Ornamental grasses can be the focal point or the backdrop to your water-wise garden. They are the ultimate perennial for low water usage and low maintenance. Ornamental
grasses are wondrous perennials that add year ’round magic to our water-wise gardens. Their diverse beauty of line, form, texture, sound and movement is often forgotten as we generally focus exclusively on color. Planted randomly in a perennial bed, their form carries the eye throughout. Planted en masse, they are fabulous!
An extremely hardy group, many Grasses are drought tolerant. And the majority cultivated for garden use do not readily self-sow or spread by runners. They simply act like other perennials we are more used to–they spread by expanding mounds that can be divided and shared.
While best known for shape and texture, Ornamental Grasses do have beautiful colors that enhance their dramatic forms. They come in a wide array of greens, blues and browns. Imperata ‘Red Baron’ sprouts green with dark red tips, Hakonechloas, which need some protection, are best known for their glowing yellow stripes and Phalaris ‘Strawberries and Cream’ is a short tri-colored grass of green, white and pink.
In early spring bright green growth sprouts quickly. By June the delicate, shivering seed heads of quaking grasses make you aware of even the slightest passing breeze. In cool, moist areas reeds and cat tails, shoot out of the dry, dead left-overs of winter, the female plants already forming the spikes that will turn black-brown in late summer and fall. Reed grasses, moor grasses, fountain grasses, and maiden grasses, already have showy spikes adding line and form to overflowing perennial beds.
In late July and on into August, September and October, Ornamental Grasses are at their dramatic best. Their inflorescences (flowers) are in full bloom and the sun is starting to drop in the sky fully illuminating them with brilliant backlighting.
Since Ornamental Grasses aren’t pruned til spring, frosty snow creates a spectacular scene adding a silver appearance to the leaves and flowers. As the snow increases, the grasses become interesting mounds until spring, when the show begins once again.
Come to my presentation at the May Arboretum at Rancho San Rafael on Tuesday, September 15 at 6 pm to learn more about how to use these Grasses to transform your landscape. It will be a fun evening with a lot of photos and ideas and plenty of time for Q & A.
For design consultation or workshops, contact me here: https://tovasgarden.com/tova-roseman-live/
In sync with nature,
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