OENOTHERA (Evening Primrose). Group of rapidly spread-
ing plants with pink or yellow simple flowers. Choose from:
Siskiyou. Fragrant, 2" pink blooms
on a petite plant. Classy; vigorous. Needs sharp drainage.
2" bright yellow flowers;
short, good foliage. Silver
Blade has 3-4 flowers.
Silver is similar, 2 pale yellow flrs. youngii
(Sundrops). 18". Smaller flowers on more upright
plants; leaves tinged
red. Spreads rapidly.
OMPHALODES cappadocica. 6-10. Light sky-blue flowers in Spring.
Part to full shade: woodland. Zone 5 or warmer.
(Prickly Pear Cactus). A real cactus, hardy in Zone 5. Broad
flat 4" leaves stay close to the
ground. Yellow flowers come from leaf tips, sometimes followed
by red fruits. Needs sharp drainage.
ORIGANUM (Oregano, Marjoram). We like laevigatum
an ornamental with dark foliage and dark pink blooms. There
are several similar selections as well.
AND LOOK-ALIKES. Several families and species valued for
foliage and for flowers (or seedheads) in the landscape. The
best give structure to the garden and persist into the winter,
adding drama to the winter landscape. Many are good in both
fresh and dried arrangements. These are usefully divided into
There are some plant families which are not truly grasses,
but perform similarly in the landscape and are included here
(bamboo, carex, liriope, beardless iris). Grasses listed here
are warm season unless otherwise noted. We haven't included
full scientific names on the grasses unless really necessary
--they are jawbreakers! Many of the grasses and their cousins
listed are rated in references for Zone 6 or 7 but have proven
perfectly hardy in Zone 5. Weve been growing them here (on
the edge of Zone 4) since 1988 and have never lost any to
Most of our grasses are offered in 1-gallon pots. Its better
to buy two or three of these than one 3- or 5-gallon container.
Grasses are among the most successful>
(Diamond Grass) One ft. weeping tufts give rise to 3 ft. stems
of feathery rose flowers.
ACORUS (Sweet Flag). For damp,and downright wet, places.
Variegatus. Green and white variegation. 24
30 derivative of our native sweet flag. Zone 5.
gramineus (Japanese sweet flag) 18
Ogon. A choice
10" gold & green plant, evergreen.
8 10 White and green semi-evergreen
plant; needs moisture, tolerates standing water. Zone 5.
ALOPECURUS (Foxtail Grass) pratensis
Aureovariegatus. 12-14". Gold striped leaves. Part
(Big Blue Stem). 4-6 ft. grass of the American tall grass
prairie. Silvery-blue foliage, bronze in Fall. Limited supply.
ARRHENATHUM (Bulbous Oat Grass) Cool>
(Giant Reed). The green form easily reaches 12'. Versicolor,
the variegated form, is a little shorter. Both look like corn
plants on steroids. Marvelous plants at the edge of a large
BAMBOO. See Phyllostachys, Pleioblastus, Sasa.
(Quaking Grass). 24-36". The seed heads of this cool>
CALAMAGROSTIS (Feather Reed Grass). 72". A very columnar
grass with somewhat insignificant flowers. Best tall grass
for holding its shape during winter. Striking vertical accent
from July on. Karl
Foerster was 2001 Perennial Plant of the Year. Overdam
CAREX (Sedge). Clump forming evergreen plants which like
moisture and shade. Excellent near water. Narrow leaves, mounding
habit. Weird insignificant flowers in Spring.
Variegated Sedge). 6". Green
with white variegation. Likes shade.
Bowles Golden. 2-3 ft. Best gold sedge, narrow
green edge. Limited.
Swirling mound; leaf has broad
gold edge, green center. Evergreen, even here!
Ice Dance. 12x12". Improved, if slightly smaller,
m. Variegata. Drought
tolerant, and vigorous
Variegata. 18". Dark green leaves, white edge.
(Palm Sedge). 24-36". Great Lakes native
with a growth habit that looks tropical. Creeps, but slowly.
Yellow after frost. Hardy to Zone 4, at least.
(Drooping Sedge). 2-3 ft. dark green leaves, arching
(Wood Sedge). wide v-shaped blades of deep
forest green. Evergreen and tough! To Zone 4.
(Northern Sea Oats). 30". Fresh light green leaves; multiple
attractive seed heads droop from flower stalk in late summer.
Excllent for drying. Will self sow, but not invasive. Shade
or sun. A favorite.
(Tufted Hair Grass). 24" clumps like moisture, sun or
part-shade. Airy panicles add another foot of height in summer.
We carry both the species and cultivar Goldgehaenge.
is an exceptional variegated cultivar, which has a pink blush
SYMBOL>2003 Phoenix Flower Farm Page 23
very striking plant. Fairys
Joke is 18, with shaggy tan seed fronds. Hair grass is
(Blue Lyme Grass). Effective height 12 - 24". Very blue
leaves up to 1/2" wide on stout rhizomes.
Rapid spreader; planted in a contained space it will form
dense drifts or mounds.
(Horsetail, Scouring Rush). To 48". Striking vertical
accent beside pools and in Japanese gardens. Ancient native
plant. Sun, part shade. Zone 2. NEW
(Sand Love Grass). 4 ft. erect clusters of dark green,
slightly arching foliage. Long airy panicles appear in June
and last thru late summer. This form thrives in light sandy
soil in full sun. Good cut flower.
(Ravenna Grass, Northern Pampas Grass). Dense green clumps
reach 4 - 5 feet; the bloom scapes rise above them to 12 feet
in late summer. Magnificent in a site of sufficient scale.
ERIOPHORUM (Cotton Grass) . Bright white cottony heads to
2 in May-June; vigorous 24 plants that spread by long scaly
(Blue Fescue). Syn. F.
glauca or F. ovina
(Sheep's Fescue). Short tufts of fine leaves, flowers insignificant.
Elijah Blue (8")
seems to be the best cultivar. Good front-of-the-border accent
but requires division every 2 to 3 years to look its best.
To Zone 4.
HAKONECHLOA (Hakone Grass, Japanese Forest Grass) Macra
Aureola is the gold variegated form, resembling a
clumping bamboo. It is an elegant 18 accent for part shade
areas, particularly weeping over a ledge. Yes, it grows in
Zone 5. Macra
a white-striped green form. We also have basic greena good
(Blue Oat Grass). Fine-leafed 12 to 18" clump. Flower
panicles add 12 - 18" in early summer. Useful>Sapphire
is an improved selection. Cool>
Albovariegatus (Variegated Velvet Grass). Spreading, mat-forming
evergreen with near white varieg-ation. Purplish white flower
spikes in summer. Cool>
(Bottlebrush Grass). Three foot native with distinctive
seed heads, works in part shade.
IRIS spp. (Beardless Iris). Most beardless species and their
cultivars fill similar landscape niches to the grasses. In
Central New York, Siberian cultivars are most useful, being
pH tolerant and giving the best fall foliage color. Seed pods
are distinctive and excellent dried. See IRIS.
Page 24 SYMBOL>2003
Phoenix Flower Farm
JUNCUS (Rush) For wet areas. Effusus
Screw Rush) 18-24. Dramatic, twisted stems.
is a more delicate form. Both are fine in standing water.
Tenuis (Path Rush) forms short, dense tufts of emerald
LIRIOPE (Lily Turf). 8-12". In central New York, species
are hardy. They benefit from some sun here--are otherwise
very slow to show growth in spring. We like best muscari
Variegata with its spikes of purple flowers (like grape
hyacinth) in late summer. Spicata
is a vigorous spreader with insignificant white flowers. We
recommend it as a groundcover for hard-to-mow areas in light
shade to sun.
(Greater Wood Rush). Ever-green clumps to 12". Ideal
for moist humusy soils. Also Nivea
(Snowy Wood Rush).
MISCANTHUS spp. (Maiden Grass, Japanese Silver Grass, etc.).
Typically large, loose, graceful>
floridulus) (Giant Chinese Silver Grass)
Sends up canes as much
as 2" thick and 16' tall. A fine background
plant in a large space. (Dried stalks can be used
as plant supports in the garden!).
Autumn Light. Robust dark green with narrow white
center; handsome inflorescence. Very hardy.
An outstanding Variegatus-type cultivar: white
center, green edge.
Cosmopolitan. Reverse of Cabaret; excellent!.
Dixieland. 3-4 ft dwarf form of s.
4-5 ft. Dk foliage, wht rib, red seedhead.
Like most of these cultivars,
a hybrid of M. sinensis,
but a very old one. Fine-textured
and very narrowly striped white, it forms a
Graziella. 5-6 ft. White plumes on slender foliage.
Malepartus. Robust grower with large flowers that start
pink-purple, turn silver. Good Fall color.
48-60". Slender green leaves with narrow
white vertical variegation. Few flowers stalks but the
foliage curls as it dries and persists well into the fall.
The most delicate and
refined appearance in this family.
Our best dwarf Silver grass, to about 4 ft. here.
The plume is neatly separated from the slender foliage.
(Little Dot). 36". A dwarf Zebra Grass.
4-5 ft. Fine textured, silvery foliage; an
Silberfeder. One of the more rapidly spreading varieties.
The inflorescences really do look like silver feathers
with sunlight shining through them. Lax habit.
(Silver Arrow). 5-7 ft. Highly variegated.
white variegation; different from Morning
Light--larger and more dramatic. The standard variegated
Yaku Jima. 4-5 ft. For small gardens. Its compact, fine
textured foliage lasts
well into Winter.
s. Zebrinus (Zebra
Grass) These are hard
to tell apart. Porcupine Grass is supposed
to be somewhat more hardy and more upright in habit.
Both have broad upright green leaves banded creamy
yellow. Nice vertical accent with coreopsis
'Moonbeam' and similar
yellow perennials. To 6 ft. Tolerant
of moisture and some shade.
Molinia (Moor Grass). Characterized by low clumps of foliage,
with seed heads on much taller stalks. The seed heads are
loose and airy, somewhat like Switch Grass. Caerulea
Variegata (24-30" overall) has a creamy yellow-white
linear variegation. C.
arundinacea Skyracer is distinguished by gray-green
foliage to 36" and flower spikes to 7 feet.
OPHIOPOGON (Mondo Grass) A grass-like ground cover resembling
liriope. We offer planiscapus
which has purple-black leaves. Listed for Zone 6 but we have
grown it in Zone 5 for many years. Increases at a moderate
(Switch Grass). Native North American grass distinguished
by its airy seed panicles in late summer. Green foliage turns
yellow and red in fall. Cultivar Heavy
Metal has a distinct blue cast and is more upright --
a real star. Cloud
Nine is similar but hardier, to Zone 2. Shenandoah
develops red-purple leaf color as early as June and maintains
it through the season (a much-improved Rotstrahlbusch).
PENNISETUM (Fountain Grass). The plentiful>Hameln is
the standard variety, but check out the variations.
Hameln (Dwarf Fountain Grass). 24-36".
Little Bunny. 12-18" miniature.
Little Honey. Silver variegated Little Bunny.
Near-black seed heads, shiny leaves. Slow
to bloom. Takes shade.
Karley Rose. 36-40. Elegant clumps of dark
green, intense smokey-rose flowers June through
rubrum (Purple Fountain Grass). 36-48". Too bad
this spectacular grass isn't hardy. So showy, though, that
people willingly treat it as an annual.
Small form. Nice in pots.
PHALARIS (Ribbon Grass). 24-36". Green and white irregularly
variegated, invasive grass. In sun it should be cut back in
midsummer, as it bleaches and flops. In part shade it is better
behaved in both ways, and less invasive. Confine it, or use
as a groundcover. A cool>
PHYLLOSTACHYS (Bamboo). For us, this reaches 12 ft. Spreads
quite rapidly, so best firmly confined. We are not sure which
species this is, probably Yellow Groove.
(Variegated Bamboo). 3'. Yellow leaves with variable stripes.
Best coloring in sun and good soil.
SASA A broad-leafed bamboo. Limited quantity.
(Little Blue Stem) is a native American prairie grass suited
to dry hills and open woods. It grows to about 3 feet for
us. Fine textured leaves are topped by open seed heads; the
plants turn a rich red-gold in the Fall. This grass displays
very well in drifts. The
Blues is a fine cultivar, distinctly blue, and nicely
upright, great Fall color.
SCIRPUS (Bullrush). Easy to grow; for wet areas.
(Head Rush). 20" Flowers July-August.
(Albescens). Round stems, cream stripes, 5 ft.
Zebrinus (Zebra Rush). 4 ft. Horizontal gold
banding on deep green, narrow leaves.
(Blue Moor Grass). 6-12". For the sunny rock garden,
silver flower in Spring. Sadlerana
is grown for its rigid leaves and drought tolerance.
(Indian Grass) was a major tall-grass prairie species. Foliage
clumps to 3 ft., with flower heads another 2-3 ft. above the
foliage. Sioux Blue
has a rich blue-gray foliage color. A wonderful>
(Prairie Cord Grass), 4-5 ft. Aureomarginata
has a very thin gold edge that highlights the broad, green
blades. Aggressive spreader used for erosion control. Attractive
in dried arrangements.
48-60". Blooms July and August. Great red Fall foliage.
TYPHA (Cattail). Besides being attractive in dried arrangements,
cattails serve as very efficient filters, grabbing impurities
from water. Latifolia
is the local common cattail. Minima
is only 24"--ideal for a small pool.
End of ornamental grasses SYMBOL>
Rosea (Strawberry Oxalis). 4-6". Showy rose-pink
flowers over shamrock-like leaves, for shade. Z5.