Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Pink Muhly Grass
This time of year, the pink muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) is in full bloom -- and when planted en masse creates an etheral 'cotton candy' effect. Such a planting is perfect for this time of year when many state and county fairs are in full swing. Many of our highways, resorts and subdivisions have landscaped with this ornamental grass -- and even here at the Arboretum, folks stop in their tracks and ask what it is!
Muhlenbergia capillaris is a showy, perennial grass that can reach 3' high and 3' wide. The flower spikes - the silky pink inflorescence that looks like cotton candy - bloom in late summer and early fall and can keep their 'pink' color for 6-8 weeks. (There is also a white variety available.) They flowers will eventually turn a wonderful beige and give a terrific winter interest to any garden.
If you've ever visited the South Carolina lowcountry and have become enamored with the 'sweet baskets' created there, pink muhly grass is the "sweet" grass used (along with palmetto fronds and some pine needles) to create these incredible baskets.
I painted this from my own blooming muhly grass last weekend. There is a gap in our treeline that when the sun begins to set, strikes this particular clump of muhly with a glow that is like pink fire --- amazing!
I have tried to paint this grass for a while now, struggling to find just the right elusive 'wisp-ishness' to the flower spikes .. I 'think' I finally managed it ...
Hope your day is grand!