Table of Contents Hide
Welcome to the enchanting world of ornamental grasses! These versatile plants can bring texture, movement, and a unique aesthetic to any garden setting. Whether you’re looking for towering grasses to create a dramatic statement, charming border grasses to outline your garden paths, or hardy evergreen varieties to provide year-round interest, ornamental grasses are a fantastic choice. In this guide, we’ll explore the various types of ornamental grasses that can elevate your garden’s beauty, regardless of the season.
Tall Grasses: Majestic Additions to Your Landscape
Tall ornamental grasses are like nature’s sculptures, adding height, drama, and a dynamic element to your garden. They come in all manner of varieties and a surprising array of colours, not just greens and browns! I have a few grasses that break up large spaces or add height in beds that aren’t backed by Dahlia. Here are some top picks from us:
- Miscanthus sinensis ‘Gracillimus’: Often known as Maiden Grass, this elegant grass grows in a graceful, arching shape with fine-textured foliage, reaching up to 6 feet in height. Its feathery plumes in late summer add a lovely touch.
- Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’: This upright, blue-green grass known as Switchgrass can reach heights of 5 feet. It’s robust and thrives in various conditions, making it a popular choice for adding vertical interest.
- Cortaderia selloana (Pampas Grass): Known for its striking, fluffy plumes, Pampas Grass can grow up to 10 feet tall. It’s a showstopper but requires space to flourish, making it ideal for larger gardens.
Ornamental Grasses for Borders: Defining Your Garden Spaces
Border grasses are perfect for creating a soft, natural boundary or accentuating garden paths. For curving paths, popping a large ornamental grass on the corners allows for intrigue to be created within your garden. Here are some wonderful options:
- Festuca glauca (Blue Fescue): This clump-forming grass with its blue-green foliage is ideal for borders. It’s compact, reaching about a foot in height, and adds a splash of colour to the garden.
- Hakonechloa macra (Japanese Forest Grass): With its cascading, bright green leaves, this grass brings a touch of elegance to any border. It’s particularly striking in shaded areas.
- Carex testacea (Orange Sedge): This ornamental sedge forms graceful mounds of narrow, arching foliage that turns orange in the sun. It’s a beautiful choice for adding texture and colour to borders.
Hardy Evergreen Ornamental Grasses: Year-Round Garden Interest
Hardy evergreen grasses are the backbone of a winter garden, providing structure and colour even in the coldest months. Consider these resilient varieties:
- Carex oshimensis ‘Evergold’: This sedge is known for its striking variegated leaves in green and gold. It forms tidy clumps and is excellent for ground cover or edging.
- Festuca amethystina (Amethyst Fescue): With its fine, blue-green foliage that turns into an amethyst hue in winter, this grass is both tough and beautiful. It remains compact, making it ideal for smaller gardens or containers.
- Stipa tenuissima (Mexican Feather Grass): This evergreen grass is prized for its feathery, golden-green foliage. It’s drought-tolerant and creates a stunning, wispy effect in the garden.
Planting and Caring for Ornamental Grasses
When planting ornamental grasses, consider their sunlight and soil requirements. Most grasses thrive in well-drained soil and full sun, but some prefer partial shade. Regular watering during their first growing season helps establish a robust root system. Once established, these grasses are generally low maintenance, requiring minimal care.
In late winter or early spring, cut back the dead foliage to make way for new growth. This is also the ideal time to divide grasses, ensuring their health and vigour.
Ornamental grasses are a fantastic way to add interest, texture, and movement to your garden. Whether it’s the towering elegance of tall grasses, the refined beauty of border grasses, or the year-round charm of hardy evergreens, these plants offer endless possibilities for gardeners. Incorporate them into your landscape for a garden that’s not only visually striking but also brimming with life and character.
Remember, gardening is not just about planting; it’s about creating a space that reflects your personality and brings you joy. So, let ornamental grasses transform your garden into a masterpiece of natural art.