The grassland, er... parking lot

There are a couple of wonderful patches of ornamental grasses in suburban Chicago. No, I'm not talking about some expansive prairie restoration project, or some botanical garden display (although they probably have nice grass plantings too).

The patches I found were in the parking lot of a hotel I spent a night in.


These probably look pretty nice during the summer, but at this time of year the really shine:

By "shine" I meant literally too, as the seed heads of this smaller Miscanthus really glow in the sunlight:

These patches are not large, but if you stand close enough you can almost forget that you're in the middle of an expanse of asphalt... almost.

There were a couple of other really nice features of the seemingly ordinary landscaping around this hotel. There were lots of low-growing junipers, covered with those fantastic glaucous berries:

This "pine" (the exact species is unknown to me) looks to be as lovely a specimen as almost anything I saw at the Missouri Botanical Garden earlier this year:

I suspect that when it was planted a decade or more ago it was really nothing special. Time and fortuitous placement have turned this into a plant that I would love to have in my own garden, no question about it.

I spied some wonderful river birch bark across the landscape, but I didn't feel like running all the way over there with the camera, as the wind made it colder outside than it seemed at first. Plus I didn't want to have to explain to my family why I was late for Christmas dinner... "there was this leaning pine, and some awesome exfoliating birch bark, and the Miscanthus was on fire, and the Schizachyrium scoparium -- wow!"

So I was pleasantly surprised to find at least a few garden-worthy elements that morning. I wonder how many other great plantings there are that I see quite often but never really notice?


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Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (December 31, 2011 at 11:26 AM)  

Your post is proof that you can find interesting stuff just about anywhere if you only keep your eyes open.

Wishing you a Happy New Year, and a lot of new discoveries in 2012.

:: Bamboo and More ::

Cat  – (December 31, 2011 at 11:41 AM)  

I enjoy the beauty of grasses this time of year too...they are gorgeous in the winter slant of light. Hope you and your family have a wonderful New Year, Alan. Thanks so much for all your visits and comments to my blog. Your blogging friendship is much appreciated ;) Here's to a happy 2012!

Christine @ The Gardening Blog  – (December 31, 2011 at 3:27 PM)  

Hi Alan - those "grass" photos are really stunning!

I wish you a very happy New Year and a stunning 2012 Garden!

scottweberpdx  – (December 31, 2011 at 7:29 PM)  

Beautiful, I just adore grasses at this time of year...especially the Schazachyrium...such a great plant!

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