Monday, March 9, 2009

Ornamental Grasses!

KCB is a professional gardener and friend who does wonderful work in the Greater Portland area. KCB is also an accredited Master Gardener by the Cooperative Extension Service and we are proud to tell you that KCB rules as the 2008 Maine Master Gardener of the Year. And we are honored to have KCB as part of our Skillin's Garden Log family.

This past gardening season Ornamental Grasses were added to my ‘I love’ list. The list seems to grow with each day. What I do not love is the snow we are experiencing today. Nevertheless we still need some insulation, as we will continue to experience freezing weather. We do not want to trick our shrubs, trees and perennials that spring is here.

Our change to Daylight Savings Time and over 50 degree weather this past weekend had many of us think spring. This is not a bad thing. More on why later. Now back to grasses.

This past year, I installed one garden that sported primarily grasses, another where grasses were elegant companions with Sedums.

Why do I love ornamental grasses?

Once established grasses flourish with just one good haircut early to mid spring.
It’s best to cut back the old straw-like growth while the new shoots are just poking through. Do not despair if this is not possible; just get to it when you can. Depending on the type and/or size of the grass all you really needed is sharp grass or hedge shears.

Add height, movement and texture in any landscape.

One of the few plants that can also benefit the sense of sound, one that we rarely consider when designing our landscape.

Variety-the spice of life.
Perennial & Annual Varieties

Colors range from whispery gray, silvery strands, regal purples, vibrant reds, soft blues, variegated blades.

The selection of height and widths can make the smallest or the most expansive of beds a work of art.

Attractive fall color and winter interest.

Birds utilize the blade for perching and nesting material.

Common ornamental grasses:

Fescue: Clump forming, often mounded with blue foliage varieties the most popular.

Miscanthus: Showy flowers (plumes). This group offers the most variety in height, blade width and hues.

Switchgrass: Fall color, upright with new cultivars becoming available.

Fountaingrass: Annual & Perennial varieties available for our zone. Foxtails often come to mind when in bloom.

So much can be said about grasses, and if given the space I most likely will comment more about the versatility of including ornamental grasses in the landscape.

KCB for Skillin's Greenhouses
March 9, 2009

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