Hmm Hakonechloa... Part Two

OK, it's nowhere near perfection yet, but you should have seen it last year...

Previously on Veg Plotting I've pondered growing Hakonechloa in my garden as a lawn substitute. This was following my trip to the Seattle Fling two years ago where I saw grasses - particularly Hakonechloa - used to good effect in many gardens, and finding inspiration via Neil Lucas's fab book Designing With Grasses.

However, finding out how much it'd cost to replace my tiny front lawn (around £300 minimum) made me think again, especially as this is a deciduous grass. We and our neighbours would view dull bare earth for a few months, so I'd also need to buy e.g. spring bulbs to create some early season interest and help fill the gap.

I didn't give up on my idea though, and decided to try a Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' in a large pot on the front lawn before making a final decision. I'm very glad I did! Skimble and Jess decided it was their favourite grassy nibble last year, thus cutting it back to within an inch (literally) of its life. I feared it wouldn't survive the winter.

However, all was not lost and this year has seen it bounce back into a shape much more like the one I see in my mind's eye. It's not quite the fountain of grass I'm looking for yet, but I think it'll get there in time. I've decided it's not the replacement for my front lawn, but who knows, some companions may join it somewhere nearby in the future...

... and here's another specimen set to improve, now I've finally given it a home

... . I thought I'd bought the same plant to start that companionship, but foolishly didn't check out the full name beforehand and bought a Hakonechloa macra 'All Gold' instead. Not to worry, I like where I've placed it at the end of our side path and the way it swishes and adds movement to that quiet spot. It's also lighting up quite a dim corner overhung by the trees on the public land next door. This grass looks poised to settle down and fill out even more next year :)

Karen and Helen must be giggling to themselves over this post as they've been trying to convert me to liking grasses for years ;)


  1. Have grown hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' in pots for a number of years VP and it's one of my favourite foliage plants. Unfortunately it's rather slow to bulk up which is what makes it relatively expensive. 'All Gold" looks an attractive addition - have not seen it in the flesh as it were but will look out for it :)

  2. In SF Rebecca Sweet had some wonderful specimens but she said they took a number of years - might have been 5 - to really get going so you have to be patient with them. Personnally my enthusiasm for grasses is waning!

  3. Amazing that it can be grown as a lawn. Yours is doing nicely I think, worth persevering with definitely.

  4. I love Hakonechloa macra, but they do seem to take a couple of years to get well established. Wonderful masses of wafty foliage in due course though. Enjoy your conversion!

  5. I love a bit of swishy leaves! Have just dug up some of my mum's crocosmia for the gardens up here for that reason, the leaves will pick up the slightest breeze. Beautiful colour in your plant, well worth nurturing, I'd say!

  6. Anna, Helen and Janet - I can confirm it takes a while to bulk up! Worth the perseverance though :)

    CJ - it would replace the lawn, but I don't think you'd then use it in the same way - unless a lawn can be more like a shag pile rug ;)

    Caro - hmm Crocosmia, worth a ponder...

  7. Also from my friend Lu via email - aaaaaaages ago:

    Just saw your post on this, looks like just the thing for our courtyard - your improved example anyway! That's the Aureola one is it? Very attractive indeed.

    She's correct!


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