Photograph by Sabina Rüber
Briza maxima is a delightful annual grass that produces multiple hanging flowers like little pendants all through the summer. Palest green and layered like fish scales when they first appear, they turn silvery gold as they age, shimmering in the light and rustling in the breeze. Briza makes an easy addition to the front of a border, where it will weave in and out of other herbaceous plants giving a soft, natural look, and self seeding to make its own way around the garden the following year. It also makes an excellent cut flower that can be dried as well as used fresh. Try spraying the seed heads silver or gold for a lovely Christmas decoration. Preferring a spot in full sun and a well-drained soil, Briza is an easy-going plant that can either be sown under cover in mid spring or direct as soon as the soil has warmed up. Sow in modules and germinate at 18-20C. When sowing direct, thin the plants out to at least 30cm apart, or move the seedlings around within the border to create a naturalistic look. Sowing into modules gives you more control to slot the seedlings in wherever you want them.
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