Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Giant Reed

Bitter cold is back. It snowed last night and the wind blew and it is only 5 degrees F outside this morning.

Jim and I had waffles and sausages for breakfast, topped with big scoops of blueberries from my garden that I had frozen. They were tart! What a treat to taste the bounty of my garden on such a winter's day.

The snow accumulation wasn't much here, although other parts of New England got a foot, and there was much disruption. Our tour of the Masonicare assisted living facility in Wallingford (yes, some day I will leave this garden) was canceled.

So the day will be spent indoors dreaming of next summer's plants. Here's one:

I really want to grow variegated giant reed, Arundo donax 'Peppermint Stick'.  I think that is what we photographed at Chanticleer last June.

It just popped in the sunlight with that clear white striped foliage, and although it is huge, it arches over gracefully and kind of fits in with other mounding perennials. Could it possibly fit in my garden?

Could I put it at the back of the Birch Garden where the agastache was? That back corner needs an anchor plant. Would it stay put or spread terribly?

We saw more giant reeds at Chanticleer, planted among some emerging globe alliums, and the contrasting structure was beautiful. These were much smaller, a newer planting perhaps.

I have tried tropical looking foliage plants before (canna in a pot) and it doesn't fit my garden's style, but I was pretty tentative about it. I only planted one canna in a pot that was too small, and simply set it in the gravel garden.

If I want to try this big bold plant, I need to commit to planting it in a prime spot and among things that will complement it. Here is the Birch Garden with the agastache in the spot I am considering:

There are plenty of mounding foliage things in this garden. Toward the back last year the strappy sword-shaped foliage of irises and blackberry lilies started to fill in there. So I think the forms would complement.

The agastache was a beautiful plant that I miss now, but it was too similar to the large mounds of nepeta in the front of this garden. Repetition is good, but that was a lot of blowzy purple, front and back.

Do I think a big, dramatic stand of eye-grabbing foliage that looks like a shock of corn would go at this corner?

I dunno.

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