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This plant will be your garden’s drama queen

Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens' (Black Mondo Grass)

WHY YOU SHOULD PLANT IT

If you need a drama queen in a border, this grass is just the ticket to a show-stealing perfomance. Reluctant to grow at first, it will build slowly and perfectly. But it doesn't take over, although you might like it to. Although it's not a new plant by any means, it is appearing more often in the grass sections of good nurseries; the plants, moreover, are larger and healthier than they were a few years ago, making them a good buy now.

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WHERE TO PLANT IT

One of the great things abut this plant is that it's a grass that will grow in both sun (more quickly) and some shade (very slowly). It needs a good-sized hole (wider than deep) to encourage it to spread, which it will do to 30 centimetres, but over a long period of time. More likely, though, it'll stay at 20 centimetres, the height up to 25 centimetres.

WHAT IT OFFERS

Very few plants are as intensely black as this purple/black grass. Thrilling with any golden plant, it works especially well with gold heucheras, which likes the same environment. This is generally a Zone 6 plant, but what a fabulous beauty it can be in a container with a golden form of Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea') dripping over the side. Pure drama.

SOURCE AND COST

Toronto's Fiesta Gardens (www.fiestafarms.ca) sells it for $18.99 a plant, but the price can vary from $15 to $25.

Visit www.marjorieharris.com for more gardening and plant information.

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