Calamagrostis × acutiflora ‘Overdam’, early May
In a year of great change and without much active gardening, no immediate candidate for my plant of the year presented itself, but on reflection, and on going through my images it became obvious that one plant had in fact been outstanding in the cottage garden at Colesbourne. It's the grass Calamagrostis
‘Overdam’, raised in Denmark, which I'd planted quite extensively in the gravel border in 2011. It emerges as the weather warms up with each blade crisply variegated with white and flushed pink: a very pleasing clean, fresh look for spring. It looks good on its own at this stage, but it pairs beautifully with many other plants, whether with more solid green foliage, or flowers.
|Calamagrostis 'Overdam' with tulips, April|
|With Allium 'Purple Sensation', May.|
With the bulbs it almost becomes a supporting act, but after they fade it becomes a star in its own right (again), with massed plumes of pinkish-purple flowers providing a remarkable depth of colour in the border, though the variegation fades. The flowering stems are extremely strong and flexible and return to the vertical however buffeted they've been, through summer, autumn and most of the winter. They begin to get a bit dishevelled in late winter and at that time I would cut them back to tidy them up and let the new shoots up. It is not faultless; my main quibble is that is perhaps just fractionally too stiff and that the clumps, at least in their early years, remain distinct rather than blending together, but much depends on the angle at which the stand is viewed. This is a minor flaw, however, in an outstanding, and to me, indispensable plant.
|In full flower (back, behind Deschampsia 'Goldtau'), July|
|Bleached by now, the flowering stems remain attractive in October.|
|Calamagrostis 'Overdam', with Rudbeckia triloba 'Prairie Glow', October.|