Pampas grass, once associated with suburban wife-swapping, is making a comeback in gardens
By Jonathan Bax for The Mail On Sunday
23:13 January 18, 2020, updated 23:16 January 18, 2020
- Florists have reported new demand for pampas grass linked to the wife-swapping myth
- One wedding rental company reports a significant increase in the number of couples wanting pampas leaves
- A new generation, uninterested or unaware of the plant’s history, has moved to the pampas
They were once a common fixture in British gardens, but fell out of favor when they became associated with suburban wife-swapping.
But now pampas grass is back in popularity, with florists reporting new demand for the exotic plant.
Sales declined after rumors spread that homeowners who planted feather bollards in their front gardens were indicating an interest in the swing.
Gardeners were quick to dismiss these claims as a ridiculous urban legend, but the connotations still deter many gardeners.
However, a new generation, either uninterested or unaware of the history of the plant, has now moved to the pampas.
Even if it hasn’t returned to its ubiquity of the 1970s in gardens, the plant has certainly become popular in flower arrangements, with millennials seeing it as a “green” alternative to fresh flowers.
Leah Stegman, of wedding hire company Boho & Bloom, reports a spike in the number of couples wanting pampas leaves, which can cost up to £11 each.
“It’s gotten so crazy,” she said.
“It’s all part of the drive towards sustainability. Many couples no longer want fresh flowers because of the environmental impact of growing and transporting them. People are instead choosing dried flowers like pampas leaves that can be reused. Many brides even wear pampas headpieces in Their wedding day.
Celebrities like Stacey Dooley also use the leaves indoors.
In 2011, broadcaster Mariela Frostrup discovered that by leaving pampas plants on the balcony of her west London flat, she was inadvertently signaling that she was interested in liberal sexuality.
But she told The Mail on Sunday last night that she was seeing the plant everywhere.
She said: “The idea that it is a reference to swingers is perhaps a bit exaggerated. I now live in rural Somerset and it is a popular plant there. I don’t think my village experiences wife-swapping.”
She added that she kept the pampas plant that was in the garden when she brought it home, and it did not attract any unwanted attention.
Jeff de la Cour Baker, of Palmstead Nurseries in Kent, said the pampas plant was just one of the popular plants in the 1970s that has become popular again. Others include monkey puzzle trees.
Guy Barter, of the Royal Horticultural Society, said he was not surprised by the renewed interest, explaining: “As a cutting arrangement, it is quite remarkable.”
(tags for translation) pampas