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Ornamental Grasses

We haven’t messed with ornamental grasses much in the past, but this year, we’re establishing a new garden that is mostly made up of them.

Hakonechloa macra “Aureola”  This grass forms a low mound of stems that arch gracefully in cascading layers. This is a slow growing grass that doesn’t require a lot of sun. It does like moist soil, though, so we’ll have to be sure to water it. This grass can be divided in early spring once it gets large.

Variegated NOrthern Sea Oats or Chasmanthium latifolium “River Mist”. This plant is fine in sun to shade. It grows about 3 feet tall. It has green and white variegated foliage with dangling oats in late summer and fall. Like the previous grass, this one likes moist soil.

Feather Reed Grass Calamagrostide “Karl Foerster” We’ve planted two of these beside the new path. Ours are small but these can apparently grow to 7 feet tall. This grass is fine in sun to part shade, and it likes to be well watered. I read that the more moisture this one has the taller it will grow. The seeds from this one are supposed to be sterile. These plants, once they obtain some height, are going to partially obscure the view of the canoe from the street. Looking at our little specimens, it seems unlikely they will grow to anything like the spectacular heights they are supposed to reach, and I guess I’m a litte skeptical.

Blue Fescue “Elijah Blue” This is a small clumper with a distinctly blue colour. I bought some of them cheap at Home Depot. The label tells me it needs 3-6 hours of morning or late afternoon sun, and where it is planted, it should get that in the morning. Further reading tells me that the more sun this plant gets, the more likely it is to retain the blue colour. We’ll see how it does. This plant needs to be divided every few years. It is the only one of the grasses we have that are very drought tolerant.

Carex “Bowles Golden” This sedge will grow up to 2 feet tall and features golden leaves with narrow green margins. I have this one planted in one of the back gardens. It’s fine in part-shade to shade conditions and it likes plenty of water.

Juncus filiformis spiralis This is the lesser corkscrew rush. This is a crazy-looking spiraling grass. Although I planted it in a garden that gets lots of water attention, I may have been nuts to plant this one because really it loves scads of water. It doesn’t do much. It more or less sits there and looks funky. Let’s see how it fares.



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