Video:How to Use Ornamental Grasses in Gardenswith Charlie Siegchrist
Ornamental grasses can add a big statement to any garden, and when used decoratively, they will not become unwieldy and unmanageable. See popular ornamental grasses that are dazzling to the eye, and find out how to use them.See Transcript
Transcript:How to Use Ornamental Grasses in GardensHi, I'm Charlie Siegchrist for About.com, and we are at a perennial nursery today. When most people think about perennials they think about flowers and in their perennial beds they think of grasses as weeds.
However, there are a large number of grasses that are used as ornamental plants in the perennial garden, and I just wanted to show you a few of them, and how they vary, and how you might use them in garden compositions.
Ornamental Grass 1: Panic GrassThis is called a panic grass, and you can see the texture of the seedhead is exceedingly fine and delicate and very striking color. This one happens to be called heavy metal.
Ornamental Grass 2: Zebra GrassThis next plant is striking for its foliage. This is a miscanthus grass, also known as zebra grass, and you can see why. The yellow stripes on the foliage are very striking, and if you can imagine this plant surrounded by bright yellow flowers, that would really bring out the yellow stripe. Very effective vertical accent if you had some rounded or horizontal yellow flowered plants nearby.
Note that it is a very upright habit, as compared to this, which is called a pennisetum grass and is very arched and has fluffy, wonderful, bunny tail type seedheads. Moves in the breeze. In the autumn this will turn tan and the seedheads will turn reddish and in the autumn light those red heads really glow at sunset.
Ornamental Grass 3: Karl Forester GrassA grass with a more vertical habit is called a Karl Forester grass. This has a loose, open tan seedhead that is effective from late July onward all the way until winter snows knock it down. This is often used in groupings to create a vertical accent. Sort of an eye stopping point as you come across the garden.
Ornamental Grass 4: Gigantius GrassAnd for a real show stopper, last and definitely not least is a miscanthus grass called Gigantius. Gigantius has big strong leaves with this prominent white stripe down the center. It can get from eight to ten feet tall and can take up a space nearly as wide, so it has a shrub like stature. When you think of grass in your perennial garden, do not necessarily say oh, nasty weeds.
Benefits of Using Ornamental GrassesAll of these have the virtue of being clump-forming grasses. They do not race and run and come up everywhere you do not want them to. They expand by clumping out, rather than by underground roots that race and run everywhere. So really give these grasses consideration. They make a big statement in the garden and contribute months and months of interest.
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