Yes, I know. The grass is actually spelled “p-a-m-p-a-s”, but really… when you look at this “irritatingly grand, self-important, grass, couldn’t it be spelled p-o-m-p-o-u-s? Of all the ornamental grasses out there, this one could easily be labeled as somewhat conceited and self-involved. A “pompass a-s” is described as a person who pretends to know everything, is characterized as pomp and is somewhat arrogant. The same is true for this gr-ass.
When you look at pampas grass, I ask you… what is the first thing that comes to your mind? The movie, “Splendor in the Grass,” feathers of a proud peacock or a grass that is more of an “a-s?” I have to admit that when I think of all the grasses out there, this one must be the most uppity with its plumes so erect and upright. The blades of the grass are sharp, edgy and will surprise you with a cut more painful than paper. And… a wound from one of these invasively spreading plants can cause weeping and gnashing of teeth. I have proof of this.
My first memory of this plant is from my childhood. As we backed out of our driveway and looked down the street, one of our neighbors had two of these plants flanking their drive. We often “wondered aloud” how they could see traffic around the giant plumes that spread out from this haughty cluster of grass. They were tall, beautiful and solemn. (The plumes… not the neighbors.) They were neither tall nor solemn…hence the wondering aloud. 😉
My next encounter with this pompous gr-ass was when one of our home-builders suggested we plant it to absorb excess water in the swamp that was referred to as our “yard.” We lined our side-yard with it and it helped, but more times than not during our years in that house, we thought about planting those sharp, ornamental blades in a somewhat different uppity location.
Yesterday, as I drove down scenic 98, I noticed a giant clump of this condescending willow. But something had changed. On this cold, dreary day where nothing but germs and sniffles seem to be propagating, the blooms of this formerly snooty foliage caught my eye. The giant, feathery plumes of white, cream and beige were lush and sophisticated. They were attractive and complimented the landscape. This mound of prickly vegetation didn’t rub me the wrong way as it had previously. It adorned this little plot of land in a simple and unassuming way and was a humble reminder that other, more colorful blossoms are on the way.
In all of its beauty however, as I jumped out of my car to snap a few pictures, I was quickly reminded that this is a plant that demands respect. There is a certain protocol required when approaching this kingdom member. No matter the planting or pruning circumstance, the grandeur of this ornamental grass demands that you always wear gloves. AND, shoes and a long-sleeved shirt are required.
A shovel is optional.