Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Foliage Follow-up: Green & Gray

Each month, following Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, Pam of Digging encourages us to celebrate the foliage in our gardens.  Although I'm a bit late getting to it, the view of the Mexican feather grass waving in the wind yesterday morning compelled me to take notice so I took my camera on a quick spin and captured a few foliage shots to share.

Mexican feather grass (Stipa tenuissima) has a reputation for being invasive in our climate.  Were I planting the back garden from scratch now, I'd probably make another selection, although frankly it isn't nearly as aggressive as other plants in my garden I consider more deserving of such a label (e.g., Geranium incanum and Euphorbia characias).  That aside, you can't beat it for adding movement in the garden.

Another grass I've used extensively is Sesleria 'Greenlee's Hybrid', shown here edging the flagstone path running through the front garden.  Like Festuca californica (not shown because I couldn't capture a good photo of it), it's a tidy plant and easy to maintain by comparison to Stipa tenuissima.  It also handles quite a bit of shade and stays relatively small.

Here it is again lining a path in the back garden


There's more Sesleria planted at the bottom of the slope but I didn't take a photo of it; however, I can't resist sharing a photo of the foxtail agaves (Agave attenuata) I planted down there as pups at least 3 years ago.  They were beautifully backlit by the morning sun.

There's not much color back there yet, although the Euphorbia 'Dean's Hybrid' surrounding the agaves has started to bloom.  It's a great filler and tolerant of the very dry conditions in this area.


Finally, I'm showcasing a new addition to my plant collection, received by mail order just last week.

This is Senecio candicans 'Angel Wings'.  I fell in love with it when I saw it advertised in an on-line nursery post.

My plant's still small but I gave it a good-sized pot to grow in.  As I'm not sure how much sun it'll be able to take when summer gets going here, the pot will allow me to move it around as needed.


For more foliage shots, visit Pam at Digging.


All material © 2012-2018 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

26 comments:

  1. I saw that Senecio on Peter's blog a few posts ago, and love the look of it too. I was very tempted when I saw it on Annie's website, but I had no clue what I'd do with it once I got it. That's a gorgeous shot of the Agave attenuata!

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    1. I'd no idea where I'd put the Senecio when I ordered it either, Alison - but I went ahead anyway. Putting it in a pot will allow me to adjust to its needs and guide me on suitable locations to put any future purchases in the ground.

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  2. That senecio -- you just sold me a plant!

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  3. What a beautiful plant the "Angel Wings" is. Good luck with it.

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  4. The feather grass is pretty - reminds me of Muppet heads! Love the backlit agave and anticipating the grandeur of 'Angel Wings!'

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    1. Mexican feather grass is prettiest when it's developing its delicate seeds, as it's now doing. It's at this point I've got to start grooming it to control its self-seeding - chore #1 for the coming weekend!

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  5. Oh yeah, Annies put the Senecio up on their FB page and I was hooked. There really is nothing to compare with the Stipa , and here in my small garden I found the seedlings really easy to control. I don't have it any more but I would put it in if a spot needed it.

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    1. I received a gentle rebuke - and a recommendation to use deer grass instead - from a California native plant advocate when I once extolled the virtues of Stipa tenuissima. I've managed to control it within my own garden with little difficulty too but I know CNPS has concerns about it creeping into wild areas.

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  6. Your agave/euphorbia combination is quite elegant - especially with that sunlight! :) Sadly, I've had to opt out on the Stipa as there would be nothing to stop it moving out of my garden into the surrounding wilds. It's so pretty...! I'm not familiar with the Sesleria - will have to keep an eye out for it as I could use some smaller grasses! Does it stay so green year-round?

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    1. Sesleria does stay green year-round, Amy. It benefits from a little clean-up after blooming but it's a low maintenance plant. It does better here with a little afternoon shade and I suspect it'd need that in your climate too.

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  7. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a more beautiful photo of Stipa tenuissima, and those Agave attenuata aren’t too bad either!

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    1. That grass is especially pretty when blowing in the wind, Loree, and we've had a LOT of wind of late.

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  8. Beautiful foliage views, and love the contrast between the airy stipa and succulent attenuata!

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    1. My garden isn't all about flowers even if it sometimes seems that way!

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  9. The first image shows the appeal of Mexican feather grass. If we could only look ahead and see what impact our choices of plants will have in the future, wonder if we'd ever get anything planted. I'm so impressed by your lovely combinations and variety in your garden.

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    1. I wonder if you've ever seen the TV series "Life After People," Susie. It provided some insights into what might happen if humans suddenly disappeared from the earth. It was interesting and more than a little disconcerting. I expect that my property would be overrun by mimosa trees, feather grass, and euphorbia within 10-20 years.

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  10. Wonderful, as always, to see so much fab foliage! Love the second shot showing the contrast of the agave with the other plants and the backlit foxtail agaves are stunning. I got a small 'Angel Wings' this winter and it sailed through our freezes in it's 4" plastic nursery pot with aplomb. It'll be interesting to compare notes on this plant later in the year. Well, if mine ever gets out of that tiny pot...

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    1. I'm glad your Senecio weathered your lingering winter cold, Peter. I hope mine copes as well with our summer heat.

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  11. Ooh, gorgeous Senecio! I thought I read in the Annies comments it likes it on the cool side(?).

    Someone's blog reported, I think, that Greenlee said that there's a native California Stipa that is a dead-ringer for Mexican feather grass, so people should just calm down about the dangers of S. tenuissima (beyond one's own garden). It is really, really appealing in a breeze--difficult to resist. There's an office building by the 405 in Irvine with a field of it, and it's soooooobeyoooootiful.

    The Seslaria is tidy looking. Sesleria caerulea has been in the garden here for at least 15 years, ever-so-slowly growing, never reseeding. Some plants, like some people, have such beautiful manners.

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    1. Annie's site says that the Senecio generally wants full sun but recommends some shade in hot summer areas. There are contradictions about temperature limitations among the sites posting information. One grower recommends keeping even nighttime temperatures above 55F, although Annie's says it only needs protection when the temperature reaches 20F.

      Sesleria is indeed a most well-behaved plant!

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  12. I love that Mexican feather grass. I haven't planted any because of the warnings about it, but every time I see it I just love it. Glad you are able to control it.

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    1. It DOES self-seed freely, Rachel, but the seedlings are easy to pull. You just need to be watchful. I can see how it could become troublesome in an untended or abandoned area, through.

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  13. The stipa and euphorbia are invasive here too. And snap,I bought the gorgeous senecio last year and I am delighted it survived our hard winter.

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    1. Peter (The Outlaw Gardener) said the Senecio also survived his tough winter in the Pacific Northwest. The trick here will be to see whether it can survive our hot, dry summer.

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