Great Plants this Month Winter

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Professor Richard Hansen’

image of Louise Sims
Louise Sims

I won’t deny that taking my early morning walk around the garden these days, is becoming more of a ‘stock taking’ exercise. Let’s face it, few of us have experienced a year like the last for decades, and I find myself re-evaluating the meaning of ‘hardy’.

After record breaking temperatures last summer, a very mild autumn was followed by an exceptionally cold December; then came wet, wet, wet, followed by another week of arctic weather in January – so is it surprising that several old friends in the garden seem to have succumbed?

Not quite all of them though; unlike some of the other grasses, my stalwart choice today has come through it all unscathed. Originally from West Asia, ‘Professor Richard Hansen’ was introduced by Ernst Pagels in the 1980s. We gardeners certainly owe a lot to this nurseryman, not only for his work with miscanthus but with many other perennials besides.

This is a densely upright, tall (2 metres plus) grass producing copious quantities of flowers which, over time, fade to silvery white. These plumes are held well above the foliage and make a striking winter silhouette and I for one am happy to see its trusty fronds waving to me as I survey the blackened skeletons elsewhere!

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Professor Richard Hansen’

NB Louise has published a beautifully produced book of her plant profiles – A Plant for Each Week of the Year. It costs £9.99 and is for sale in our online shop here.

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By the3growbags

We're three sisters who love gardening, plants and even the science of horticulture but we're not all experts. We'd love everyone even remotely interested in their gardens to be part of our blogsite.

2 replies on “Miscanthus sinensis ‘Professor Richard Hansen’”

I agree with Louise: we had a similar stand of grasses standing guard against oncoming traffic lined by beautiful daylilies in bright orange during summer, and daffodils in a pale yellow hue in early spring, after we had trimmed the grasses down; all were rescues and divided plants over a good decade and were nourished and protected each winter by the leaves of native trees in the garden, hauled around from the back yard. All are gone now, except perhaps the daffys ( they were safe underground, I hope) after my husband and I sold our home(and garden) of 15 years last spring. The buyers apparently were not as avid gardeners as we had been. A tale one hears all too often now. Gardens raised painstakingly, then razed, seemingly overnight. Reading your blog is like a balm: I can remember my own walks through that garden at all times of year, and day, and (dare I say it) even begin to think about starting over here.

Good to hear from you Krystyna and I loved reading the description of the grasses in your former garden. You’re right, the garden is such a solace and I do hope that you are already thinking about creating your new one – it’s the perfect time of the year to plot and plan, and I wish you well, and happy gardening!

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