A Leader

“A Leader”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


Just a few years ago, you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing purple fountain grass planted in containers or landscaping.  It seemed as if it was every where.  This year it does not seem as ubiquitous.  However, I still have mine.  It is a great summer plant.  Mine are planted in containers that flank a trellis that opens to the side yard.  The purple fountain grass gives just the right emphasis to that entrance to the side garden.



I like that this grass can stand heat, high humidity and drought.  All of these characteristics makes this a great plant for my southern garden.  The purple inflorescences start to appear in mid summer and last through winter.  Since mine are in containers and I live in a mild climate, come winter, I just bring them on the porch whenever a freeze is predicted since they are not hardy even here.


In the fall, I usually plant purple violas in the containers at the base of the grass.  This carries the containers through the winter.  When spring comes, I just cut the foliage back to about three inches and soon new shoots appear.  One year I had a piece of plectranthus break off, and I just stuck it in with the purple fountain grass.  Before I knew it, the plectranthus (this really needs a common name) rooted and thrived.  The undersides of its leaves echoed the burgundy blades and the combination worked well.  Ever since then, I have grown them both in the same container.



Purple fountain grass introduced the idea using ornamental grasses in the home garden to many people.  Now that more grasses are available, purple fountain grass is not used as much.  I guess it was a victim of its own popularity.


Ornamental Grasses

This post, “Ornamental Grasses” was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

Grasses have become very popular in the last few years.  I was kind of late in getting on the “grass band wagon”.  The first grass I tried was Purple Fountain grass.  I placed it in two urns in front of an arbor.  I did not know how hardy it was here, so I was afraid to place it in the ground.  I have had it now for three years, and it is still doing well, so I am going to keep it in the containers.  I just cut it back last week, and already there is new growth showing.

The next was Strawberries and Cream.  I bought it to place in the white & green garden.  Unfortunately, after I bought two containers of it, I found out that it is very vigorous and can be very invasive here in the Deep South.  So, I decided that I better keep them in containers.  They seem to be happy in two large green pots.


My next purchase was Gulf Muhly Grass.  I had a hard time finding it locally but was finally successful in finding two small pots.  This grass took a little longer to get established than I thought it would.  I did get a few pink fluoresces this year.  It seems to just now to be starting to settle in, and I hope it will be getting bigger.


The last grass I tried was Mexican Hair grass.  It did just great last summer.  It moves in just the slightest breeze and gives some movement in the garden.  I cut it back and cleaned it out about two weeks ago, and already it is putting out a lot of new green growth.


This spring I am thinking about putting in some miscanthus  Cosmopolitan. I saw some at the fall garden show at the New Orleans Botanical Gardens, and it was just magnificent.  Of course, they had the room to grow extremely large swaths of it, but I think it would make a lovely show even on a smaller scale, esp. at the end of the growing season when so many plants are not at their best.

Another grass I thought I might give a try is Sea Oats.  My sister had a large container of this on her side patio.  It made a very striking display even into the winter. 

One aspect of gardening that I feel makes things so interesting and fun is the fact that there is always something new to try.  I enjoy hearing about other gardeners trying out a new garden style, new plants, or new techniques.  This, to me, is what keeps gardening fresh and inspiring.