Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wild Flower Wednesday ~River Mist-ing River Oats



Aah...River Oats, Inland Oats or, as a friend refers to it "Oh My, Why Did You Plant That" is a native grass (native habitat) that lives happily at C&L.

C latifolium is a beautiful plant
with gracefully arching, wide green stems and

nodding clusters of oat like flowers or spikelets that are green

then turn brown with age. Aren't they gorgeous...and they rustle in the breeze!

Let me tell you the truth!
This plant will grow anywhere (zone 3 to 8); glades, stream banks, dry forests...anywhere!
Which brings us back to my "Oh my...you planted" statement.
When happy, it is a rampant self seeder and requires vigilance to catch the seedlings.
Think beautiful ground cover with several seasons of interest.

But don't get me wrong...all that self seeding is no turn off to me!
The real problem with Chas is that he is green~~ all during the spring and summer.
I have enough green strappy and pointed plants.

What I wanted was a great looking variegated grass that didn't flop in the shade!
A grass to echo and compliment the other grasses here at C&L.
Was I asking too much for a variegated native grass that could handle shade?
Everything I found required full sun!
It seemed like I was doomed to floppy grasses.


Until, I discovered this~~

Not bad looking considering it was just dropped off by a big brown truck!

Chasmanthus latifolium 'River Mist'....a variegated grass for shade! A variegated grass with beautiful arching stems and spikelets!
It was exactly what I wanted, but, for some reason I never ordered it!
I don't know why!
It was exactly what I wanted~~variegated, shade tolerant, will grow anywhere!

Returning home from Chicago to the sea of endless green leaves ~~
all those Susans and daylilies in waiting~~solidified my decision.
I immediately ordered three plants!

It really is a good looking River Oat

The plants arrived in perfect condition and were larger then I expected. Not huge, but decent sized and very healthy! I am really happy with the plants! Yes, they cost as much as a larger grass would be if purchased locally. But, I couldn't get it locally! If they perform at all like plain old River Oats and come true from seed...I will have enough to change the face of my shadier gardens.

If you have been hesitating to order this plant or wondering if you should~~take a look at how the variegation travels up the stems into the seed heads~~ Now, do yourself a favor and order them~~
before they're gone...I already ordered 5 more!

Gail

Gardeners, I think, dream bigger dreams than emperors.
Mary Cantwell


64 comments:

  1. Hello there Gail girl !
    We actually call these "Sea Oats" here and I had no idea they came variegated !! .. that is a big wow factor .. I love those seed heads .. I haven't thought of having any myself, even though I have a lot of ornamental grass .. but you have me wondering now : )
    I love that quote by the way .. it is SO TRUE : )

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  2. Joy, Good morning! Isn't it cool the way the seed heads are variegated! I can't wait to see if they come true from seed...then I will be able to share the bounty...What are your plans for the day? gail

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  3. Gail,
    I'm so happy you are enjoying your new plant! Like Joy I had no idea there was a variegated version.--Randy

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  4. Soon your shady garden will be light and bright with variegation.
    Donna

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  5. A variegated Chamanthiam!! whoa! Love the seed head being variegated too! In our area Chasmanthium is VERY vigorous in the reseeding arena. Nice looking but not what you want to deal with finding all its babies.

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  6. Interesting! I never knew what those oat-looking thingies were! I love the variegated and the regular.

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  7. My friends, I could use a vigorous grower to combat the vincas~~major and minor! Speaking of aggressive grasses the miscanthus 'morning light' is pretty aggressive, too...With the rain we've had this season I am pulling up seedlings everywhere! Anyone else finding this true?

    Gail

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  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  9. Argh! The link was to blogger for some reason. And my latest post is not showing on your sidebar either. You can delete this and I will fix the comment.

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  10. Good morning Gail, I am astonished that the seed head is also variegated! How wonderful! May this plant give you the pizzazz in the garden that it does in the photos. Nice looking for coming right off the big brown truck too.
    Frances

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  11. How pretty, Gail! The varigation is very striking--I can just imagine the gorgeous movement it will make in the wind. The seed heads are amazing with the continued varigation. I love that quote too--so true, so true. It sure does describe me! LOL!

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  12. Gail, I love this grass. I winter-sowed some and they're still eeny beeny (they're grass, so you figure they'd be bigger, but no matter!). We call Chasmanthium latifolium "northern sea oats" here and they are native here as well. :)

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  13. What a great tip !!
    Now I want Chasmanthus latifolium 'River Mist'. It's now on my list. Thanks.

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  14. Hi Gail, that certainly would change change the look of a shady area. I love variegated plants. I also love to bring the garden indoors and those lovely seed heads would be perfect in fall dried flower arrangements.

    Never heard of this one before.
    Marnie

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  15. These are beautiful, Gail! No wonder you ordered even more. I think they will make a lovely addition to your garden. I don't have a single ornamental grass in my garden--I pull so much "weedy" grass from the flowerbeds that I'm afraid to plant anything that might look like one of those. I did check out a book on grasses last winter, and I love the effect they have in the garden. Maybe I'll get brave enough next year to plant a few.

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  16. Really cool that the seedhead is also variegated. The white is nice and will light up the garden. I actually like river oats here. My only problem is that I can never tell if it is grass or river oats and I think I weed them all out. Occasionally some get through. Good thing.

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  17. Oooh... Gail, I see why you went and ordered 5 more of these beauties! I wonder whether these guys will all bleach out to the same color in the winter, or if you'll still see some variation in the browns then? (I hope so--that would make this plant even cooler!)

    I have the plain green river oats, but I like that--I need some plain green in my front yard, for sure. :) I might need to deadhead them this year, though, since I really don't have room for all of their progeny in my tiny front yard... at least the seedheads look good in winter arrangements, right?! :)

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  18. Wow, thanks for letting us know about that. I purchased what we call 'Inland Sea Oats' in Austin last year and yes, a friend at B.S. Nursery there laughed because she's always pulling it out of her garden. But it is doing so well and I so love the seedheads. I didn't know there was a variegated variety and to see the variegation on the seedheads - like I said, wow. I too wanted a brighter type of grass in my shady area so I have planted ‘Silver Shower’ (Ophiopogon jaburan) mondo grass, which gets about a foot high. It does the trick but of course, no beautiful seedheads. I can't wait to see how your plants do for you.

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  19. Kim/BSG, I can certainly send you any number of green plants! I have a hypericum that is hardy to zone 5...It has lovely all year interest! Just let me know! gail

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  20. Hi Gail~
    That really is an unusual looking grass. I don't think I've ever seen a variegated grass plant and how cool that even the seedhead is variegated. I bet it will create a lovely contrast to all of the other green growing in the garden.
    Happy day~ Karrita

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  21. Oh -- that's so pretty! I love green/white variegation. Let me tell you -- put one near your red Jacob for a stunning color combo!

    Cameron

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  22. That is a great-looking grass! Thanks for the tip; it's so hard to find grasses for shade. Sedges are usually more suitable, but they're not variegated!

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  23. Dear Gail,
    Gotta love that brown truck. LOL Mr. Meems always gets a little concerned but I always get real excited.

    I LOVE grasses and native grasses are helping me out in a few places this year. The first one with the oats ... of course reminds me of the ocean because of the sea oats I LOVE. The second one with its variegated characteristics are so perfect for your shady garden. You are a smart girl to order more while you are in the mood.
    Have a great day, my friend, and happy digging.
    Meems

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  24. This looks so great with the varietgated leaves. I really need to get myself some REAL ornamental grasses. Up until now, I've just been letting some of the grassy weeds alone to see what they do. SOMETIMES they end up looking pretty cool. Other times just a mess though.

    You asked about our School Garden. If you go to the categories section in my sidebar and click on "School Garden" you can see all my posts about it.

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  25. Wow Gail - I really like that grass!

    xxoo Lynn

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  26. Hi Gail....that is a beautiful grass....I love the seedheads, so pretty and delicate. A beautiful feature in your garden.......
    How will you plant them....in drifts...or dotted here and there?
    Whatever you decide they are going to look great......

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  27. Wow, it's variegated from the roots to the tips. Those seed heads are cool. Great plant Gail. I hope it helps you knock out the vinca!

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  28. Is it really a Wild flower? I bet they will be beautiful to dried.

    Take Care/Tyra

    Ps
    Does my posts look better now?

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  29. OOOooooo I love that varigated grass. Did I miss where you bought this grass?? I want some. I have admired the oat grass but I thought it looked too much like the weeds in my garden unless it had the seed heads on it. Now the varigated grass looks great. I have always wanted to live by a river, especially if it is misty.

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  30. Oh, my - striking, but I do hope that it's not as prolific as the straight species (which IS widely recommended as a native grass for whatever reason).

    We love our SE natives, but river oats is way too vigorous for me, even in the front meadow. I've been trying to eradicate it for several seasons!

    Cheers,
    Lisa

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  31. I...love...it. How dramatic and cool. I'm getting one.

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  32. The seed heads are very lovely on both types, but the variegation will brighten up the shade nicely. I'm really enjoying the various foliage of all my shade plants right now. The different leaves show up so much better in shade when they aren't washed out by the harsh sun.

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  33. Interesting -- I had no idea there existed a variegated No. River Oats. I can't believe the seeds are variegated too! I have been meaning to tell you that I think Wildflower Wednesday is a wonderful idea.

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  34. It certainly is interesting. Even the seeds are variegated. It will look nice and bring some height and brightness to the shade.

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  35. I have the regular and so far it is well behaved. I had no idea that it came variegated, even the seed head. That is so cool!

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  36. I saw this plant in the Plant Delights catalog and immediately coveted it. But I'm cheap about ordering plants if I don't know how well they'll perform. So I am SO glad you took the plunge. You and I both have dry, limestoney shade, and I can't wait to have a report from you in six months or so about how these variegated oats are doing for you. Thanks, Gail!

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  37. We call the green one Northern Sea Oats here and I've had it in my garden for several years. Usually I cut the seed heads off before they fall off, but two years ago, I didn't. BIG mistake! I found them coming up ALL OVER the garden and it's not a small garden! This year, there are still some, but not nearly as many as last year.

    Now that variegated one....OOOOOH!!! Very, very cool!

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  38. Gail, I love the variegated grass. I will watch how it performs for you. Won't be long until your visit!

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  39. I agree, KYLEE, Inland Sea Oats can be aggressive and one way to manage it is to cut off the seed heads and use them indoors. I would hate to miss the colorful brown oat spikelets, tho....so I end up removing some.

    When I first planted them I wanted to mimic an adjacent woodland of the cedar glade I was visiting....So I've let it naturalize in one area. We'll see how this one does!

    Now that I have more plants I am sure to have seed to share! PAM, I hope it turns out to thrive here and that it finds a place in your garden. SWEETBAY, I am glad you like Wildflower Wednesday...we have many of the same flowers! TYRA, I count any flowering plant that grows in a natural, uncultivated state a wildflower! Tennessee has many beautiful plants to showcase...I feel very fortunate!
    KATHLEEN, I suspect nothing will knock out the vinca, but if I can get a few plants and shrubs to grow up through it I will count it a success! CHERYL, where and how to plant them is the question of the day! I am looking around, moving them here and there. I wish you were all here to help me decide! FRANCES, feel free to weigh in on this one!

    and to all else who commented and shared...thank you! It is a most interesting grass for sure!

    Gail

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  40. Gail, I LOVE the variegated seed heads! Somebody really knew what they were doing when they came of with this one. I am sure these plants will be a great addition to your shady areas. Keep taking photos of them.

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  41. Layanee, It won't will it! I am so excited! Will it warm up by then! gail

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  42. Good Morning Gail. I always learn something new at your blog, and that makes me smile. I have the regular river oats all over the place because I live in the country, and it self-seeds. I love the variegated one especially because the oats themselves are also variegated. I wonder if it will reseed as a variegated plant or as the original (or is it sterile?) Thanks so much for such wonderful information and inspiration.~~Dee

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  43. I've seen the oats out and about around the roadsides in the country areas. They do look great and would be nice on our hillside. The variegated one is a neat find!

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  44. Gail — We call that grass Northern Sea Oats and I pulled all mine out as I just couldn't keep up with the self seeding. But that variegated one is gorgeous. And, like you, I did not know of its existence. I'm mostly growing Carex varieties because of my shade, but I may have to think about adding that one. And as I am about to move into my green garden season, it would be a real visual boost.

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  45. What a pleasant surprise! I'm thinking I'd like one of these but, alas, not native here, I think....

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  46. That looks like the weeds that populate the edges of fields here, but I can't be sure. I love the vibrant blooms.
    Good luck with your new plants, Gail!

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  47. Very tempting, Gail! Your garden is delightful ... crazy here with no time to catch up so this visit, as always, was a real treat.

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  48. Those brown leaves look perfect (and already pressed almost) for crafts or added to gift boxes.
    Brenda

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  49. That's a great option to have a native grass that's variegated--a real beauty. So many of our native plants (here in San Diego) come in one version and one version only. Leaves that are variegated, red, lime-green are things we pretty much have to forgo if we want to pull from our local plant palette. But that hasn't stopped most of us from using an occasional outsider to spice things up.

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  50. so glad you were able to find what you wanted exactly. the seed head is beautiful with the varigation. i hope it will perform as your other plain ones do.
    where do you order plants from that come looking that good?
    our native nusery didn't have them>?

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  51. Wow, very pretty Gail! I had no idea there was a variegated oat grass.

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  52. Oh gosh, I shouldn't have seen this. I have the regular one and love it. I don't have a problem with it reseeding that much. The variegated is really nice.

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  53. I've never seen this before. The flower heads are handsome, especially in the variagated form. Thank you for the education!

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  54. Marmee, No Growild doesn't sell it and Plant Delight Nursery seems to have an agreement with the hybridizers so that's where i found it. I was pleased with the quality of the plants. gail

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  55. I love a variegated plant in the shade. Those dangling seed heads are interesting as well. Thanks for sharing. :)

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  56. Hi Gail,

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment the other day. Glad I came here to return it because I was just looking for something to grow in the exact same dry and shady conditions you mention.

    Cheers.

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  57. Thank goodness for the big brown truck. You sound soooo happy. The variegation in the seed heads is amazing.

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  58. sorry to say but the seedlings come up green mostly..a few with a teeny amount of variegation..still worth it...now it's easy to see why plant delights charges so much. ;)

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  59. OK, now that is one very cool plant! I look forward to hearing how it does for you. If the heat and drought ever depart my corner of Katy, I know just the spot for it in my garden.

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  60. Love your oats Gail. The verigation is gorgeous. Keep us posted.
    sure wish it would grow here.

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  61. Lola, If you're in zone 9 you can grow it! I don't know if sea oats will grow away from the dunes, but they are similar looking and will grow below zone 9...Good luck. gail

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  62. Stephanie...Well the nice thing is they grow so well..my second order arrived and the plants are huge...so I will at least be able to divide them! Thank you and welcome to c&l! gail

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who make our souls blossom.


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