Photo: © Jelitto
Deschampsia cespitosa 'Pixie Fountain'
Tufted hair grass
The herbarium at Kew has specimens of Deschampsia collected from a thatched cottage roof dating to 1460. It's a tough UK native that has been used for thatching, as a fodder crop and to stabilise slopes and banks.
'Pixie Fountain' is a refined, dwarf cultivar of this ubiquitous grass. It's smaller, more compact and tidier than its wild cousins but equally as beautiful.
Each plant will form a small mound of slender dark green leaves which become almost obscured in summer by clouds of billowing flowers. When backlit or caught by a setting sun the effect is magical.
By autumn the plant and its lovely flower-heads turn orangey bronze and can be cut for dried arrangements.
'Pixie Fountain' needs a moist but well drained soil in sun or partial shade and is perhaps at its best when planted near but not in water.
Tufted hair-grass is one of the food plants of two British butterflies - the ringlet and the grayling. Deciduous.
Hardy perennial grass (D)
Buff to bronze
Moist but well-drained
Partial shade or sun