Stipa Arundinacea This evergreen ornamental grass is referred to as being frost hardy, an indication that it may not survive in the North East of Scotland.
Well think again, here is Stipa Arundinacea above in our Aberdeen garden in early Summer after coming through the Winter unscathed. I have to say the Winter had been a lot milder than the previous two very severe ones.
The arching effect is very attractive and I will be very disappointed if it gives up the ghost in this coming Winter.
Stipa Arundinacea is also known as the Pheasants tail grass, reason for this may be apparent in my other pictures. The label on the plants which we purchased named it as Stipa Arundnacea, however it seems that this ornamental grass also goes under the name, Anemanthele Lessonniana, so take your pick.
In Spring and Summer the arching leaves are a dark green and small insignificant flowers of a purple shade are produced in August. We planted these grasses in a West facing border. The two pictures below give a good example of the growth, first photo taken in July, the second in August, see how the growth has competely hidden the water feature in a four week period.
By the time early Autumn arrives the flowering stems and seed heads have turned orangey brown completely hiding the green foliage which still persists under this frothy mass.
October arrived and the grasses had completely hidden two Flower Carpet Roses which we had planted in the Spring.
Hardiness – Frost hardy
Position – Full sun/partial shade
Soil – Medium to light, must be free draining
*** Stipa arundinacea ***
I will take this opportunity to highlight some other grasses in our garden, some planted directly in the borders and some in tubs.
Carex Elata Bowles Golden Aurea
This Carex has been in an East facing border for a number of years and has a similar habit to the Stipa above which I highlighted.
The golden foliage is edged in a dark shade of green which is only noticeable when viewed up close. Carex is a Sedge rather than a grass and Elata looks best of all in a semi shaded position or even heavy shade for that matter, where it can light up an otherwise dull border. Bulks up nicely with an arching habit reaching a height of about 80cm.
This Carex is fully hardy and at the end of Winter cut it hard back before the new shoots start to appear.
As you can see below in the East facing border we have this Carex planted in a similar manner to that of the Stipa which is in the West.
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Blue Fescue Grass
Blue Fescue is said to be fully hardy and any problem I had with it in the past I think is down to having planted it in a position that was not free draining. For several years now I have had this one in a pot where it seems to thrive. This past Autumn I decided to divide it after being in the same container for five years, I now have four plants. There is a suggestion that when planted directly in the ground it gets tatty looking after three years or so.
Blue Fescue responds well to being cut back hard in late Winter. The fine blue fronds show up best in the earlier part of the year and colour is best of all when kept on the dry side and in full sun.
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This one also known as the (Red Hook Sedge) is a newcomer in our garden and I have chosen also to grow this one in a pot. Well I think it is more of a necessity rather than choosing as it isn’t fully hardy, will stand temp down to -5c. Uncinia Rubra has amazing shiny red foliage which is at its very brightest in late Spring/early Summer, not that it ever gets dowdy.
We have two of these evergreen New Zealand grasses, or should I say Sedge planted in terracotta pots, one of them flowered in early September, dark brown unattractive flowers letting me know that this plant is all about the foliage. I placed them both in the unheated greenhouse in early November and am pretty confident that this will give enough Winter protection.
Hardiness – Frost hardy down to -5c
Position – Prefers full sun
Height – 30cm/12″
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A crisp sunny November morning felt just right for a visit to Hazlehead Park. The park is situated just on the outskirts of the city. Covering an area of over 180 hectares granted to the city under part of the freedom lands in 1319. The land at a later date did fall into private ownership and it wasn’t until 1920 that the city council bought it back.
The road to the park is accessed just off one of the wealthiest areas of the city. There are two roads leading to the park divided by a dry stane dyke. One of the roads was specifically for the use of tramcars or trolley cars, the tramcars were still in use up to the late 1950s. The other road running parallel was for buses and cars, not that working class folk like us had cars in the 1950s.
This is the road just opposite the park gates looking good on a late Autumn day.
Lets go through the gate.
When we were kids in the 1950s we would tell others how it had taken two hours to get ourselves back out of the maze. A visit with my six year old grandson a couple of years ago was a little different when to his disgust I told him we would sneak out through a gap in the hedging.
Within the park there is two large Rose Gardens. Within these gardens is a memorial to the men, many of whom were local who died in the Piper Alpha oil rig disaster of 6th July 1988
If you happen to leave a comment I will be sure to visit your site and do the same