Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Overdam' at Lovegrass Farm

Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Overdam' mid July

'Overdam' May 3

Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Overdam' (variegated feather-reed grass) is similar in many aspects to 'Karl Foerster' except that the foliage is striped green/white and both foliage and flowers are less robust.  It is slightly lower growing than 'Karl Foerster' at about 50 inches tall (125 cm.) and is more shade tolerant.When emerging in Spring the variegation is yellow, but within days changes to white.  

'Overdam' in June
 'Overdam' makes a lovely backdrop for Spring Bulbs, a good Low Screen, especially in partial shade, and mixes nicely in Perennial Borders.  The well known Author & Photographer; Michael King, recommends 'Overdam' as a plant he uses in his own garden and many of the Perennial Meadows he designs.

'Overdam' July 10
   'Overdam' is a clump forming cool season grass but customers sometimes confuse it with reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea) which spreads aggressively by rhizomes.  The flowers are sterile so there is no worry of it seeding out.  When it matures it is tall enough and dense enough to block a view.

'Karl' on left, 'Overdam' on right late September

 The variegation is less noticeable as the summer season progresses.  You can cut it back midsummer to encourage a flush of new growth. (keep in mind you will lose the flower stems)  I sometimes do this to thicken up young plants.  The plant matures throughout summer forming narrow, buff colored stalks.

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