Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster' at Lovegrass Farm

Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster'

'Karl Foerster' May 3

This is the first in a series of posts I hope to make discussing the Ornamental Grasses we grow on Lovegrass Farm accompanied by photos taken on our farm.  One of the first grasses to start growing in the Spring is Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster' (feather reed grass); a non-invasive, clump forming cool season grass.  The seeds are sterile, so it won't self seed.  Versatile and easy to maintain, it is one of the most popular grasses around the world.  It has a narrow, upright habit, growing to about( 5 ft. 150 cm.) in flower.  In early Spring, 'Karl Foerster' forms a dense mound of deep green foliage.

'Karl Foerster' June 9

'Karl Foerster' July 10

'Karl Foerster' seed head maturing to buff color
By Late June pinkish, feathery flower inflorescence's appear.  These mature through the summer, forming narrow, buff colored stalks.  This display lasts into fall & winter. 

'Karl Foerster' in late September

'Karl Foerster' in October

It is Easy to grow and maintain and is hardy to Zone 4.  Preferring Full Sun to Partial Shade in well drained, fertile soil it is also quite tolerant of drier situations and clay soils.  Use it as an Accent to provide contrast among Shrubs and Perennials or as a Hedge (especially suited where you want a narrow hedge along a driveway) or use as a Single Specimen.  You can even cut and dry the grass plumes for flower arrangements.  It moves gracefully in the wind and regains its upright posture even after heavy rain and never needs staking.  I will try to make a video this year showing a hedge of 'Karl' moving in the wind.  It is stunning and meditative to watch!

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