October 15, 2011 | Panayoti Kelaidis, Senior Curator & Director of Outreach

It isn't every day a star is born! Trot on down to the Rock Alpine Garden (preferably early in the morning or late afternoon in the slanted light) and you will behold a spectacle! Mike Kintgen has planted what seems like dozens of a dazzling new grass which is undoubtedly staging its Colorado (and possibly international debut) in public horticulture. Wouldn't you like to have been there the first time 'Karl Foerster' did its thing in Germany half a century ago?
Well...some day you will be able to tell your progeny that you were there, that you SAW Muhlenbergia reverchonii produce its gauzy halo of glowing rose/mauve sparks in the dying embers of the day, in the dying embers of our growing season! If you are not able to visit us at the Gardens, you can see a spectacular planting at the Gardens at Kendrick Lake in Lakewood (the gardens are on the NW corner of Jewel and Hoyt...the plant is on the SE-most bed of the gardens.) You'd be a fool not to come to Denver botanic Gardens, however--it's too gorgeous for words right now. Come before hard frost, although the horticulturists are busily (rapidly, and very tactfully) disassembling the summer displays in anticipation. But let's not talk about that!

The second and third pictures were taken in the Rock Alpine Garden last week. The lower the light the more vivid the color--alas, these were taken an hour or two before prime color.
Scott and Lauren Ogden introduced this stunning grass, which is native to Eastern and Central Texas. It was first offered for sale by High Country Gardens, in New Mexico, where I suggest you order this winter to plant it next spring. They offer the similar Muhlenbergia capillaris, which is not a reliable performer in Colorado. At least not the forms we have thus far. But who needs it, with our stunning Texas halo grass!

While speaking of Lauren...she has completely redone the Undaunted Garden, possibly the finest book ever written about gardening in our region. If you do not have the current update (with all new pictures, tons of new text featuring a hundred new plants), do not pass go, get it immediately! That's an order....(I'm feeling a tad bossy today, sorry.)

P.S. Lauren and Scott featured our new grass on the cover of their wonderful book a few years ago: you can see they got it in the perfect late light....aaaaaah!

Plum colored Muhly forms background on title of the Ogden's book


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