Grass, Stone, and Snow

Snow, Stone, and Grass

My posts this winter have been mostly about trees and shrubs in snow, but today I am featuring herbaceous plants, mostly grasses.

I visited the Geneva Riverwalk again Sunday, an ordinary winter day, cloudy and a with a light snow cover.

More than anything, I want to show you how gorgeous Prairie Dropseed and Little Bluestem are in winter.

Entrance to Geneva Riverwalk.  The arch and fence are the main show, but the bed of Prairie Dropseed adds charm and warmth to the view.

Same scene, early June, each splendid in its own way.

Adding benches to the scene gives interest and a place for viewing scenery.

Again, same scene, early June, with White Wild Indigo.

Little Bluestem in January. The copper stems are stunning when viewed against alabaster snow.   (See last week’s post for a complete description of Little Bluestem)

Late September Little Bluestem mixed with Heath Aster and Stiff Goldenrod

Prairie Dropseed and stone-terraced hillside.  Could this possibly be any more beautiful?  You may not have a terraced hillside, but you could easily emulate the composition at the lower right with 3 Prairie Dropseed, Pale Purple Coneflower  (Echinacea pallida) and Purple Prairie Clover (Dalea purpurea) along side a few stones.

Here’s the same view in late September: subtle color, but abundant texture, making an exquisite picture.

A matrix of Little Bluestem hold slopes efficiently and exquisitely.

Tall stalks of Compass Plant (Silphium laciniatum) punctuate this prairie garden at the top of the terraced bluff next to the Riverwalk.  In my experience, Compass Plant always leans over precariously or just falls down.  What is the secret here?      They are planted at the top of a bluff, always a well-drained, dry situation, and in full sun with no shadows or shade at all during the day.  I think the well-drained situation is the answer.  (More on Silphium in July)

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4 Responses to Grass, Stone, and Snow

  1. Karen S February 2, 2011 at 11:02 pm #

    I love the contrast of brown fluffy plumes and sticks with the solid white cover. Thank you for showing the full bloom vs. the barren Winter. I too left most of my grasses in their natural state and I feel it gave my home landscape an extra punch with hopes of Spring.

  2. Peggy Timmerman February 3, 2011 at 7:08 am #

    Hi Pat,

    Love your photos and the fact that you are celebrating winter! Where are these taken? I’d like to know who talked this entity into putting in native plants (as opposed to horticultural ones), and how they maintain it. Do they burn or mow the terraces? How about along the riverwalk? How long has it been here, and did they do a lot of weeding? It seems to me many people/groups/businesses install native plants thinking they will require zero work, and thus the planting fails. But this one looks like it’s in great shape, and I’d love to hear the whole story. Thanks!

    Peggy Timmerman
    Lone Rock, WI

    • PatHill February 3, 2011 at 11:22 am #

      I’ve asked the person who was the instigator and guiding force behind the project to write a guest blog–stayed tuned.


  3. Suzanne Poursine Massion February 3, 2011 at 8:51 am #

    Pat, I’ve sent you links to some of my paintings featuring River Park in Geneva. I got goosebumps looking at the images above. I am not a very good photographer, but chose some of the same views to paint. Two years ago I spoke with Sharon Jones by phone and she encouraged me to visit the park for inspiritation. She was right! I especially liked your winter and summer comparisons of the same sections.

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