Grasses have always been a part of the natural landscapes of the earth. Because of their versatility, they are being used more and more frequently in the home garden. They can be used as fillers or specimens, border or background plantings, as ground covers or screens, or they may be grown as container plants. Their adaptability and beauty make them perfect companions to flowering plants and woody ornamentals.
To fully appreciate the beauty, diversity and usefulness of ornamental grasses, they should be viewed in a garden setting. It is impossible to appreciate all of the attributes of these plants when they are sitting with a dozen others, on a bench here at the nursery.
Ornamental grasses are available in a wide array of colors, shapes, textures and sizes. The flowers and subsequent seed heads are equally diverse, ranging from "ho-hum" to truly spectacular. Each grass species has it's own unique form. They may form low compact mounds, tall screens, or densely spreading mats. The foliage colors include various shades of green, blue and red, as well as variegated varieties having red, white or yellow foliage banded with ivory or yellow stripes. In the fall, the spring and summer colors change to hues of red, beige, or brown, providing a great winter garden accent.
The flower spikes (also known as an inflorescence) are excellent for drying. The colors are different shades of maroon, red, pink, silver, white, yellow, or beige. With ornamental grasses, looks aren't everything. They add a dimension of motion and of sound to your landscape. The gentle waving motion of the grasses, and the accompanying sounds create a very peaceful atmosphere within your garden. The grass's animated movements will change with the seasons (dry and living grasses appear and sound quite different).
Once established, ornamental grasses require very little care. These durable, low maintenance plants will not only add distinction to your landscape during the summer months, but they will be quite dramatic in the winter landscape as well.
The number of grasses that are cultivated for home gardens is always increasing through hybridizing and discovery. They are available in a wide range of height, spread, color, and flowering times. You are probably already familiar with Pampas Grass, but don't overlook the Purple Fountain Grass, Maiden Grass, Zebra Grass, Blue Fescue, or many other varieties, which are also usually available here at the nursery.
Most grasses will grow in areas where other plants will not survive. There is no "maintenance free" plant but ornamental grasses come pretty close. They grow in almost any garden soil, seldom need watering once established, and they are rarely bothered by pests or diseases.
Next time you are in the nursery, give us a chance to help you pick out a few oranmental grasses that are right for your yard!