Purple Fountain Grass Pennisetum setaceum in H...
Image via Wikipedia

It has been far longer than I really like to admit since I last trimmed up the purple fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum) in the center of the front garden. I planted it years ago to fill in a a bed that once held a sizable pine tree that died soon after we moved into the house. It has thrived with little attention beyond raking out some dead stems and leaves.

The last few weeks, though, I have been frowning every time I pulled out of the driveway. It really needed some work. Finally, today, after doing 2 client calls, I took the time to clean it up. First, I picked up each plant (there are 4 in all) and brought it upright so I could get a better idea of the actual size of the clump. Due to some heavy shade conditions throughout the garden, all of the clumps had leaned towards the southwest, where the sun reaches under the large elm tree each day.

Next, I used my fingers to rake out any lose, dead growth on each plant, much like you would run your fingers through your hair. This brought out much of the obvious dead growth. Then I took my manual hedge trimmers and gave each plant a quick trim — quite a bit off the the top and a little off the sides. This allowed them to stand upright again, opened up the space between each plant and gave them some space to grow upwards.

The trouble with such care-free plants like grasses is that they are waaaaaay to easy to ignore. They are a perfect fit for my “benign neglect” garden, but I need to neaten them up each year to keep them healthy and nice looking.

I don’t have any picture to show for all my work today as I did it at the spur of the moment and by the time I finished it was too dark to take any pictures. I have included a generic picture from Wikipedia above to give you small idea what it looks like.

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