Stipa gigantea, also known as Golden Oats, is part of the Poaceae (grasses) family that you can see near the Keble Gate in the University Parks. It is an evergreen grass with long, arching leaves. Hardy and quite robust, it will grow around 2m high. It has long, upright panicles of oat-like purplish flowers which ripen to a shimmering gold colour.
The plant likes full sun and a sheltered aspect; the soil should be moist but well-drained. It is easy to care for, and suffers from few problems. Give specimens plenty of space to grow as they can get large. The seed heads are an attractive feature and can last well in to the winter; once they get tatty, cut the spike down and then use a springbok rake to remove any old foliage – there is no need to cut the plant right down. To complement the grass, we have planted tall Lillies and Alliums. Propagate from seed in the spring or by division in late winter.