The Helpful Gardener
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Posts: 7492
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:17 pm
Location: Colchester, CT

A New Panicum

My favorite ornamental grass is Panicum virgatum, or switch grass. It's a native grass that is tops for feeding groundfeeders like sparrows, chickadees, titmice and the like, and there has been so much selection work on this species that there is a huge variety to choose from. 'Cloud Nine' for 8-9' flower heights, 'Dewey's Blue' for fantastically sky-blue foliage, and for the longest time 'Shenandoah' was the one for red in the foliage (Most of the well known varieties like 'Hans Hearns' and 'Heavy Metal' do get red in the foliage later in the season, but 'Shenandoah' has the color right through season...)

Recently I was walking the grasses here at the nursery and found a block of panicums with no tag, but the red color was the heaviest, darkest red I'd ever seen in panicum and it wasn't one or two plants; the whole block was a uniform burgundy color. When I called our perennial propagator to inquire, he told me this was a new selection he'd gotten from (TOP SECRET) and he'd been calling it (TOP SECRET), but it really didn't have a name yet. He also said that the color had been solid like that for the whole season and what'd I think? :?:

I think we have a winner here; that's what I think. I will stay informed and let you know when the plant is to be released and the eventual name, but I can't say much more than that for now (legal reasons). Just wanted my peeps here at the forum to be the first to know about a good thing... :idea:

Scott

Newt
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1868
Joined: Tue May 25, 2004 10:44 pm
Location: Maryland zone 7

Ooooo! Enquiring minds want to know when it's out!!

Newt

The Helpful Gardener
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Posts: 7492
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:17 pm
Location: Colchester, CT

Hi Newt,

Looks like spring of 2006 as it stands now, but we'll see...

Scott

Newt
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1868
Joined: Tue May 25, 2004 10:44 pm
Location: Maryland zone 7

Spring 2006??? Gosh, it's so difficult to be a gardener and be patient!!

Thanks for the heads up. Oh, did you get a picture so I can drool for the next couple of years?

Newt

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7492
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:17 pm
Location: Colchester, CT

No, certainly an over sight on my part! :oops:

I'll see what we can do to get that taken care of soon...

Scott



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