August 8th – Falling in Love
OK, I should be totally honest from the start – I love plants. Almost all of them, except perhaps Euphorbias and a few others, but even then, I make exceptions. Every now and then you see a plant and there is that major WOW factor to it – that notion of I don’t care how much it costs – that is coming home with me. That happened this weekend with a grass at Farmington Gardens.
Grasses are somewhat of a new passion for me. Having tried to maintain a suburban lawn, my view on grass was that it was more trouble that it is worth. It is fussy, demanding, and never really looks that good. Many a time when grasses go to seed, they look untidy at best and totally ugly in many cases. But I have warmed to many of the ornamental grasses. They really do look quite magnificent when massed – especially when the wind is blowing through them. It creates a very dynamic element to a landscape.
The grass that really caught my eye was Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Standing Ovation’. The photograph does little to capture the amazing colors in this grass. Too bad I didn’t have my camera with me to take a photo of a large mass of them. The main color is almost a teal with many other colors, particularly red, flecked throughout. Fall color consists of shades of red and maroon, with retention of such colors continuing late in the season.
Schizachyrium scoparium is commonly called ‘little bluestem’. It is happy in just about any open areas such as prairies, fields, roadsides, and open woods. It ranges from Alberta to Quebec, south to Arizona and Florida. ‘Standing Ovation’ is a cultivar that was discovered as a mutation in Landenberg, Pennsylvania in 2003.
The weather this month was fairly typical for August, but a tad cooler than last year. The high was 77, low 48 and an average of 58.6. That compares to 85 for the high last year, 50 for the low and an average of 60. Rainfall continues the ongoing trend for this year – down. Now I could be dramatic and say it is down 25% from 1.43″ to 1.11″, but since that is only just a little over 1/4″ I guess it is also no big deal. However, it sure would be nice to have a month with about last years total. We did record what I think is the strongest wind gust we have experienced at 64mph and on average wind speeds were higher than last year.