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Gynerium Argenteum (Cortaderia selloana) - Hardy Perennial

Author: John Wood

Gynerium Argenteum (Cortaderia selloana) - Hardy Perennials and Old Fashioned Flowers

Gynerium Argenteum (Cortaderia selloana) Described.

Gynerium Argenteum (Cortaderia selloana) - Pampas or Silvery Grass; Nat. Ord. Gramineæ.

This handsome grass is well known, at least, its feathery plumes are, from the fact of their being imported largely in a dry state for decorative purposes. It has not been grown long in this country, and, perhaps, it is not generally known that it endures our climate as an outdoor plant; in most parts of Great Britain, however, it proves hardy. As far north as Yorkshire I have seen it in the form of specimens 8ft. high; my own examples are yet young—two and three years old—and are only just beginning to flower, at the height of 3ft. to 4ft., diameter about the same. It is a native of South America, occurring mostly on the prairies; it is also found in other parts where there are swamps and high temperatures. This would lead us to have doubts as to its suitableness for English gardens, but facts prove it to have elastic qualities in this respect. It proves at all times to be a noble ornament in gardens of moderate size.

In its growing or green state it is a distinct and pleasing object, but it is at its greatest beauty when it has ripened its tall and silky plumes, which glisten in the sunshine and are of a silvery-grey colour, and when also the very long and narrow grass has become browned and falls gracefully, more or less curling under the tufts. All its parts are persistent, and, as a specimen of ripe grass, it is not only ornamental in itself, but it gives a warm effect to its surroundings during winter. Under favourable conditions it will grow 10ft. or 12ft. high, but it is seldom that it attains a height of more than 8ft. or 9ft. As an illustration is given, further description is not needed. I may add that if it is not "laid" by heavy snows, it keeps in good form until the new grass begins to grow in the following spring.

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Gynerium Argenteum (Cortaderia selloana)

I find it to do well in light earth, well enriched with stable manure, the soil having a more than ordinary quantity of sand in it; the position is such as can have a good supply of moisture, being near walks that drain to it. In stiffish loam a strong clump was planted three years ago, but it has never looked healthy. The best positions for it are well-prepared shrubbery borders; there it contrasts finely with the greenery, and receives some protection from the high winds. It may be increased by division of healthy roots, when the grass is ripe, but it ought not to be cut off.

The plumes appear in August, and will keep in good condition till the weather changes to a wintry character.

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