In the background of the main pic in my last post there was a fuzzy mix of Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ and the annual Ammi majus, known here as Queen Anne’s lace.
The grass started flowering about a month ago. It opens at anything between 1.2 and 1.8 metres depending on spring rainfall with fairly nondescript fuzzy flowers, albeit in a quite nice purple shade. The stems are so slender and the flowers so fine that it dags around in the wind and splays right out after rain. You can’t help but wonder if it’ll ever stand up again.
But the flowers are soon pollinated, and the grass starts to ripen
Like so many of these semi-transparent things, they’re so much better when placed where they can be back-lit in the afternoon
Then, within just a few weeks, the flowers have turned a rich brown and stand bolt-upright. They’ll stay this way, though gradually fading to a pale straw, until winter.
Given that this grass does most of its growing and flowering early in the growing season it seems to be much less affected by summer drought than, say, the miscanthuses, which just don’t achieve their late summer flowering if it’s too dry for them.
The Ammi, by the way, was self-sown after a totally failed display in the desperate drought of last summer. I shoved in a punnet of seedlings in spring before any of us knew that the dry was going to continue on for months. The tiny plants immediately bolted, but managed to squeeze out a few flowers and seeds before frying. The seed germinated in situ in autumn, and young plants (much stronger than those transplanted in spring) overwintered at about 15 – 20cm tall, looking pretty sorry for themselves. Time and again I thought that the combination of frost and freezing wind would finish them off. But the result was a spring/early summer display at head-height. Spring-sown, summer-flowering plants never achieve this height. For myself, I want it big.