002Is it the metallic sheen on the grass flower heads that gives that ethereal quality to the whole, or is it the heady wispiness and romance of the flowers that creates such a spectacle ? is it the arching fronds that brush and tickle you as you pass by ?or is it the firey flashes of brilliance in the leaves or seedheads ? it is all of that and more and set in dream partnerships with the later perennials they are crackers !

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High Five !

Here at our top five  grasses for this year-

1. Miscanthus Malepartus

big bold and dark purple flowers  .. towers in at a heady 8 ft tall

2. Miscanthus Zwerg Elefant (dwarf elephant)

flowers unfurl like a curled elefants trunk and then  emerge like crinkle cut chips

3. Sporobolis heterolepsis

grass with presence and fragrance .. imagine freshly cut coriander on a summers day

4. Panicum Frosted Explosion

a real firework of an annual grass but misty and moving at the same time.. a perfect grass as a dream partner in the garden

5. Miscanthus Ghana

feels like a bonfire burning…with all the the firey colours of autumn and the zest and zing of gunpowder.

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024Autumn time is the erotic time, the time to be dominated by big lary plants with attitude. These are the Christian Greys of the garden world . The plants that will always say yes and yes again and make mine a handcuff and silken scarf and be damned.

083057Grasses first : architectural and arch with it

. Giving fabulous structure , colour , muscle and brawn. They are the bouncers of the garden, standing up straight  in the doorways fiddling with their mikes and manhoods. Twitching in the wind ,and giving the shoulder and the eye to the plants around them. Our garden is 25% grasses of all kinds which are woven through the plantings . As you walk through the borders it is the grasses that give you that shelter and which block the sun from time to time. They can also be  brash with candy bar colours in their leaves. Sometimes they are like  Brighton rock laced with pinks, oranges and reds , and sometimes just burning crimson and vermillion . Their seed heads can also be subtly or not so subtly coloured: beaded jewels with the early morning mists and dew or heavy with embroidery thread tassels. Some of them are woolly and crinkled like chips , some of them are smooth and silken. This is the way where madness lies as you try and get them together en masse. Did I tell you about the romance and the softness too ? the way they lend a wispy texture to the garden that catches the light and shimmers it through the borders. Lucky us , when the bouncers show their hearts of  gold under their butch veneer.

034The Muscle : Big Plants , Big Egos

By autumn time we can clearly see the plants that have ambition to be the biggest and the most glam with it. They literally put on all their jewellery and bling and pimp it up rotten. They are shamelessly wanton and wanting attention. And they can do it by height and bravado and staking their claim to be the first into the nightclub of autumn.They even have tattoos and piercings ! My Big fat gypsy plants. They slip their clothes on and off with languid ease and shameless lewd loveliness.And take colour as their watchword.

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negligee and slipper , corset and bodice : our plants will work their way through their wardrobe as the season progresses, shedding and shucking them off as the mood suits.Their jackets are lined with shocking colours to make you blink and their buttons and fastenings provocatively taut. Wardrobe malfunction is their trick.

012Are they coy and winning or buxom and blousy ?

101Where is the lustre of youth and vigour ? where are the dimpled thighs of the Moulin rouge muffin tops ? the glistening sequined décolleté and the supermodels of shameless glam ?

090are they in their dressing rooms painting their nails and eating jelly babies, pulling on their rubber suits and skin tight stockings ? are they on the couch with their casting directors ?

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Beauty and beast we love them all !

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This man has smelt Sporobolus heterolepsis- have you ?

Diary note for September: propagate more of the wondrously aromatic grass Sporobolis heterolepsis.

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What is it then ? a fabulous grass with attitude and scent !

other common name – Prairie dropseed

Height : 80cm (at least) Spread : 35cm (and some)

Flowering : meant to be July and august , but still flowering now well into September.

spicemarket1Scent : musky and aromatic like a trip into a indian spice market. Just catching on the slightest breeze you get a hint of the cumin laden armpit of a street trader in Jaipur. It is the sort of grass you could make a curry with , the sort of grass that would be impregnating an old jute camel bag, the scent of a sandal kicked off under a rickshaw drivers charpoi, the tendril taint of an “old “print dug out from beneath a dozen such prints in old Mapusa market. It is the siren call of the exotic and the whisper of the orient.

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I smelt Sporobolus and my nose fell off …..

Grown en masse (of course) why would anyone do any less,it is a wonder of the prairie plain.Not only do you get scent but a fine and fickle movement in the breeze reminds you of a lapping warm sea. Must be nearly holiday time methinks ………..

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