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Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra)

Are you looking for a low-maintenance perennial to brighten up a shady corner of your garden?

I would suggest looking into Japanese Forest Grass. Its bright lime colour will cheer up any dark corner of the garden; even more so if it catches a breeze to send its slim leaves fluttering.
Japanese Forest Grass
With input from a professional landscaper, I chose the golden variety for my garden. Throughout my garden, I have stuck with mass plantings for maximum effect, and none is more eye-catching than the long row of Japanese Forest Grass that breaks up the shady north side bed between the driveway and the dark navy house.
Japanese Forest Grass
Japanese Forest Grass thrives in shady environments. Despite being planted on the north side of the house, the last few specimens in the row are exposed to the morning sun, and after a long hot summer, they begin to show their aversion to this unwanted sun by discolouring. To me, I’m willing to sacrifice having a few straggly-looking plants for a short time of year in order to have such a brilliant-looking row of grasses for the remainder of spring, summer, and fall.

In my garden zone (7), Japanese Forest Grass dies back completely by November. All that is required is a quick haircut to remove the browned leaves, either in late fall or early spring, and it is raring to go again by March. I began with 1 gallon pots about four years ago, and they have easily doubled in size. These grasses spread slowly, and in a clumping form (as opposed to the sometimes-annoying runners). This spring I was able to divide my largest clumps and share with family members – an added bonus of this amazing grass!

Writer and photo credit: Jennifer Laughlin

 



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