Anyone who has watched grasses swaying in the wind knows the soothing and calming effect they can have on us, something that is undoubtedly needed in our hectic, modern world. Grasses are simply a completely unique group of plants, unlike any other, and they are a designer’s dream! They can used in such a wide variety of scenarios; as a solitary plant, clustered in groupings, or as a companion to other plants. The nature and habit of the grass will in part dictate how it can be used.
Grasses can either be spreading or clumping. Spreading grasses will actively spread underground via a rootsystem whilst clumping grasses will stay put where planted. Depending on the gardener’s needs either can be suitable. If wanting to use a grass as a companion or accent to other plants, a clumping grass is more suitable, as a spreading grass might eventually outcompete the other plantings and take over. If however a gardener has an empty area, or simply would like the effect of a mass planting, a spreading grass is ideal. Our qualified members of staff will be happy to provide advice on selecting the right grass for you.
Grasses also vary vastly in size once mature, ranging from less than a foot to over 12 feet. Always be sure to keep the ultimate size of the plant in mind when designing an area for optimal outcome once plantings mature. The majority of grasses are sun lovers, meaning they will perform best anywhere between part sun and full sun. Few ornamental grasses thrive in deep shade, although we do offer some very attractive Japanese forest grasses and ornamental sedges.
Grasses truly do provide interest in all four seasons. Spring offers fresh new growth; summer boasts grasses in their full splendor; autumn displays a spectacular show of autumn colors; and winter highlights the plumes and seedheads poking out of the snow.
Grasses have numerous features that provide interest:
- Stature, size and habit of plant
- Seedheads and plumes
- Autumn color of leaf blades
- Winter interest with plumes/seeds
- Grasses swaying in the wind
- Birds feeding on seeds (favor native grasses)
- Birds using plumes/plant as perches
Grasses require absolutely minimal care. Once established these resilient plants are very self-sufficient. They do not require watering nor fertilizing. The main chore is simply cutting them down each year, either in autumn or spring. A spring cutting will allow gardeners to enjoy the interest grasses provide over the winter and furthermore provides some winter protection for plants. When cutting grasses be sure not to cut too close to the crown to avoid any damage. For large grasses bunches can be tied up to avoid heavy snowfall knocking over plants or causing them to split. Grasses also provide a food source and shelter for many birds over winter.