Garden Photo of the Day

Break out of your ‘Aureola’ rut

Click here to enlarge this photo.
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais

When most people think of Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra cvs., USDA Hardiness Zones 5-9), they automatically think of the most popular and most commonly available cultivar ‘Aureola’. But there are new cultivars that are just as exciting! Take, for instance, ‘Beni Kaze’, a golden variety with flushes of burgundy. Freeland and Sabrina Tanner planted a sweep of it in a shady bed along their driveway in Napa, California, and it’s a stunner.

See more photos of the Tanners’ garden

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  1. arboretum 03/11/2011

    terrific. would love to see more of this place!

  2. arboretum 03/11/2011

    p.s. an investment in hakonechloa, no matter which cultivar, is an investment never rued and always cherished!

  3. margotnavarre 03/11/2011

    The front entrance has great interest. I agree with both of the postings and would like to see a peak into the remainder of the gardens. Thank you.

  4. GreenGrowler 03/11/2011

    Simply sublime! I need advice, please. I LOVE hakonechloa; each time it's featured in a gardening publication, my desire for this graceful plant is renewed. The problem is, here in the foothills of Colorado Springs, in my garden at least, it will not grow. I suspect it's either the soil (horrible clay that I constantly amend) or the dry climate. I've tried half shade and 3/4 shade sitings; the poor little things barely put out a dozen wimpy-looking blades. Should I give up or does anyone have any suggestions? FYI: hosta, various huecheras & carex grow fine in these areas...Thanks!

  5. perennialgrdnr_z4b 03/11/2011

    A Great photo and a lovely garden! Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' was very slow to start growing and establish in my garden too. Over the years I have amended the soil in areas where I want it to grow, and it now thrives and has spread to form nice sized clumps in many areas of the shady borders. Yearly mulching with leaf mold or compost helps keep its roots cool and evenly moist in areas that are 3/4 shade to full shade. It can burn out in areas with dry soils and too much sun. This grass can be slow to get established, move it around to find the right spot, and amend the soil. Don't give up on it!

  6. soilgoil 03/11/2011

    'Aureola' has added light and color to my shade garden for years. I've just purchased a couple of 'Beni Kaze', and your photo of the Tanner's garden has made me decide to go out and plant them today. The slide show of the rest of the garden is absolutely inspirational. Thank you!

  7. sheilaschultz 03/13/2011

    I'm so late with this post, but... GreenGrowler I live in Denver. I can't seem to grow Hakonechloa 'Aureola' either, but, Beni Kaze does really well. Slow growing but so very lovely. Keep trying ;)

  8. lisawhitley 03/13/2011

    i have long admired the photographic work of ms.gervis. simply put, it takes my breath away. thanks for sharing your gift with us. sincerely, lisa whitley

  9. user-7006867 03/13/2011

    Beni Kazi is beautiful. That driveway garden is beautiful. But, I have to say 'Aureola' just has more wow factor for me. Its that weeping quality that I love and the golden foliage just stands out so dramatically. I could never be in an 'Aureola' rut, but I will definitely add 'Beni Kazi' to my list. Actually, I think its been on my list for awhile, but I never have seen it around.

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