Potted Meadow


With the rich textures and subtle shades of ornamental grasses, and a splash of exuberant colour from a grass-like indigenous Aloe species, you can capture the grace and beauty of a meadow or a prairie in a pot.


You Need

  • ALOE Cooperi (Grass Aloe)
  • CAREX Comans ‘Bronze’
  • CAREX Comans ‘Green’
  • KOELERIA Glauca
  • PENNISETUM Setaceum ‘Rubrum

More about the meadow plants…


Aloe Cooperi
The long, erect leaves of this Aloe are yellowish-green and have white spots on the lower surfaces. Aloe Cooperi is evergreen in warm areas but in colder climates, it dies back in winter. It flowers from December to March (when this pot was planted up), with one subspecies flowering from April to May.

The tube-like flowers vary from a reddish colour to luminous light orange to salmon-pink, all with soft green tips. Including the height of the flower stems, the plant we chose for this pot was at least 1 m tall; they can reach a height of 1,2 m. Aloe Cooperi is a grassland aloe, and occurs naturally in both dry, rocky places and marshy areas, most often in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.


Carex Comans ‘Bronze’ and ‘Green’
These hardy Sedges from New Zealand are truly magnificent once they fill out into thick clumps. There are various hybrids available. To complement the lovely Aloe Vossii, we chose ‘Bronze’, which is a khaki to brown colour and ‘Green’, which has a re-assuring fresh green shade. (‘Bronze’ might be regarded as a ‘dead-looking’ grass by some, but we promise it is alive with possibilities!) Both these Carexes have a wild and rough appearance that evokes thoughts of wind-swept prairies and makes them perfect for our pot.

Koeleria Glauca (Blue Hair Grass)
The steel blue colour of this short and sweet ornamental grass cools the scene down. It is soft to the touch, will catch the dew droplets and reflect the sun’s first gentle rays back to you, and will spread and tumble over the rim of the pot in a short while.

Pennisetum Setaceum ‘Rubrum’ (Purple African Fountain Grass)
The deep burgundy leaves and soft seed plumes of this perennial grass sway and dance gently in the softest of breezes, adding movement to any planting combination. About the only negative thing that one can say about this lovely garden hybrid is that it is deciduous in cold weather, and so will die down temporarily. But, after a good cut-back and cleaning up, it will be back to add grace to another summer and autumn.

Take care out there…
It is a joy to use your bare hands when you work with leaves, flowers, roots and fresh potting soil, but if you have an open wound or any sore on your hands then it can be dangerous to your health. In that case, rather be safe and wear gloves. (This is Anna’s latest battle scar, inflicted by a hot oven, and it just goes to show that working in the kitchen is more dangerous than potting up a meadow container…)

The Gardener