2 more gold stars: hakonechloa and spiraea ‘ogon’

AS THE BIGGER LAYERS OF COLOR GET PEELED AWAY before my eyes, two more stoic characters are shining through: Hakonechloa ‘All Gold,’ a perennial grass (above), and Spiraea thunbergii ‘Ogon’ (below) a shrub that will keep its orangey-gold foliage till nearly Christmas in many years.

Neither one asks much of the gardener for nonstop April or May through December appeal, and the Hakonechloa even likes a semi-shaded spot.

spiraea thunbergii ogon


  1. Halley's Mommy says:


    I was curious how many Hakonechloa plants you have grouped together. I would like this plant to be one of my additions next spring (or perhaps the variety that changes color to purple… I have a yellow house & too much yellow could be sickening.), but was unsure if it doubles rapidly or needs 6 plants to create that waterfall effect, etc. Any thoughts? The plant hoarder in me would like to buy as many as budget allows, you understand.

    I love your All Gold with that touch of red on your building and the grey stone at it’s feet. It just pops.


  2. Benjamin says:

    Those are two winners in my garden! Spiraea ‘Goldmound’ also gets a lovely rainbow effect this time of year, and if we are talking yellows, a gold-leafe cultivar of the smokebush is a rainbow right now too (pics on my site if you care to gander).

  3. Janis says:

    I planted Spiraea “White Gold” in my front garden this year because I love golden leafed spiraea but don’t care for the pink blooms most cultivars carry – they clash! Not that I’ve been able to enjoy it – my voracious neighborhood deer have decided that spiraea is yummy!

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Margaret,

    What kind of Japanese maple do you have in a pot by your front door? Is it a dwarf? The small, perfectly cut leaves are stunning in gold! I would love to press some of those leaves…

  5. helen says:

    Hi Margaret;
    I am in Los Angeles area, near the coast and I planted several All Gold grasses in my front yard a few months ago. The spot where they are planted is bright shade, no direct sun. After a few weeks, a couple of the plants became brown and when new leaves appeared, they quickly died back. The rest lost their gold color and became your standard green. I give them plenty of water. What am I doing wrong? I’d love to be able to grow this grass, it is a stunner!

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Helen. Though it’s a plant for semi-shade, I can say that it will be more greenish if getting too little sun (sort of chartreuse-green), and also that in the early going it takes awhile to settle in. It won’t “do” in poor, dry soil — it likes a humus-y, rich soil..and again, even then, it is slow to get settled and grow. How’s your soil?

  6. I have had the perennial yellow grass, Hakonechloa, along the house as a border for many years. it still looks fabulous. what I like about it, is that it does not grow too fast, and always looks attractive. thanks for mentioning it.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Thomas. So glad to visit your blog and see Rousham, one of my favorite English gardens! What a coincidence. Hope to see you again soon.

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