It was a tough choice this month, but the judges determined that Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Overdam’ played both the crucial starring and supporting roles in the Last Frontier Garden. One judge was overheard to say, '’Without it, this garden has the structure and dimensional qualities of a Monopoly board,” another: “no point in looking out the window between November and June if it wasn’t there.” And my personal favorite, “it gives the illusion she knows what she’s doing.” Don’t be too hard on those critical judges…this being the age of full disclosure and all, the “judges” are in actual fact, me.
Where: Full sun is ideal, but in my experience, part day shade is acceptable. More upright in full sun.
When: Early spring (that’d be May here) through early to mid winter (December or January but depends on location and how deep the snow is), flowering begins in late June or early July here in Alaska.
How: Enjoys good garden soils that are irrigated, but can handle heavy clay and what the rain brings (we get about 16 inches of precipitation annually, by the way), I never fertilize and they look great. Cut down in early spring to about two or three inches.
1. Nothing much happening in early spring here except the occasional bulb…and this grass. The first perennial up and growing in my garden. Covers ripening bulb foliage as it leafs out. And honestly, who wants to look at those decaying daffodil or Allium leaves?
2. I’ve never had to treat for pests or diseases and never staked it. Since I”m a low maintenance gardener (code for lazy), I could stop my list right there and be satisfied.
3. It looks good with any color as a neighbor, including toughies (OK, for me at least) like raspberry, scarlet, and orange-y gold.
4. Linear leaf shape compliments coarse leaf shapes like oriental poppies that can be difficult to place.
5. When used in quantity, can provide rhythm.
6. Moves in the lightest breeze, animating the garden.
7. Provides a pleasing rustling sound as it sways, that is if you can hear it over the neighbor’s annoying dog barking. Quiet, Chester, quiet!
8. Seven reasons is all I do…if you’ve had experience with it and can add another reason, please comment.
Had any experience with this grass? What was your favorite plant for June?