Garden Photo of the Day

Irvin & Pauline’s garden in fall, focus on grasses

Miscanthus serves as a backdrop to a Japanese lantern. 2 WAYS TO ENLARGE! Click directly on the photo to enlarge in a pop-up, or click HERE to see this image, larger, in a new browser window.
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Irvin Faria

Another installment of photos from Irvin and Paulin’es garden in Carmichael, California has arrived! This time it’s a glimpse of their ornamental grasses in fall (See other seasons and wildlife in this fantastic garden HERE, HERE, HERE, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)

Miscanthus also works well with the contrasting colors of Mexican sage and red hot poker. Photo: Courtesy of Irvin Faria

Irvin says, “We are still enjoying weather in the mid 80’s degrees here in Carmichael. Before fall weather conditions arrive and transform the landscape we wanted to share some images of our ornamental grasses.

Although it’s controversial, we admire the beauty of Japanese blood grass (Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’, Zones 5-9). To limit its tenacious, rhizomatous, invasive nature it’s kept in containers. Its sword-shaped leaves emerge green then deepen to a darker crimson in autumn. Here it’s seen in mass in a blue pot. Photo: Courtesy of Irvin Faria

“In Pauline’s Garden the focus is on lush foliage and a tranquil space with a point of interest. With that goal in mind, we often use ornamental grasses to frame a garden area or as focal points.”

Japanese blood grass (Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’, Zones 5-9) in front of a water fountain. Photo: Courtesy of Irvin Faria

As gorgeous as always, Irvin. Thanks to you both for continuing to share your garden with us.

Japanese blood grass (Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’, Zones 5-9) backlit next to a granite water fountain. Japanese blood grass is illegal in 25 states so be sure it is OK in your state. Photo: Courtesy of Irvin Faria
Another grass we enjoy for its naturalistic character is beautiful Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’, Zones 5-9). Whether planted as a specimen or a groundcover, it adds interest to our shade garden. Photo: Courtesy of Irvin Faria
Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’, Zones 5-9) at the base of a Japanese lantern next to a pond, its graceful arching leaves cascading over a deep green sedge. Photo: Courtesy of Irvin Faria
For a simplistic container planting with a golden rain tree Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’, Zones 5-9) offers an airy texture. Photo: Courtesy of Irvin Faria
Colorful variegated lilyturf (Lirope muscari ‘Variegata’, Zones 6-10) with violet blossoms is used throughout the garden. It is shown here with stacked stones in the background. Photo: Courtesy of Irvin Faria
New Zealand flax (Phormium tenax, Zones 9-11), a stunning accent grass, is combined with ‘Mystic Spires Blue’ blue salvia (Salvia ‘Mystic Spires Blue’, Zones 7-10). Photo: Courtesy of Irvin Faria
Blue oat grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens, Zones 4-9) frames an ‘Orangeola’ Japanese maple. Photo: Courtesy of Irvin Faria
A grass that adds zest to our dappled shade garden is bold-leafed cordyline, here mingled with Japanese forest grass. Photo: Courtesy of Irvin Faria

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View Comments


  1. tractor1 10/29/2012

    All that lush grass makes me want to give up my lawnmower... looks fantastic!

    Red maple in my front yard, bottom neatly pruned by deer.

  2. tractor1 10/29/2012

    Full size:

  3. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 10/29/2012

    Beautiful and inspiring! The blood grass in the blue pots is genius!

  4. trashywoman62 10/29/2012

    Beautiful compositions! Something I try to do throughout the year in my own ongoing project! Pauline's eye for contrasting color and texture is wonderful! I especially love the blue oat grass under the Japanese maple!!

    I use lots of grasses here in Central Illinois too and they are equally as wonderful in the winter covered with snow.

    Thanks for adding the links back to the previous posts, Michelle. I always love going back and seeing the gardens at other times.


  5. trashywoman62 10/29/2012

    Sorry to post again but realized on Oct 16th, Annek of Kielian DeWitt's garden responded to my comment and then asked about the hardiness of my weeping bald cypress. Couldn't find a place to email back to her otherthan comment on that post and didn't think it would let her know I replied to her.
    I am in Zone 5 (new USDA zone says 6a)and the cypress has had no issues. It is unprotected in the northeast corner of my yard going on 7 yrs. now. It looks like a "Cousin It" on steroids.

  6. User avater
    meander_michaele 10/29/2012

    Irvin and Pauline, it is always a treat to start out the day with pictures of your beautiful garden...they never fail to delight and enchant. I love your subtle attention to detail example being the polished dark stones that help set off the stone lantern in the first picture.

  7. pattyspencer 10/29/2012

    Beautiful! Thank you too for giving info about the grasses - especially the blood grasses' spreading habit. I think tho that in our zone (now a 6A) it is considered an annual I do have a habit of buying things that tend to spread out of my control. If this is bought it will be pot bound and hopefully will look as beautiful as yours.

    Tractor1 - your tree is beautiful!

  8. cwheat000 10/29/2012

    Good morning all. Irvin and Pauline's garden photos are beautiful. Tractor 1's red maple is stunning, also. For those of us in the east, the wind is really howling this morning. I think almost all of our leaves will be down within the next couple days. I just hope none of our prized trees come down, too. Be well all.

  9. greengrowler 10/29/2012

    Irwin & Pauline, each time your garden is featured, I swoon - so lovely in every way. The grasses are gorgeous but my absolute favorite photo is the Japanese Maple with the blue oat grass(?) at her feet. I also spied a rock cairn a dear friend made me one years ago that is eerily similar. Thanks once again for a peek inside your garden paradise.

  10. greengrowler 10/29/2012

    cwheat000 - best wishes to you; I'm certainly not alone in sending out good thoughts for you and the rest of our group on the east coast to get through Sandy without too much damage - you are all in my heart today....

  11. tractor1 10/29/2012

    I'm glad you're enjoying my pictures. I've been very busy preparing for Sandy, battening down the hatches. Of all times this is the day my APC battery back up decided to die, it lasted six years, I didn't realize I've had it that long. Fortunately I saved my old under powered one and it still works, just can't plug in anything extra. I phoned APC and they have a trade-up progarm so I ordered a new larger unit.

    So far the weather here in The Catskills is wet and blustery, the wind is kicking up and the rain is coming down harder, and I expect the rain and wind to increase shortly. But I'm very happy I'm no longer living on Long Island. Everyone stay safe.

  12. terieLR 10/30/2012

    I know, it's late but I wanted to catch this post before the day slipped away. We have managed to evade Sandy's rath but have been watching the coastal coverage and are saddened by the devastation experienced by so many. Although the winds are fierce here we can still see the lights of Ithaca in the distant hills tonight. Thankfully!

    I enjoy viewing your Fall gardens Pauline & Irwin! Your perennial textures keep the eye wandering even on close-ups because of the attention to color. Does your variegated Lirope pale in the fall? Mine busted out with blooms (more than ever) this year but the stripes faded. I'm anxious to see if it returns robust in the spring. I really must get some Japanese forest grass. Love it! Thank you for another great post!

  13. cwheat000 10/30/2012

    Thanks green growler for your concern. I am about 38 miles from the coast so luckily we are not getting the storm surge here. The winds have been as strong as I can remember in this area, however. Some gusts have made the windows rattle so bad, I made my toddler and myself move to the center of the house. A large limb fell near our driveway, so I have parked my car in the center of our 2 acre field. Amazingly, our power is still on. Most of the towns around us are in the dark. Last Halloween's freak snow storm left us without power for a week. I hope I am not jinxing myself, but at the moment I feel very blessed we are getting through the storm as well as we are. I hope everyone else is doing as well. My birthday starts in 14 minutes. Two years in a row I have had some crazy weather for my birthday. Be well everyone.

  14. annek 10/30/2012

    Simply divine! Seeing your names at the beginning of a FG post always sends me into an anticipatory eagerness to rush to open them. Thank you for sharing!

    @trashywoman62: thank you so much for the info on cypress in yout give me hope that maybe mine will survive

    To all our NE neighbors...we hope you are safe, warm and dry. We'll be thinking of you over the next few weeks

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