Friday, September 21, 2007

Black Leaf Millet (Pennisetum glaucum 'Purple Majesty')

Black Leaf Millet
Pennisetum glaucum 'Purple Majesty'
(pen-ih-SEE-tum) (GLAW-kum)
Synonyms: Ornamental Millet, Pearl Millet

This is an interesting accent plant that I am seeing more of. I have grown it before from seed and purchased it in small pots in the spring. This year I cheated and bought some in August for planting with my mums. One thing I liked about getting it later in the season, the plants were a lot shorter. It grows to about 4 to 5 feet in the garden. As I said it is an interesting accent both for it’s color and vertical shape. I never knew the scientific name until I went to write this post. I see it is actually a grass and related to couple of my favorite Ornamental Grasses, Fountain Grass. I especially love Purple Fountain Grass even though it is closer to red. Since this plant is hardy to USDA Zone 8 I grow this as an annual. It last pretty late into the season.

I just planted mine in the garden without looking up the cultural requirements and had good luck. For best results this plant likes a sunny spot (which intensifies the leaf color) and good drainage. It doesn’t need a lot of water, which doesn’t really matter to me, but I know is a concern and a good trait for some gardeners. It can tolerate heat. This plant won the All-America Selections Gold Medal Flower award, which is rarely awarded and only to plants that represent a breeding breakthrough. They have been testing new varieties of flowers and vegetables since 1933. Here is a link to more history on the awards.
All-America Selections/History

In the outtake department this plant was my backup ‘I’ subject for ABC Wednesday. I am not sure what species (I wish I had written it down) of Ironweed this is. Ironweed (Vernonia) is a large perennial that some people consider a little weedy. I like it for its height, purple blooms and ability to grow in moist areas; it also blooms pretty late in the season. It is fine for the back of a mixed border or woodland garden. There are some medicinal uses and supposedly you can use the stems to build a kite.


Sandy Carlson said...

Thanks for educating me this morning! Ironweed. Now I know.

The leaf in the first image is really gorgeous. You have created a beautiful image. The color and lack of it are very dramatic.

Have a wonderful day.

Phillip said...

Spectacular photos of the ironweed! You should provide us with some photography tips. :) Can you tell me what camera and lens you use?

Anonymous said...

Hi. I agree. Can you tell me what kind of digital cameral you use? I want to buy one like it.

Digital Flower Pictures said...

Thanks, Sandy. You are an uplifting person. We can use a few more people like that. Thanks so much for visiting and taking the time to comment.

Phillip and anon,

I use Nikon cameras. It is one of the few areas of my life where I am brand specific. My main camera is a DSLR, Nikon D70s. I have put it through heII and it still works. I have a couple of Sigma lenses. 17-70 and a 28-200mm, both with macro. I also have an 18-135mm ED Nikon lens. Most of time (about 85%) I use the 60mm Nikkor-Micro 2.8 macro lens. That is my favorite.

All the recent B&W and some of the flowers were shot with my Nikon CoolPix 8400 point and shoot. It has a unique 24-85mm ED lens and is 8mp. It is an amazing little camera to me.

I also have a Nikon Coolpix 5400 which also has a pretty wide lens for a P&S at 28mm. This more of a pocket type cam and takes great pictures though I haven't been using it as much lately.

A lot of people tell it is not the gear you use but the photographer's eye that counts. I agree some what but think having good gear increases your chances of getting a good picture.

Hope that helps.