If you’re familiar with my blog, then you know I love grasses. And luckily they’re becoming more and more common in most every nursery, with many selections to choose from. Yes, grasses are all the rage and for good reason.
Why? Generally speaking, grasses will grow in just about any type of soil, most are drought tolerant and diseases and pests aren’t usually an issue.
Not only are they tough as nails, but there’s a size that’s perfect for any situation. From the tiny black mondo grass, to mid-size Blue Oat grass, to the long and arching blades of purple fountain grass.
Need more convincing? How about the fact that they come in a rainbow of colors: ruby red, steel blue, jet black, chartreuse, pink, brown, orange and variegated forms.
I particularly like the way a grass’s finely textured foliage complements neighboring plants with bolder leaves and/or flowers. The contrast helps both plants stand out just a bit more than they would on their own.
Don’t forget fall color! Many grasses, such as this Hakone grass, turn brilliant shades of gold once the temperatures start to drop.
And because of their delicate foliage, when a soft breeze passes through, they’ll gently sway in the wind providing another much needed design element to your garden – movement.
I love the creative ways gardeners and designers are using grasses as more than just another plant in a planting bed.
For example, instead of filling an elevated urn with annuals or perennials, a single specimen of grass looks just as elegant while making a bold statement.
In Freeland and Sabrina Tanner’s garden, look how creatively they’ve used the bronze colors of the carex to harmonize with the rusty iron container it’s planted in.
Another reason you might want to consider elevating your grass in a container is to help it ‘stand out from the crowd’. Sometimes, plants with finely textured foliage can get lost. When elevated in a container, however, their foliage can now be appreciated up close.
One of my favorites is this bench in David Rolston’s Dallas garden, topped with soft and mounding grasses. Don’t you just want to run your hands through it? Or better yet, lie down and take a nap on it?
In another part of his garden he’s created these casual stone steps leading from one terrace to another. Instead of using pebbles in between the ledgers, he’s used grass to provide a softer landing both physically and visually.
This planter, created by Gary Ratway and Mike Lucas for Cornerstone Gardens, is made using old gasoline tanks which are normally stored underground.
I’m so much happier seeing beautiful grasses spilling out of them instead, aren’t you? So next time you’re at the nursery, instead of seeking out your typical perennials won’t you also consider a grass or two? I’d love to see what creative combination you come up with!