New Grass Love
Like all gardeners, I have my tried-and-true plants that I use in my garden as well as my clients’ gardens. I like them for several reasons—they perform well under our harsh growing conditions, provide season-spanning interest and require minimal care. They also tend to play well with others and know that if they dare run with scissors, they will not be invited back to my garden party. I don’t like fussy plants, and I’ve never had a client that’s asked for them, either.
Now how exciting is it to add new and interesting varieties to my fairly stringent list of go-to plants? I found several with Proven Winners and the first being ‘Cheyenne Sky’ Red Switch Grass. It has everything I look for in a new plant—interesting color, year-round interest and a certain bravado that laughs in the face of our 100+ degree summer and fall weather. The foliage is incredible—green and strappy with want-it-now russet red accents later in the summer and into the fall.
The size is fairly perfect, too. I often look for medium-sized plants that fit well into the landscape with other plants, while still small enough to showcase in a container. ‘Cheyenne Sky’ grows up to 3 feet tall, but with a spread of only 18 inches, so it won’t easily overtake your supporting plants. Add all that to its cold hardiness (-25 degrees), and you’ve got an ornamental grass that is pretty perfect.
If you want to try ornamental grasses in your garden this year, I encourage you to take the leap. Grasses add a wispy texture and graceful movement in the garden that is difficult to create with any other plant and ‘Cheyenne Sky’ is a great choice to tuck into the center of your perennial beds. Container gardeners can start with a large, brilliant planter in a shade of blue or green, then center ‘Cheyenne Sky’ in the middle and underplant with a ring of Superbells® Tequila Sunrise -- the red/orange/yellow hues of the flowers will beautifully complement the flaming grass foliage. For those wanting to use this grass in the garden, choose flowers that are perennial in our region, like Luscious® ‘Tropical Fruit’ Lantana and Tapien® Blue Violet Verbena. Remember I told you that I expect good plant behavior in order for a plant to be welcome? I think ‘Cheyenne Sky’ will earn a permanent place at my garden party—no running with scissors shenanigans with this ornamental grass.
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