Nyssa sylvatica #2 (Black Tupelo)August 25, 2020
Penstemon hirsutus #1 (Hairy Beardtongue)August 25, 2020
Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’ #2 (Switchgrass)
Switchgrass is one of the “Big Four” dominant grasses of the tallgrass prairie ecosystem. It is very deeply rooted, allowing it to find moisture in times of drought, and nutrients in very poor soils. It is one of the most widely planted native ornamental grasses in eastern North America due to its reliability, adaptability and beauty. ‘Shenandoah’ is a cultivated variety of our native Panicum virgatum, bred for its bright red coloration in fall. Even the flowers of this grass are deep red! It is slower growing and shorter in stature, maxing out at 3′ in height and 2′ wide, making it an excellent ornamental grass for smaller garden settings. Its tips begin turning red in June and continues reddening up into the fall. This plant needs to be grown in full sun to maintain its best coloration and beautiful, fountaining, upright habit. If given too much moisture, shade, or fertilizer, this grass can have a tendency to flop.
Switchgrass can be used as an herbaceous hedge in the garden, used to screen unsightly views, planted as a backdrop to prairie and meadow flowers, or used to control erosion. This elegant cultivar was used extensively as a matrix planting in New York’s High Line garden, designed by Piet Oudolf. It provides excellent winter interest as it rustles in the wind and it remains a substantial architectural element in the landscape. It can be cut back in spring before new growth begins, the only maintenance this grass needs to look tidy in the garden.