The very first day of my gardening apprenticeship at Ripponlea, Melbourne, I was riding on top of a heap of rubbish on a trailer, and a work experience student was pointing out a few of the features of the garden. I swear, to this day, that she pointed to a huge long fence covered in a wiry climber, saying “And that’s the horse and beckia hedge”.
I eventually came to understand that it was the Muehlenbeckia hedge, and that it must have just been her plant-name-by-visual-association system that had let her down. Her mule had become a horse.
It has made me a little sceptical about using the system myself, though I always remember the name Cortaderia (Pampass grass) by imagining a stag hunt, and Symphoricarpus (snowberry) by conjuring up a full orchestra. (Hmm.. I might delete this. Not sure if it’s the sort of thing one should confess).
Anyway, that’s all a typically long intro to get round to discussing my current infatuation for a crazy pink grass named Muhlenbergia capillaris that I’ve just spotted in the flesh for the first time in the USA. I first saw it on the High Line. You’ve already seen the above pic on my earlier post. Muhlenbergia is lurking low on the left, apparently having bled a bit of colour from a passerby’s hoody. I stood glaring at it for a while while my mind googled madly through old files, trying to conjure a name, or recall an earlier meeting.
The next day, I stumbled over it again at Chanticleer, just outside of Philadelphia.
It’s nothing like the colour that creeps into other grass seed-heads, which is usually a subtle diffusion through the predominant straw-hues of ripeness. It’s like fairy floss.
And I’ve since heard that it’s already in Aus.