Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster' - Feather Reed Grass
This plant is a favorite for our projects for a variety of reasons.
It has multiple seasons of interest. In late March / early April it starts to grow and quickly forms a strong base of leaves. By early summer it has bloomed forming tall blonde stems and sterile seed heads which then persist right through the winter. They can often be seen in the winter poking through the snow coated in frost or if we have a brown winter, adding a subtle splash of color and texture.
It is very hardy and not too fussy about exposure or soil although it won’t grow very well in shade. It does not produce seed (the flowers are sterile) and it is bunch forming, meaning it stays put. It is usually untroubled by deer and rabbits.
Pasque Flower, Pulsatilla vulgaris, (alternatively Anemone pulsatilla depending on your reference) goes by several common names, the most misleading of which is 'prairie crocus'. Early settlers saw the small purple flowers of its cousin Anemone patens poking thru the dead grasses on the prairie in the early spring and thought they resembled the Crocus that they knew from 'the old country' which are actually bulbs. The name 'Pasque Flower' is a reference to Easter although in Calgary they generally bloom in late April, early May, often one of the first perennial plants to bloom for us in the spring. One of the prettier common names for it I think is 'Windflower' which is as much a reference to the fuzzy seed-heads that are rather interesting in the garden if you leave them up to blow in the wind.