Add a New Twist to Your Beds and Borders
Move over, perennials and annuals; ornamental grasses are finding their own niche in beds and borders. Adventurous gardeners, recognizing that grasses are far more than space fillers, are designing grasses into their borders from the outset, and the results, though sometimes unexpected, are always spectacular!
Ornamental grasses come in a wide range of heights, so there’s a perfect choice for any spot from the front edge to the very back of the border. Another consideration for garden design is color, and in this category, you can use grasses to your advantage in several ways. Grass foliage makes its own color contribution to the border, and it’s hard not to be tempted by the surprising variety of foliage color choices, from yellow, red and orange, to brown, blue and even multihued. Gold, silver, copper, or bronze flower clusters and seed heads, when caught by light, cast an almost metallic sheen over the entire garden setting. Green grasses also work well for separating strong colors and boldly patterned blooms.
Beyond color, grasses have other assets to offer beds and borders, most notably, form and texture. A fair number of traditional border plants possess distinct upright or mounded forms, making the arching habits of many grasses a welcome transition between the two. The possibilities for outstanding combinations are abound when you consider the dramatic contrast of fine textured grasses against the bold foliage of broad-leaved border favorites such as hostas, heucheras, and cannas. One of the best contributions that grasses make to beds and borders is the soft, natural feel that they add to even the most precisely planned plantings. They can evoke the free-flowing feel of a wildflower garden while also maintaining the tidiness and balance of a carefully cultivated border.
As ornamental grasses mature, they provide exciting changes throughout the summer months just when most borders shine, but they’re interesting at unexpected times, too. The fall foliage colors of warm-season grasses, for instance, can rival some of the showiest deciduous shrubs and trees. Their winter colors are more muted, but the golds and tans are still welcome and add interest to the winter landscape. Cool-season grasses, too, shine during the colder months, bridging the gap between the last of the fall-flowering perennials and the earliest spring bulbs.
Artistic considerations aside, there are also excellent practical reasons to consider adding ornamental grasses to your borders. Warm-season grasses wait until the weather starts heating up to put on most of their growth, so they’re ideal for filling spaces left when spring bulbs and early flowering perennials go dormant in early to midsummer. Sturdy grasses can help minimize staking chores because they’ll mingle with and support weaker-stemmed partners in a way that’s as alluring as it is labor-saving. Low to medium-height grasses are perfect companions for covering the “bare ankles” of taller-growing perennials that tend to lose their lower leaves as the season progresses.
For great texture and an added twist, add ornamental grasses to your beds and borders. Al’s Garden & Home has a huge variety for all your late summer and early fall plantings. Find a grass that fits well into your surroundings! Visit our website for more information.