Dancing Grasses

By Sydney Chandler

Most people don’t likely jump at the suggestion to explore a garden of grass. But visitors to the Oriental Grasses have the special opportunity to meet a variety of quirky characters. The garden has a pulse, and a sunny evening with a slight breeze seem to bring out personalities in each species.

The Feather Reed Grass shows off in the evening sun with its vibrant golden color and dancing movements. This thin grass is topped with tufts of seeds nearly ready to depart on their own adventures.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA‘Avalanche’ Feather Reed Grass

Taller and greener across the garden is the Giant Miscanthus. Its dramatic height gives visitors the ants-eye view in grass exploration. These broader leaves create a dense mass of bright green that towers over seven feet upward. Gazing skyward to look at grass is a very different perspective when exploring.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGiant Miscanthus

In another quadrant of the garden, three varieties of the Japanese Silver Grass and the purple Switch Grass show off their fashion-forward patterns and colors. Among the four grasses, they represent polka dots, stripes, vibrant color combinations, and fur-like textures.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA‘Strictus’ Japanese Silver Grass

It’s easy to anthropomorphize these varieties: they dance in the breeze, they proudly shine in the evening sun, and they reach energetically outward and upward. Meeting these grasses face-to-face is a great way to notice their intricate details, observe similarities and differences, and appreciate the species represented in the garden.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA‘Cheyenne Sky’ Switch Grass

Sydney Chandler is a Minnesota Master Naturalist Volunteer.

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