Hello Cutting Edge Gardeners!

Do you "get" grasses?

If you already do then you'll love the eight summer grasses below. If you don't quite yet "get" grasses then maybe the eight below will convince you that you can't live without their texture, colour, and movement!

Enjoy and see you soon at Phoenix!

Perennially Yours,

Gary and the Phoenicians

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Eight Cool Grasses for Hot Summers
Texture, Colour, and Movement for the Summer Garden

Perennial grasses are indispensible in perennial borders and containers. They provide something that is so important in foliage combinations: texture. The vertical stems, thin leaves, and airy flowers provide a fine-textured contrast to larger leaved perennials. Many perennial grasses are also quite colourful in folliage with variegated, blue, blue-green, and red leaves and with flowers in shades of tan, black, purple, red, and blue. Then there's movement. Grasses love to sway in the breeze which adds dynamism to the garden and, if the breeze gets a little stronger, the lovely sound of rustling stems and leaves.

Below you'll find some cutting edge and unusual grasses that can provide you with the texture, colour, and movement that I'm describing. I think also that grasses add a certain sophistication to plantings. When grasses are included in containers or perennial borders it says "this person understands foliage combinations - this person gets it."

We hope you'll be inspired to include some of these grasses in your garden!

Arundo donax 'Versicolor' - Giant Reed Grass - This variegated form of the giant reed, Arundo donax, is gorgeous at the back of the border. Try 'Versicolor' in a white garden for height and drama. Plant in full sun in average to moist soils. Proving hardier than what many reference books suggest. Andropogon gerardii 'Rain Dance' - Big Bluestem - Andropogon 'Rain Dance' is a long-lived grass that forms a tall, strictly upright clump of red-tipped foliage. The foliage transitions to red in midsummer and turns totally maroon in fall. Deep purple flowers with bright red-orange pollen top this colourful and statuesque display.
Calamagrostis brachytricha - Korean Feather Reed Grass - Calamagrostis brachytricha is a superlative, yet lesser known, clump forming grass with bright green leaves reaching about two feet tall. In late summer it shines with thick plumes of silver-pink on stems to three to four feet tall. The plumes fade to cream and then, along with the foliage, to straw colour, both remaining attractive through winter. A graceful addition for full sun down to, surprisingly, part shade! Festuca 'Cool as Ice' - Blue Fescue - 'Cool as Ice' produces clumps of fine blue-green foliage whose blue intensifies as the season progresses. On the West Coast Festuca should be planted in hot dry spots with thin soils. Avoid rich soils. Also great in containers.
Miscanthus sinensis 'Fat Cat' - Maiden Grass - Miscanthus 'Fat Cat' displays graceful, spherical masses of broad green leaves to three feet with prominent white midribs turning rich ruby in fall. Red flower plumes soar to seven feet. Miscanthus are one of the best grasses for year-round beauty at the back of the border: new green shoots in the spring become tall blue-green linear leaves that form an elegant clump by midsummer. Attractive flowers emerge in fall. In winter the leaves turn straw colour and provide much interest. Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Red Head' - Fountain Grass - Pennisetum 'Red Head' is a big and bold fountain grass beginning its smoky purple flower display in mid summer, earlier than other cultivars. The extra large plumes measure up to 10 inches long and three inches wide, have tones of smoky pink and purple, and are produced in quantity arching out from the broad, green, graceful mound of foliage. Leaves turn gold and orange in the fall then to join the flowers in buff tones for good winter interest.
Schizachyrium scoparium 'Blue Paradise' Prairie Winds - Little Blue Stem - Schizachryium 'Blue Paradise' forms bold, wiry, upright mounds of silvery blue foliage and stems that develop wine red colours in fall. The flower spikes are deep burgundy-purple and appear in late summer persisting into winter. Grow in full sun in lean soils. Previous cultivars would look gorgeous for months then flop over sideways in late summer. This cultivar is said to remain strongly upright. Sorghastrum nutans 'Indian Steel' - Indian Grass - Sorghastrum 'Indian Steel' is a dramatic, quite hardy, stately blue grass. It is clump-forming with an upright, open habit typically growing 3-5' tall, but occasionally taller. It features slender (1/2" wide), blue-green leaf blades (8-12" long) which turn yellow in fall and retain some gold colour throughout winter. Narrow, feathery panicles (to 12" long) of tan-yellow flowers appear well above foliage in late summer to early fall. Panicles turn bronze in fall and continue to provide interest into early winter.

These plants are available at the nursery now!

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Phoenix Perennials and Specialty Plants Ltd.
One of the largest and most exciting selections of perennials in Canada.
3380 No. 6 Road, Richmond (Between Bridgeport and Cambie)

Please visit our web page for information on the nursery, driving directions and a map.
We are near the south end of the Knight Street Bridge and very easy to get to from all of the surrounding municipalities and beyond.

Opening Dates and Hours
February 24th to October 29th, 2017

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