This grass, Festuca mairei, has been catching my eye for months now in a garden I regularly pass, and I have to share it with you for August's plant of the month. Atlas Fescue is a clumping grass that forms beautiful yellow to gray-green, arching mounds. I don't see it used in landscapes too often, and it's a shame because it is a real winner.
Atlas grass is long-lived and very tolerant. It is tolerant of: drought (when established, though will stay greener with a tad bit of water), cold (will go dormant with negative temperatures), diverse soil types, part-shade to sunny sites, and slopes. It's hard to find a plant that can handle so many challenges and look still thrive in the garden!
Some horticulturalists describe the flowers above 2' mounding foliage as less than showy, but they are actually what has been drawing me back to this grass, and if you see it at dusk you'll know why. Throughout summer, this festuca puts out white to gold seedheads that light up like a silver-lined cloud when the sun is setting.
Festuca mairei is a great grass for massing, meadows, slopes, and adding swaths of texture to borders. Get ready to plant Festuca mairei in fall (or winter or spring, just not summer) and enjoy a great grass that won't demand your care but will still give you a show from June to September.