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Shade-brightening Japanese forest grass garners top perennial award

Fall color — ‘Aureola’ Japanese forest grass late-season hue blends nicely with the autumn color of a foam flower (Tiarella) ‘Crow Feather.’ © Photo courtesy Walters Gardens

Fall color — ‘Aureola’ Japanese forest grass' late-season hue blends nicely with the autumn color of a foam flower (Tiarella) ‘Crow Feather.’ © Photo courtesy Walters Gardens

A lovely ornamental grass has been named the 2009 Perennial Plant of the Year.

‘Aureola’ is a golden Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra), a perfect plant for softening the front edge of a border, working as a ground cover or adding a bright spot in the perennial bed. It also can be used as a container plant for summer color and transplanted to the ground in fall, if desired.

Hakonechloa macra is native to Honshu Island, Japan. Hakon refers to the Japanese region and chloa is the Greek word for grass, according to the Perennial Plant Association , a not-for-profit organization made up of educators, plant breeders, growers and others. Each year members make nominations and vote on their favorite perennial. Previous popular winners include ‘Mainacht’ or May Night salvia, ‘David’ phlox and ‘Husker Red’ penstemon.

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