Alpha beta gramma....

November 13, 2012 Panayoti Kelaidis , Senior Curator & Director of Outreach

Every so often a plant comes along that surprises you: I never thought one had to "improve" the ubiquitous and abundant blue gramma grass that occupies almost every patch of prairie remnant left around Denver (and much of America). Typical blue gramma is nice enough--usually a foot to maybe 18" tall, rather wispy. But David Salman, owner of High Country Gardens noticed a particularly robust form of our favorite bunchgrass grass growing in his garden. David segregated the clump, noticing how much larger and more vigorous it was. He introduced it through his nursery and also Plant Select. Welcome 'Blonde Ambition' (an inspired name for it, everyone agrees). I obtained several plants several years ago and put them in my unwatered xeriscape. Right from the start they grew vigorously, despite the lack of watering. This year they were twice as tall and much more robust than the wild blue gramma growing nearby in my prairie, confirming my dawning awareness that this is going to be one of the great ornamentals of this program. 'Blonde Ambition' thrives in a wide array of soils and with different watering conditions--about the only place I would not put it is in a bog or deep shade. It looks almost as good now in early winter as it did in high summer when I took some of these pictures. One thing I can tell you: it makes a wonderful companion plant to all manner of xeric perennials throughout the growing season. The folks at Plant Select have been astonished at how quickly news of this great new grass has spread: it has become one of the top sellers in that very successful program: do take a look around your garden this winter and decide where you can put more of this in your yard. Can we ever have enough in the way of blondes? Or ambition for that matter?


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