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.
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.
The clumps of tall grass stalks and the mass of tiny seeds make me think of clouds on a forested mountain.
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.
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.
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.
I like looking at our native grasses at this time of year too. I’m waiting for big bluestem to flower.
I didn’t post any pictures, but this fall I planted two Big Bluestem ‘Red October’.
I agree…love the grasses and seed heads appearing this time of year. Northwind is one of my favorites.
I have several clumps of grasses. Some need dividing which is a fair amount of work, but a friend asked for some so that will bring a smile. 🙂
Dividing grasses can be a very big job. Grasses like to stay put, so they won’t make it easy on us.
The season of grasses speaks to me too.
It’s even better when the colors of the grasses change.
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.
The Sea Oats will seed quite a lot. Before the seedheads shatter maybe cut them and bring them inside for a floral arrangement.
Beautiful images of your grasses! I love the Northern Sea Oats. I’m so glad I added it after seeing/reading about it on your blog and others. It has so much personality, and it thrives in shade!
It will thrive in shade, sometimes a little too much. It’s a beautiful grass, but you need to keep an eye on it.
Beautiful grasses Jason. They are one of the glories of autumn. My Panicums are always rather stunted but I still like them. Thanks foe joining GBFD this month, it’s always interesting to see what you have growing.
Have you ever thought of trying little bluestem? It’s shorter and more adapted to dry conditions.
Yes I have it, thank you.
I love grasses Jason, especially in the Autumn, however, over the last month we have had a lot of rain which has left some of mine a little bedraggled. Yours all look stunning though.
Thanks. One good thing about Panicums is that they are very upright. When they get bedraggled here it is usually after a wet snow.
I like the way you (or Judy?) captured the light. It really makes the seedheads shine, which is one of the best aspects of grasses.
This was Judy, and when the quality of the photographs is good or better that is usually the case.
Not a total convert to grasses, but given the space they do look good.
It took me a while to appreciate grasses, I’m still mainly a colorful flower gardener. Too much subtlety makes me nervous.
Nice shots! I, too, love seadheads on grass, and you’ve got some beauties in this post.
Thanks, Laurie. I’ve also got some Big Bluestem but it is not yet mature.
Nice grasses, Jason especially Swamp Milkweed.
The Swamp Milkweed does go well with the Switchgrass.
They are all beautiful but my favourite is Northern Sea Oats, gorgeous it is!xxx
It is wonderful that grasses have become popular…I love the autumn plumes as they go to seed, I also love the way they catch the wind. Great photographs!
Thanks, Laurin. I lot of the Pennisetums I would like to grow do not do well here – you have to grow them as annuals. But still, you can’t beat Switchgrass and Little Bluestem!
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.
Black Walnut – ugh! There used to be a huge one right next to our back garden when we lived in Wisconsin. Definitely a challenge.
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.
I know, I’m getting that same feeling of seasonal dislocation.
Your grasses are looking great, especially the Northern Sea Oats (my fav) and Switchgrass. I love the life and movement grasses add to borders and of course you get great autumn/winter structure.
The movement is an important quality with their ability to sway in the wind.
I agree that grasses in late summer and fall are show stoppers…and then again all winter!
Though even my Switchgrass tends to get whomped by heavy, wet snow.