The Value of Ornamental Grasses in the Landscape

Stipa tenuissima, Calamagrostis brachytricha, Carex comans 'Frosted Curls', Scabiosa atropurpurea 'Chat Noir', Cosmos atrosanguineus and Sedum matrona - © GAP Photos/Elke Borkowski

Stipa tenuissima, Calamagrostis brachytricha, Carex comans ‘Frosted Curls’, Scabiosa atropurpurea ‘Chat Noir’, Cosmos atrosanguineus and Sedum matrona – © GAP Photos/Elke Borkowski

Ornamental grasses have become increasingly popular in garden landscaping and for good reason, as they bring so many additional qualities to borders. Grasses have such a unique look to them, but are not so bold that they steal attention away from other plants. Instead they soften and compliment, as well as adding a vital textual element and movement to a border. From late summer and into autumn they really come into their own, often displaying bold and variegated colour on their strappy leaves and producing soft and unusual flowers. When backlit in summer and autumn, they look sensational and glow in the garden. In the winter, the graceful movement of grasses being caught in the wind is reason alone to plant them in your garden. Although many do die back in late autumn and produce fresh foliage the following spring, they will keep their structure of dead leaves over the winter, which look striking if caught in a hoarfrost.

Grasses are fantastic in pots, and look particularly stylish in autumn and winter planters. Most grasses like free-draining soil and plenty of sun, so try and plant them in more open, sunny spots in the garden.