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Re: Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola'

I found the article.   I can't remember who the person was that wrote it but
because I loved it so I contacted him at the time to use it in our lily
society newsletter that I was writing.   I have the same passion for this
plant and
have read and reread this so many times & love it each time.   However, not
all my lily friends enjoyed it.   In fact, Mother Lily herself told a friend I
should be addressing lilies not Japanese grass.   :-)

Subject: Re: Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola'

I find it nearly impossible to express my passion for this plant without
lapsing into semi-pornographic couplets, but I'll try.   I first saw
Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' in one of the specialty catalogs about 8
years ago and was also flummoxed (love that word - and it's appropriate here)
by the price. I decided to wait for better prices and,
most importantly, positive feedback on it's hardiness, difficulty,
persnickety requirements and possible toxicity.   Especially it's
toxicity; if some vermin dares to eat anything that beautiful, I most
seriously want said vermin to suffer.   In pursuit of more information I
interogated the director of the local botanical gardens and made such
a spectacle of myself openly fantasizing about massive swaths of it
surrounding my home and shimmering in the sunlight that he took me
aside and showed me his private collection of this exquisite, elegant
grass. All 6 springs of it. in a 3b pot. Sadly,   it was all the county-
funded botanical gardens could afford at the time. Being the kind,
generous, thoughtful person that he is, the director gifted me with two
sprigs of it for me to coax into the Lawn of Elysian Fields that
were flourishing in my dreams.   Being the greedy plant junkie that I
am, I snatched them, thanked him, and hauled ass.   I carefully
watered, fed, and indulged those two priceless sprigs for 6 months, not
totally unaware that
they had been solidly dead for at least 5 of those months. I was in a
petulant state of denial.   I refused to give them a proper burial until
something, anything, could repair the double-dug hole in my heart.
Considering that this was a pot of dirt with some dried blades of
grass in it, you might think me a bit over-emotional.   But if you do,
youbve never seen Golden Japanese Forest Grass with the eyes of a
gardener. A gardener with tunnel vision and obsessive-compulsive tendencies,
of course.
Somewhere, long ago, I performed a deed of heroic selflessness so
courageous and noble that even the winds of Mt. Olympus whisper the
tale, but only to those who are so pure of heart and sure of foot that
they can scale the vertical slope of The Home of the Gods.   I wish I could
remember what it was.   I know for a fact that I did something extraordinarily
exceptional because I was rewarded very generously
for it. Whilst (since webre in a "classics" mode here) "reluctantly"
assisting a dear friend, who just happens to own a small nursery, and
who also just happens to have an account at a wholesale landscaping nursery
outlet, I wandered on my own, exploring
different avenues of shrubs, perrenials and trees, looking for that
one special plant whose purchase would inspire me to new heights of
gardening ecstacy.   Actually, I was looking for a Rhododendron 'Mardi
Grasb to replace the one that Bambi had killed, but this is a happy tale,
with a happy ending, so let's not go there.   Turning a corner and
sashaying down yet another avenue of Poodled Junipers (don't get me
started....) I was jolted by the sight of rippling, golden waves of grass.
A sea of it. It took an army of two elderly women to prevent me from
rolling in it. But I had finally found my Holy Grail - and my Holy Grail just
happened to be a gallon sized pot of Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' at the
flummox-defying price of $4.99.
That karmic reward was 5 years ago, and my beloved Golden Japanese
Forest Grass is planted by the door most frequently used, so I can
see it as often as possible.   When, like now, it's not covered in 3 feet
of snow and ice, of course.   Of all the beds on my property, this small bit
is the only one I'm
completely happy with and have no plans to alter.   Painfully slow to
spread, this clump has increased quite noticeably and seems content.
Itbs underplanted with Viola labradorica and the combination works so
well that I not only recommend it, I'm genuinely flattered when other
gardeners copy it.
In all honesty, it's the only 3 square feet of 6.5 acres that I hope will
never change.   Having said that, it's most certainly dying as I type.
The only moral I can offer here is to choose your friends carefully,
and I just happen to have chosen as friends botanical garden directors
& nursery owners, for my own selfish ends. But it's important to
invest in those friendships.   The day I found my Holy Grail, I purchased
five of them & gave away four, most notably, one to the previously mentioned
director.   And
if my plant does indeed die (The Curse of Garden Braggery), you'll find
me at the local botanical gardens.   With a smile on my face and a
trowel in my hand.   I'll only need a blade or two, and then I'm off to
perform a heroic deed.   Or two.
          Keith from New York

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