Colourful Ornamental Grasses!
Being a hay-fever sufferer I usually dodge grasses and lawns, but I have grown to admire and love ornamental grasses that look beautiful in group plantings, borders, mixed with flowering plants or used as lawn specimens.
One of my favourite grasses for a sunny or partially shaded spot is the Golden Japanese Forest Grass known as Hackonechloa macra ‘Alboaurea’. It’s a low growing golden variegated grass with a wonderful dense, but graceful arching habit ideal for growing in pots and containers, or planted in groups with other grasses, or perennials such as hostas or ferns. I’ve also seen it planted densely around the base of a tree surrounded by a neatly cut lawn and its looks amazing in that situation too.
A lovely blue evergreen grass is Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’, this is a soft looking sun loving clump-forming grass with blue-green stems and flowers in summer that will fade to a pale brown by autumn. Another super little grass that will look great in containers, or planted in groups in a flower bed or border with other grasses, perennials or annuals, can be used as an edging plant, and looks great planted near conifers too.
A dramatic and vibrant grass is Japanese Blood Grass also known as Imperata cylindrica ‘Red Baron’. It never looks anything much in a plastic pot in the garden centre, but once established it will soon stand out and show its true potential. It grows to a height of about 20 inches, has green leaves that are deeply red tipped and will thrive in most well-drained soils, but doesn’t like winter wet. This brightly coloured grass will look fabulous planted in gravel beds, among pebbles, or with other grasses and perennials.
Another stunning and useful ornamental grass perfect as a specimen for the lawn or in beds and borders is Stipa gigantea also known as Golden Oats. This is a beautiful strong growing and graceful evergreen grass with green leaves that produces tall stems with large panicles of oat-like purple flowers that ripen to a gold colour in autumn.