September Grasses

This September has been rather warm, with now and then more than a hint of summer. Leaves are still green on plants both woody and herbaceous. However, my attention is often seized by seedheads on the grasses.

DSC_0654 switchgrass

Of all the grasses of September, I think Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is the most glorious. Judy took these pictures of ‘Northwind’ Switchgrass in the late afternoon.

DSC_0615 switchgrass

The clumps of tall grass stalks and the mass of tiny seeds make me think of clouds on a forested mountain.

DSC_0616 switchgrass

The Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) standing in shadow provides a nice background. In front, the leaves of the Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) are beginning to show just a little color.

DSC_0619 northern sea oats

The seeds of Northern Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) are just barely beginning to turn from green to tan. I’ve been cutting back some of the seeds to prevent too much self-sowing. Soon I may take a clump or two inside for a dried arrangement.


DSC_0662 little bluestem

In the Lampost Bed I planted a clump of Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) this year, a mix of straight species and the varieties ‘Jazz’ and ‘Carousel’. So far, I like ‘Jazz’ the best of all. It is compact and upright, with blue-green color.  It’s supposed to turn more purple later in autumn, but I’m waiting to see.


There’s also some Prairie Dropseed’ that’s been slow to bulk up and grow together.

To see more September foliage, check out Christina’s post at My Hesperides Garden.

35 Comments on “September Grasses”

  1. I am just now beginning to like these big clumps of grass. I know that sounds odd since they have been the sensation of late. I have one big grass that a friend gave me but she didn’t know what it was. It grows happily along the side yard. I have tried the Japanese Blood Grass but it moved around in sparse little stick ups that gave nothing to the garden. I now have the Sea Oats. They are my favorite so far. I like their bamboo look and then of course when those pretty little seed heads start showing up they are so cute. I hope I continue to think of them as cute when they go flouncing through the garden. I planted some Little Blue Stem just this past week. I am making a “blue” garden. I think they will fit right in. I can’t wait until they get as tall as expected.

  2. Beautiful photos! I love grasses too, although I haven’t had much luck with the perennials –apparently the one I chose didn’t like the Black Walnut toxin. I’d been told it was horribly invasive, but instead it just refused to thrive. We did have a fun corkscrew grass in the annual pots for a couple of years when I was letting my daughter choose the plants.

  3. With all the summer-like weather we’ve been having, I keep being surprised when I see the grasses in full fall bloom. Kind of been catching me off guard the last few days. I do find them to add a lot of interest to the garden, especially in the fall and winter.

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