Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day 2009 Perennial Plant of the Year!

Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' is 2009's Perennial Plant of the Year. How timely, since I've recently become very interested in shade-loving grasses!

Late last fall I brought home a Japanese blood grass and a variegated carex from the garden of a client who was expanding her patio and redesigning her now-smaller border. They are resting in the new raised veggie bed along with a couple of Key Lime Pie heucheras, two or three Stokesias, and possibly one or two other plants I can't recall at the moment. I hope they survived the winter!

Anyway, in learning more about the other two grasses, I kept running into Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' (a/k/a Gold-Striped Hakone Grass or Golden Japanese Forest Grass.) I thought it was lovely, and hope to add it to the garden this year.

To learn more about this shade-loving plant of the year (and how to pronouce it,) here's a YouTube video courtesy of Doug Green.

Happy Valentines Day to the Lawn Man, our families, to all of you, and to 2009's Perennial Plant of the year! Have a wonderful weekend!


  1. The garden columnist in our local paper just wrote about this grass last week--isn't this the first time a grass has been chosen as plant of the year? I have yet to plant any grasses--I like them in other people's gardens, but I've never been sure which one to pick and just where to put it. I'm going to have to look into the Hakonechloa and start experimenting.

    Happy Valentine's Day to you, too, Linda!

  2. Ah, so that's what Doug Green looks like. He posts a lot to a garden writers list serve I sometimes read. Happy Valentine's to you, too. :)

  3. I love this grass~~it is gorgeous. He dashed my plans to heck when he said..No clay! So, I am going to try it anyway! Btw, loved the video and now I can pronounce it!

    Happy Valentine's Day to you, Linda...


  4. Anonymous8:26 AM

    What a great looking plant. I love foliage plants especially when they have great color & texture. Happy Valentine's Day to you too Linda!

  5. I just saw this and was excited about it too. I don't have any though:( But need to rectify it.

  6. Will it grow in Rockford? I just found you and I love your blog.
    Happy Valentines Day!

  7. Anonymous10:00 AM

    It is a wonderful grass...fantastic colours. Thanks for sharing this video! Happy Hearts Day. :)

  8. GG - I got 3 of them last year (or was it the year before). I really like them. I had no idea I was such a trend setter. ;^)
    Susan - you should be able to grow Hakonechloas in Rockford.

  9. Hi Susan, welcome, and thank you!

    Mr. Green says he's been generally successful with this plant in zone 4, and it looks like Rockford's on the edge of 5a and 4. Some winter protection and/or a sheltered spot would probably help insure its survival on the edge of its hardiness zone.

    Happy Valentines Day!

    Hi Nancy! I always had perennial grasses in previous gardens and have missed them here. I'm thrilled to be discovering some shade-tolerant grasses. Glad you enjoyed the video! Happy Hearts Day!

    Hi MMD, good to read your endorsement, especially since we seem to garden in similar dry shade conditions. I'm looking forward to giving this grass a try here, and to seeing them in your garden in May!

  10. I love this grass and if I only find it in the nursery, I already have a spot for it.
    Happy Valentines Day!

  11. Hi Rose, Now that you mention it, I can't recall another grass being chosen either.

    I had sun-loving grasses in previous gardens, and I'm looking forward to experimenting with shade grasses. They add such nice texture and color.

    Hey Monica, I was very pleased to find that video! It seems one can find just about anything on YouTube.

    Hi Gail, isn't it pretty! Maybe if you amend the soil where you plant it? You crack me up, and reminded me of me a bit, experimenting with plants that don't generally thrive in our dry shade. Sometimes it works, sometimes. . . not!

    Glad you enjoyed the video!

    Hey Racquel, isn't it pretty! I agree - the color and texture are great.

    Hi Tina, being chosen plant of the year will probably make it much easier to find, and possibly make it sell out early. I'm curious whether the nursery where I work has started any of these. Last year I talked them into 2008's perennial of the year - Geranium Rozanne, and they sold out of it and reordered it multiple times.

    If this Hakone grass is as sought after as Rozanne was last year, looking for it early in the season might be a good plan.

    Sorry I didn't respond to you all earlier - I must have had a glitch when I posted a comment earlier - just caught it now.

    Hi Ewa, I'll be looking forward to seeing this pretty grass in your garden!

  12. One of my personal faves, especially in groups of three or more ) but it is fussy about location and soil. We've carried it at Gethsemane for quite a few years.

    Happy Valentines Day to you as well.

  13. A real pretty grass and a mouth full to say! Hope you and yours had a wonderful Valentines!

  14. Good morning Carolyn, I'm looking forward to giving it a try here. I might start with just one since they do have a repution for being a bit fussy. Drainage isn't a problem in the shade garden here, so I hope they will like it here!

    Hi Skeeter, sure is a mouthful!


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