Ornamental grasses laughing at the heat

This morning I dug up a dead azalea and I'm afraid that it won't be the only garden casualty this year. I have a large garden and I've had my sprinkler on for the past week. Despite the continuous watering, some plants are barely hanging on. I can't remember the last time we had a significant rainfall and we just had a record 12 days in a row of 100 or higher temperatures. And although we are approaching the end of August, September and October and usually hot and dry months here. I'm ready to move to Seattle!

One of the few plants that seem to be snubbing their noses at the weather are the ornamental grasses.

I just planted "Adagio" in 2005 and they really took off this year. This grass is not as tall as others (its maximum height is 3') and the plumes are pretty spectacular. I should also add that these are planted near a large yoshino cherry which shades it most of the day.

Here is another new one for me - "Tall Tales" (bottom right) - it was just planted last year.

Some of the other grasses are not looking their best. "Morning Light," which blooms much later in the fall, is looking thirsty and a tad ragged. Despite this, however, it usually comes through. Hopefully, I will have photos of it that I can post later.


  1. I've been using native ornamental grasses for years (Lindheimer muhly, pine muhly, Mexican feathergrass), and they are stalwart drought survivors. Lately I've been experimenting with non-native miscanthus and pennisetum; so far so good, but we've had an unusually wet summer. I'm glad to hear that 'Adagio' does so well for you, as that's one of the new ones I'm trying out.

  2. Are y'all under water restrictions up there? We're not (yet) in this part of Blount Co but they are really cracking down in Jefferson Co.

  3. I'm a big fan of ornamental grasses. I try to stick with the natives as much as possible because they can be so invasive. But that's me. You know--whatever.

  4. Phillip, there could be a lesson here on destiny or some such but this is your gardening blog. Nice grass.


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