No-Fuss Grass: The Beauty of Ornamental Grass

 Are you looking for a drought tolerant, fuss-free solution for your gardens? Then ornamental grasses may be the perfect perennial for your landscape.  Dramatic in appearance and easy to care for, ornamental grasses are the ideal addition to almost any garden.  These perennials add height and texture with their unique variegated leaves and plume-like blooms.  

 

These delicate-looking plants have also captured the imagination of plant designers who are incorporating these perennials to integrate movement and music into a landscape.  These designers are drawn to the sway of the foliage emphasizing that both the sound and rhythm are ideal to use in spaces where gardeners want to evoke a feeling of relaxation and even mediation.   Northern Sea Oats, Tall Moor Grass, Japanese Silver Grass, and Quaking Grass are all options that will add this extra experiential layer to your garden.

How Can Grasses Be The Solution for Hard to Grow Areas?

Unlike the grass on your lawn, ornamental grasses are fairly low maintenance.  This is a large family of perennials with a range of leaf textures and growth patterns. Most grasses thrive in full sun and well-drained soil. However, ornamental grasses tend to be highly adaptive and will thrive in a range of soil types, and can even be drought-tolerant, making them an ideal choice for cottage gardens. If you have a boggier spot in your garden or a pond, why not try one of the sedge varieties?  These grasses prefer moist or even wet soil and will thrive near ponds or bogs. 

Narrowing Down your Selection

The form and texture of these perennials make it easy to create an aesthetically pleasing design.  Before choosing your grass, spend some time looking at the plant’s foliage to determine the best spot in your current landscape.  Several varieties are also winter hardy, adding unique textures to your snowy landscape.

When choosing your grass:

  • Pay attention to the height and width. Grasses range between 30 centimetres to 2 metres in height and 30 to 90 centimetres in width, so keep this in mind when planting them.
  • Check to see whether it’s a clumping or spreading variety. The spreading varieties can quickly take over, so only plant these types in a spot that you want to fill in quickly or in a container.  
  • Verify if it’s an annual or perennial (Check the Zone). Pampas grass, for example, will add a beautiful plume to your garden but it will not survive Ontario’s harsh winters.  If you’re looking for a perennial, why not try Miscanthus varieties or Plume Grass which  have stunning flowers that can be as tall as 15 feet.
  • Verify its sun preference. Most ornamental grasses prefer full sun;  however, some varieties, like sedges and tufted hair grass, will also do well in the shade.

 

This season, take a few moments to explore the wide range of ornamental grasses.  These perennials make it easy to add points of interest to your landscape with their unique foliage and delicate feathery plumes.  They are also the ideal choice for fall containers, instantly transforming a pot into a dramatic showpiece. The only challenge is choosing which ones to add to your landscape.

August 10, 2021 — Domenic Crupi

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