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57. Learning a Little About Ornamental Grasses
Using ornamental grasses in your garden is one way to enhance its overall appearance. These grasses are an ideal choice since they provide multi-season interest. Best of all ornamental grasses are inexpensive after you get a batch growing of your own. You will find that a majority of ornamental grasses have beautiful feathery plumes, which can be clipped off and arranged with other flowers for an indoor display. Using grasses in decoration in you garden and your home will bring out your creative side!
Adding ornamental grasses alongside your perennial flowers provides a natural look to the landscape. Over the years, botanists have bred these grasses to create a large variety of colors. Unlike wild grasses, ornamental grasses are much easier to control since they do not tend to spread wildly into your yard. These grasses provide beauty to your garden by the variety of texture as well as color. The contrast they provide is what makes them such a wonderful addition.
Basically, ornamental grass begins to grow in the spring as a clump of narrow green leaves. However, as summer approaches, they start to take on a showier look and will last well into the winter. There are even grasses that drop over but are still colorful in the winter months.
Spreading or clumping types categorizes ornamental grasses. Determining the location of where the grass will be planted in your garden as well as the amount of room available will help you decide which grass is your best choice.
When you choose ornamental grass, be sure that you get grass classified as clump-forming or slow spreading. If you prefer to plant a variety of grasses, you might consider placing it in an actual pot and then planting the pot in your soil as a way of controlling how much the roots spread. There are many wonderful types of ornamental grasses. Some of the more popular choices to consider are:
Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis) – Strong vertical form, adaptable, and has a long blooming season
Karl Foerster / Blue Fescue (Festuca) – Intense blue color, forms compact mounds, is not invasive but does multiply quickly
Japanese Silver Grass (Miscanthus) – Graceful arching foliage, feathery plums, silver-green foliage and beautiful copper/red plumes
Just like lawn grass, ornamental grasses are durable and reliable. Most varieties prefer full sun and tend to be tolerant of a wide range of soils.Once your grass has been planted, it may need a little more attention during its first season. You will want to ensure they have plenty of water and are pest-free for a long successful life with grasses in your garden.
Like perennials, you will want to cut back your ornamental grass in late winter months. Cut the clumps down to about three to six inches above the ground using sharp scissors or a pruner. Once springtime rolls around, the grass will automatically start to sprout from the crown / the base and then again begin providing you with a beautiful look for your garden.
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