Don’t forget ornamental grasses in your garden ideas. Ornamental grasses go well in naturalistic and meadow gardens, as well as in mixed borders and container gardens. They are also ideal for a low-maintenance garden design plan, and are favorites of those who want to avoid having stinging visitors to the garden.
Grasses come in many different colors, so you can find any color to enhance your garden. Consider some of the following ornamental grass companion plants:
- Blue Fescue with red Dianthus and purple Verbena
- Mexican Feather Grass with blue Hyssop and white or purple Scabiosa
- Sedge with blue Campanula and multi-colored Viola
Some grasses are evergreen and look interesting all year. Some grasses produce seedheads that provide visual interest in the winter. Note that with grasses that die back each year, that you should cut them down just as the new spring growth emerges.
Grasses have different forms:
- Tall fans
Use tall grasses to provide a screen or informal hedge. They also look nice placed in the back of a border and in between broad-leaved plants to provide a contrast.
Plant medium-sized grasses in between medium-sized flowers in the middle of borders.
Use short grasses in the front of borders. You can also plant short grasses alone to provide groundcover.
The fine texture of grasses contrast nicely with bold plant forms (broad leaves) and drifts of colorful flowers in mixed borders. In The Complete Planting Design Course, Hilary Thomas writes that grasses “Will look at their most beautiful with the sun behind them, lighting up their flowers and seedheads.” They bring a “light and airy feeling” to a planting scheme, as well as provide gentle movement in the garden when the wind softly blows their plumes.
Another garden idea that is great for ornamental grasses is a dry creek bed with grasses along the sides.
Grasses also go well in container gardens. You can plant grasses by themselves in containers. Some grasses (like Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureolia’ and H.m. ‘Mediovariegata’) form graceful mounds that arch over the sides of a container. You can also use grasses among flowers to provide the center height and contrast in a container garden.
Enjoy designing garden with ornamental grasses!