The simple beauty of ornamental grass brings year-round greenery and contrast to the garden, and it is particularly appreciated in late summer through fall, when the showy, abundant annual and perennial flower blooms of the season begin to fade.
In landscape design, we often use ornamental grass as an anchor plant, along with trees and shrubs, because they are so easy to integrate with all garden styles. The variety and versatility of ornamental grasses offer a range of options to create great density, beauty, texture and movement in the garden, with little maintenance required.
These are some of our favorites for function and form attributes…
The Tall Ones
The Shorter Ones
The Fancy Ones
Since most ornamental grasses are drought tolerant once established, they are becoming a more popular choice for sustainability as well. More grasses and less lawn, mean water conservation and when properly installed, they can help control soil erosion. As another benefit, the thick growth habit of ornamental grass creates natural habitat for wildlife, and their late season seed heads extend food supply.
The UNH Cooperative Extension includes Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum) as one of the best NH native ornamental grass species, and highlights it a good choice for naturalized areas or rain gardens.
Planting Ornamental Grass
Perennial grasses can be planted right up until fall, but the earlier the better to allow roots be well-established before the frost arrives. Annual ornamental grasses can also still be mixed with cold season annuals in containers to highlight harvest planter themes.
My Pro Tip:
A container filled with ornamental grass as a lone specimen has been a big trend as of late. This makes for an elegant and sophisticated statement that will last from spring through fall, without much care. A great solution for business environments.
In the Garden Center, we like to mix ornamental grass in containers with flowers for drama, height and thriller appeal. Spiralis Corkscrew Rush and Purple Fountain Grass are a couple of our go to annual favorites.
Finally, be sure to keep ornamental grass in mind for adding interest to the winter landscape, bringing form and structure, even in the snowiest of seasons.
See you at Studley’s!