Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What an odd bloom!

My first impression of the inflorescence on Sesleria heufleriana, blue-green moor grass: odd.  Any grass blooming in black and white is a bit unusual to me.  I should probably disclose I am a grass-aholic, so any wierd, unusual, or unknown hardy grass is on my gotta-have-it list.  I may be the only person in Alaska growing any kind of Sesleria.  I hope not, but I've never seen one on a garden tour, at a public garden, or for sale anywhere up here.  I've never even heard the genus name uttered aloud.  How's that for obscure?  Ornamental grasses are just now gaining traction in gardening circles here in the 49th state and this unusual beauty is not flying off the shelves.  It's not even on the shelves.  Thankfully, with increased awareness should come increased demand, and perhaps even local availability.  A girl can hope, can't she? 

Briza media on left with Sesleria heufleriana at right, C. 'Overdam' top and bottom of photo.

Warm season grasses tend to sulk in our cool, short summers.  I have a laundry list of unfortunates that haven't made it.  Luckily, cool season grasses seem to thrive here in Anchorage.  I never met one that didn't grow for me, and blue-green moor grass is no exception.  Taking into consideration it's size at planting last spring, which was a measly 4 or 5 blades, it is nothing short of amazing that blooms appeared that same year.  I have three specimens happily inhabiting my gravel-covered front yard (see picture, below), nestled amongst Briza media, and Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Avalanche', 'Eldorado', and 'Overdam'.  Other near-by perennials include yarrow (Achillea 'Paprika' and 'Terracotta'), Monarda 'Marshall's Delight', and Salvia 'Dear Anja.' 

Achillea 'Terracotta' top left, Calamagrostis 'Overdam', 'Eldorado', and 'Karl Foerster' background, Sesleria heufleriana midground with Briza media in front, and Monarda 'Marshall's Delight right foreground

I acquired the plant in spring of 2008, so my experience is short and sweet, but thus far it has withstood the vagaries of weather (no mean feat here), the comings and goings of kids on foot and bike, and fertilization by dog.  Not too shabby.  Additionally, it has not been bothered by the moose, a major point in its favor for Alaskans.  Blue-green moor grass is low maintenance and good looking, the horticultural "holy grail" for me at least.  I am definitely looking forward to trying other members of the Sesleria genus in my zone 3/4 garden in the future.


flowers said...

They seems to be really odd that is not taken care of. Your blog looks perfect. The way of presenting the information looks good.

Christine B. said...

I appreciate your compliment about the blog look.


Nell Jean said...

I came here by way of Blotanical, where you have messages waiting in your 'Plot' -- I found it helpful to read the FAQ under the Help tab at Blotanical to find my way around.

I once worked with a nurse who had lived in Alaska. She laid to rest some of the myths I'd heard. Your garden is lovely.

Deborah Elliott said...

I enjoyed your post - it is interesting to see what is growing so far away in Alaska. Amazing, I have monarda 'Marshalls Delight' growing in my own garden here in Alabama. I like the way you have complemented it with the grasses. Very nice.

Christine B. said...

@Deborah Elliott
I love the Monarda because the moose don't care for it. It must be a durable plant if it can make it in Alabama and Alaska!


Christine B. said...

@Nell Jean
Thanks for the welcome and the garden compliment. Still trying to figure out blotanical. I'll figure it out soon(I hope).

Kalipso said...

I am also very fond of grasses, they bring movement to the garden. Love your blog and decided to follow it.


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