Carex 'Ice Dance'

Ice Dance

Carex “Ice Dance”, an ornamental sedge, has a place in every shade garden. It is prolific and breeds like a bunny rabbit. Plant it this spring and, by next year, you’ll have plugs to share with your friends. Moreover, it’s tolerant down to Zone 5. The key to the preceding is ‘shade’. “Ice Dance” best achieves its fetching, long, shiny green leaves outlined with white when placed under a tree or shrub.

When Adrian Bloom laid out the Bressingham Garden, he deliberately placed a series of this appealing grass at one of the corners of the ‘Times Square’ intersection of several walkways in the garden. ‘Ice Dance’ looked great all summer but, by the end of September, there was sun scald across the top of the grasses.

The sedge appears to have come through the winter in good shape, but the scald is still present and readily apparent. Elm Bank gardeners will take two approaches to nurturing ‘Ice Dance’ back to its seasonal brilliance. Half of the plants will be cut back severely and allowed to produce all-new growth for 2009. The other half will have scalded blades trimmed by hand to see how the old growth and new look alongside one another.

In the end, ‘Ice Dance’ may need to be moved. But the notion of placing a shade-loving sedge at such a prominent place in a sunny perennial bed is what experimentation is all about. And, it’s what makes gardening interesting.

We hope you’ll stop by ‘Ice Dance’ and form your own opinion regarding Adrian Bloom’s ignore-the-rules design decision.