Grasses  Beyond the lawn you love, the vast array of low maintenance ornamental grasses available provide exciting opportunities to express your creative side with the range of colours and textures that can be integrated into the landscape…and they come in many forms from ground hugging, clump forming varieties to the taller reeds and bamboos.

Most of these graceful plants are evergreen so they look attractive throughout the year while some varieties have the added attraction of bearing decorative seed heads or tiny flowers at various times.  They are fast growers, and when some species flower there will be long stalks with plumes that rise up from the plant.Ornamental grasses are generally pest and maintenance free making them a perfect choice for the low maintenance garden.

Ornamental grasses can be used to great effect in formal as well as natural or indigenous gardens and with such a large variety available they are suitable for both large as well as diminutive townhouse gardens.

The low growing varieties make lovely ground covers or edging and come in an array of interesting colours such as silver grey, gold, blue green, variegated and even black, which offsets other plants in the garden beautifully.

The medium sized grasses look lovely when planted beside a pond or water feature or to soften the hard outlines of walls, pathways and patios. These grasses will create a striking display in a rockery as well as providing interesting contrast in a border.

The taller growing species are invaluable for creating a bold accent or focal point in the garden or in large pots, but these should be used with some restraint in smaller gardens.

Most ornamental grasses prefer an open, sunny position in the garden but some such as the ophiopogons and bamboos will grow happily in shaded areas as well.  Ornamental grass makes a nice barrier, so it can be planted around a spa or can be used to take up a big corner space.

Although most grasses will grow in poor soil they will perform far better in well drained soil that has been enriched with compost and a balanced organic fertilizer.

When planting your grasses be sure to give them enough space so that the beautiful shape of each plant can be appreciated when they reach maturity.  So remember to make sure you have the space to let them spread out.

For the best results in dry areas, it is advisable to water the plants regularly throughout the dry months. Once the plants are well established, water may be slightly reduced.

There are good reasons that ornamental grasses have become popular in gardens so quickly. Ornamental grasses add texture, form, motion and sound to a garden, not to mention the array of colors. They will look good all season long with minimal care. But deciding which one or two to include in your garden is a tough decision. There are so many attractive ornamental grasses to choose from, eg.

Is it going to be a specimen plant?  The decision then comes down to what grass has the foliage or form that will complement the rest of your garden. Is winter or summer interest the priority?  Or are you looking for height? Some ornamental grasses spill over like fountains and some, like Indian Grass, stand straight and tall.

Ornamental grasses are also finding their way into more and more containers. Growing ornamental grasses in containers is a great way to feature grasses without the worry of them spreading or taking over the garden. Container grown ornamental grasses are also much easier to divide.

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