Golden Sweet Flag and Japanese Forest Grass (Acorus gramineus ‘Ogon’ and Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’) Strappy, grasslike foliage. In this partially shaded garden on Bainbridge Island, Washington, the delicate leaves of two grasslike plants arch over the stones of a dry stream bed to form a serene vignette. Both golden sweet flag and Japanese forest grass are useful evergreen plants for shaded beds in mild-winter climates. Plant them in mixed borders with some breathing room or along pathways, where their graceful foliage forms and feathery foliage can stand out. Grow them as annuals in colder-winter areas. Plant combination: Golden sweet flag (Acorus gramineus ‘Ogon’, zones 5 to 9): Perennial; evergreen in mild-winter climates Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’, zones 4 to 9): Perennial; evergreen in mild-winter climates Makinoi’s holly fern (Polystichum makinoi, zones 5 to 9): Perennial; semievergreen Western sword fern (Polystichum munitum, zones 3 to 10): Perennial; semievergreen Masterwort (Astrantia major ‘Alba’, zones 6 to 9); Perennial; deciduous in winter Water requirement: Regular Light requirement: Full sun to part shade
‘Germaine’s Gyration’. This cultivar, also known as ‘Contorta’, is the largest-growing pendulous lace-leaf Japanese maple in existence. It can easily reach 12 feet tall and wide in 15 years. Matt calls it the Mack truck of Japanese maples for its large size, strength and dependability. Germaine’s Gyration has an unusual spiraling growth habit and tiered foliage. Its fall coloration is a bold orange. It performs reliably as far south as zone 9.
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