Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Japanese Blood Grass September 12, 2008

Halloween decorations are taking over the stores already, so maybe it’s not too early to start looking at the spooky side of the garden. I saw this gorgeous specimen of Japanese Blood Grass (Imperata cylindrica) happily growing in a neighbor’s parking strip the other day:

Japanese blood grass

I love the deep red against the lime green in the foliage. It likes full sun or light shade, might need a bit of mulch to overwinter in colder climates (my plant book says it’s okay for Zones 4-9), and prefers moist/well-drained soil. Some areas consider it to be aggressive, but at least in Seattle I don’t think I’ve ever seen one take over. Perhaps it is best grown in a setting and climate where you can keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn’t cause trouble.

To round things out before Oct. 31, maybe I need to track down and photograph some of the other “blood” themed plants – Bleeding heart (I know, it’s a spring thing), Blood flower, Bloodroot and Bloody butcher!?!