Peak Pinkness

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I think we are there.

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Peak pink perfection for the pink muhly grass, Muhlenbergia capillaris.

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This is how it really looks. Yes, it really is that pink.

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Full midday sun and breezy are not the usual conditions for optimum photos, but those are the best conditions to capture the pure pink cotton candy-ness of the pink muhly grass.

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There is a line of clumps all the way across the top of the slope, in front of the boxwood hedge that encloses the Knot Garden.

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There is a ring around the standard trained Knockout rose in the front of the house, seen in the opening image of this post. Those are the original plantings of the two one-gallon containers purchased from Lowe’s more than a decade ago. All other pink muhly plants were begat from those two.

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And finally, there is a stand that runs along the downhill slope of the driveway, bordered in front by Aster oblongifolius ‘October Skes’. All of the plants in the Fairegarden are now fully pink, as pink as they can get. This pinkness will last for a few more weeks then will begin to darken to what I call the purple bruise stage. From there the color slowly drains out and the fluff will turn to biscuit. Still very beautiful. It will be left standing until after the hoopla of the holidays is over for another year, then it will all be cut down to ground level. We will enjoy these moments in the breezy sun while they last.

For more information and links to more posts about Muhlenbergia capillaris, pink muhly grass, click here.


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21 Responses to Peak Pinkness

  1. Yummy.

    It is, Lisa. I gobble it up with my eyes every day.

  2. Georgia says:

    Wow, Frances. That last combination in particular with the color and texture contrast between the muhly and the asters is just stunning. Thank you for such a delicious morning treat.

    Thanks, Georgia. I had been searching for a plant that would bloom with the muhly for several years and think October Skies is perfect. The mornings are delicious here when it gets light enough to see the garden. The driveway planting is the view from my kitchen window.

  3. meander1 says:

    Without a doubt, Muhly is sooo worth the wait. There is so much beauty in the fall garden but then there is peak Muhly season and it just takes things to a whole other level. I think it is fair to say that a generous swath of it is a contender for the title of Most Breathtaking Plant Display ever!

    Thanks, Michaele. The pink muhly is worth the wait. Such a confection in the fall garden. It never fails to please me.

  4. beth jimenez says:

    Beautiful and to think with muhly we not only get the texture and color but the wonderful movement as well. Frances, your garden never disappoints.

    Hi Beth, thanks for those kind words. The pink muhly does have so much to offer, the movement is a huge part of it, difficult to capture with the camera but so pleasing to the gardener.

  5. Jane Gladden says:



  6. Sherry Barton says:

    Wow! Thanks for letting us into your garden It’s beautiful. About the October Skies aster- do you cut it back mid-season in order to keep it that compact or does it naturally grow that way? I had been wondering which aster to put in front of muhly grass. Thanks

    Hi Sherry, thanks for visiting. That is an excellent question about the October Skies. I do cut it back by half in May, but because my entire property is a slope, it naturally falls toward the driveway. I do have to watch that running roots do not go back too far into the muhly. That aster is a spreader and has to be pruned appropriately or it would engulf the gulf coast muhly.

  7. Rose says:

    A pink paradise! It’s beautiful everywhere, but the combination with the ‘October Skies’ asters is really stunning. I don’t know how you will reply to Sherry, but I do cut these asters back in mid-season. They make a much nicer mound in the fall that way.

    Hi Rose, thanks so much. I do cut the October Skies back in May, but don’t want to delay the bloom too much so it will coincide with the pink muhly.

  8. Did you train the Knockout rose into a standard, or did you buy it that way? I think the element of time in a garden is often not given the weight it should. When you have a plant that works and start spreading it around, it knits the garden together in a way that can’t be achieved by just buying two dozen of this or that and plopping them in.

    Hi Kathy, thanks for the thoughtful comment. I agree about time being the best artist in a garden. Time and letting things go. I used to pull the white asters as weeds, and now allow many of them to bloom and add to the fall beauty. The Knockout was trained over the years to be a standard by pruning away the lower branches and tipping the top to help it bush out. I wonder how long it will live with this kind of treatment, but it is already 12 years old as is.

  9. entwinedlife says:

    Time to move my Muhly. I think it no longer gets enough Sun… Thanks for the inspiration Frances! Always lovely to see you garden!

    Hi Jayme, thanks for visiting and the kind words. The muhly blooms much better in full sun and will show the pink best when illuminated fully.

  10. Wonderful color and wonderful photos! Thanks so much for sharing your beauty!

    Thanks for stopping by!

  11. Marguerite says:

    oh that pink and lavender from the kitchen window….. the texture of the muhly reminds me of Art Garfunkle’s hair…… no troubled water in your kitchen! ohhhh to wash the dishes in your kitchen and look out the window…. contentment !

    No troubled water indeed, Marguerite! HA The muhly is sort of like a wild and wooly hairdo and very punk rock with the color. The view of the muhly and aster does make doing dishes less of a chore.

  12. Alison says:

    It’s so magical! And all from just two one-gallon pots.

    Hi Alison, thanks for visiting. Yes, most all of my garden started out from the purchase of one or two plants in the smallest size I could find. I am a tightwad gardener and not afraid to divide things. There have been losses, but the muhly and aster have been rousing successes.

  13. Linda says:

    That last pic is absolutely beautiful!

    Thanks, Linda. When the sun is shining there, it is lit up like fireworks.

  14. Kris P says:

    I always wondered if those catalog photos of the grass were photo-shopped. I guess not! Beautiful!

    Thanks, Kris. I can’t speak for those catalog photos, I trust them not! But the muhly in my garden really is this pink, if not pinker!

  15. You really light up your corner of the world, Frances!!! And funny how all that pink coincides nicely with October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

    Hi Vicki, thanks for stopping by. It really is pink around here during the month of October, it fits right in, doesn’t it? Thanks for reminding me of that.

  16. Cindy, MCOK says:

    You must have the perfect combination of soil and climate for those Muhly … I’ve never seen them that pink anywhere else!

    Hi Cindy, I will let you in on a little secret, the sun has to be just right for that amount of pinkness to show up. I have learned over the years when to go out with the camera to capture it. Lucky for me, we have had plenty of sunny days to enable the pink light show.

  17. So much fun and such a wonderful sense of whimsy…it really makes your garden plantings special.

    Hi Charlie, thanks for stopping by. The pink muhly grass does take the garden, dare I say it, to a new level! HA

  18. Lovely! Something to look forward to over the miles every year, because you document it so well, Frances!

    Hi Jack, thanks for visting. It is the slope and sun position that help make the pink muhly grass shine here. My photos actually do not capture the real pinkness that the eye can see.

  19. Remind me Frances, why am I not growing this? Sigh. So amazingly beautiful. I’m in zone 6, do you think I stand a chance?

    Absolutely, Robin. I know folks in zone 6 who have grown this pink muhly grass for several years now with success. It needs full sun, great drainage and rocky/sandy soil. Plant it in a protected, south facing space to push the zone if you are worried about the cold. Good luck!

  20. Pink perfection! Especially next to the Asters along the driveway. Yum!

    Hi Beth, thanks so much. I got lucky with the blue asters. The one plant at the upper corner self seeded on down the row. When I noticed how good it looked to have the blue line in front of the pink, I gathered up more seedlings from the gravel paths and filled it in. Now there are blue asters growing in the driveway and street!

  21. Ela says:

    Wonderful colors

    Hello and greetings back to you, Ela! Thanks for visiting.

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