Light effects with purple fountain grass


Riding lower in the sky, the winter sun lights up the purple fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’) throughout the day, but in late afternoon it really zings.


The inflorescence of purple fountain grass is always touchable, as soft and fuzzy as I’d imagine a bumblebee’s back to feel.


But when the light shines through, it’s magical.


Add a little magic to your fall or winter garden. Plant an ornamental grass where it will be backlit by the setting sun. Then prepare to ooh and ahh.

All material © 2006-2011 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

10 Responses

  1. Scott says:

    Ahh…beautiful, this is one of the few plants I’m really sad aren’t hardy in my zone :-(

    It’s not really hardy here either. I replant one every spring from a one-gallon pot. It quickly fills out and provides great color and texture all the way into winter. —Pam

  2. David C says:

    I also like the contrast between the always-green live oaks and the autumnal look of the grass (the purples and greens are different since your frost).

    Yes, the purple fountain grass leaves are definitely coloring up. I’m still waiting for the miscanthus leaves to go gold and russet. —Pam

  3. Marc O. says:

    Gorgeous rim-lighting, Pam. Grasses of all sorts tend to look gorgeous shot this way.

    They do indeed. Thanks, Marc. —Pam

  4. Good observation, Pam! I find these always catch my eye in gardens as I traverse my daily life. And, you’re right, it’s due to the way they catch, harness and reflect the sunlight. So lovely.

    Hi, Kathryn. Grasses have such a wonderful, touchable texture, and the sun really makes magic out of it. —Pam

  5. Darla says:

    It’s glowing! Great lighting…

    And it happens every afternoon! What a show this grass has turned out to be in this spot. —Pam

  6. now that i’m taking photos of my garden, i am more aware of how the light plays with certain plants and features. in the future, i will plant them with photos and light more in mind! your pics are gorgeous!

    Thanks for your comment, Janine. I just visited your blog and enjoyed your post with pictures of the lovely garden ornaments. I wanted to leave you a comment but couldn’t without an account (if you care to enable the Name/URL option, others can leave comments too). Anyway, lovely photos! —Pam

  7. Tina Poe says:

    I love the different textures in your garden!

    Thank you, Tina. —Pam

  8. Very pretty! In our area it’s an annual, but still worth it in my opinion. Beautiful photos.

    Hi, Susan. Yep, it’s an annual (usually) here too but totally worth the trouble of replanting each year. —Pam

  9. ESP says:

    That first shot is just stunning Pam…complete with all the sun flares against the tree trunk…wow, and your blue bottles filled up with the setting winter light is just magical. Great photography.
    ESP.

    Thanks, ESP. I flattered myself, when I saw that first shot on the computer, that it looked like an image from the Patch. I’ve learned from you and your backlighting effects. —Pam

  10. Beautiful. That’s why I keep my somewhat invasive black fountain grass ‘Moudry’ so I can see the sun shining through it. Carolyn

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