miscanthus sinensis adagio or ???

sunleafmoonApril 25, 2009

Hello Gardenwebbers! Thank you so much for the generosity of your advice.

I hope you can help me decide if Miscanthus sinensis "Adagio" would be appropriate to my purposes, and if not, what else you might suggest.

I have a wide stone walkway leading up to my front door, facing south, with a wall running along it on the west side. Between the walkway and the wall is a narrow (approx. 2 1/2 x 16 ft) strip of.....well, currently it is just dirt and ivy. I plan to dig out the ivy and amend the clay soil. The area gets full morning and early afternoon sun.

I have never attempted to grow ornamental grasses, but I absolutely love them and was thinking it might be so enjoyable to see "Adagio" in this location. However there are considerations:

----heavy rain sometimes causes water to pool in this area for a brief time

----due to having to clip grasses to the ground in late winter, would this area be unsightly in spring until new growth appears? My concern is that it would be very noticeable, as the area leads to the front door.

----if unsightly, would a second, shorter grass in front of it (liriope?) help soften the effect?

Thank you so much for any advice you can offer!

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donn_(7b-8a)

'Adagio' is a stunning grass, which may work well to soften the wall and spill out a little over your walkway, but...

Let's take your questions in order:

"----heavy rain sometimes causes water to pool in this area for a brief time "

If you're going to dig out the ivy and amend the soil, this would be a perfect time to fix the drainage issue. Consider installing a french drain alongside the walkway, and you won't have any ponding in the future.

"----due to having to clip grasses to the ground in late winter, would this area be unsightly in spring until new growth appears? My concern is that it would be very noticeable, as the area leads to the front door."

"Unsightly" is in the eye of the beholder. Personally, I enjoy the look of a herd of hedgehogs squatting in my garden. If you wait until the grass shows signs of new life before trimming, the hedgehog will sprout quickly and you can admire it's early foliage growth.

"----if unsightly, would a second, shorter grass in front of it (liriope?) help soften the effect?"

Yes, it would, but you barely have enough room in this strip for 'Adagio' as it is. When the Miscanthus grows out, it will overpower Liriope, and shade it into oblivion.

Another option is spring flowering bulbs. Install a bunch of your favorite bulbs in front of and beside the grasses, and they will steal the spring show from the trimmed grasses. By the time the bulbs' foliage is due to be trimmed back, the grass will be filling out.

There are lots of OG options to 'Adagio' which may work better in this space. Consider cool season grasses or Sedges. Grasses like Festuca, Helichtotrichon and Calamagrostis will start filling in earlier than warm season grasses like Miscanthus. Sedges (Carex) could be semi-evergreen in your zone, and may not require a full trim every year.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 7:16AM
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sunleafmoon

WOW! Thank you so much, donn!
Your advice makes perfect sense. I will print out your post, research the other grasses you mention, make a decision and put together a plan.

Only one thing.....what is a "french drain"?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 3:00AM
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