Melinis nerviglumis 'Savannah'. So named for its deep red panicles, this lovely ornamental grass begins as a very round clump of blue green foliage about 25cm (10") wide. Then, in mid-summer, the flowering stalks begin to appear, starting red, but fading to pink and then to creamy silver at maturity. By the middle of August, all the colours are present, with some flower stalks as tall as 90cm (36"). The plant can be grown as a perennial in warmer areas (Zones 8-10), but in cooler zones it should be thought of as an annual. It looks spectacular in nearly any garden setting, in large containers, and in rock gardens. Ruby Grass is drought tolerant, but thrives in moist, well drained soil in full sun to partial shade. It can be grown beneath/near Black Walnut, and is tolerant of pollution.
Cloud Grass, a species of bentgrass, forms a diaphanous hazy mist in late summer when its delicate, tiny flowers spread out in all directions. It is useful to know some tips on how to grow cloud grass.
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Start seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before planting out. Or direct sow in early spring, when soil is cool and a light frost is still possible. It can also be planted in late autumn.
Just cover the small seeds. At a temperature of 10-12°C (50-55°F) seeds should germinate in 21 to 25 days.
Transplant after last frost into average, well drained soil. Space plants 15-20cm (6-8″) apart. Feed regularly and don’t let the soil become completely dry. Keep an eye on the flowering stage and cut the stems for drying before the seeds set in order to prevent self-sowing. The flower stems are spectacular when dried and will last for months. Cut them and hang them upside-down in a dark, airy place until fully dried.