Friday, November 5, 2010

Great Grasses

 Ornamental grasses are at their
peak in the fall, but they
contribute to the garden
all season long.
For maximum impact,
follow design principles from

 Repetition and Contrast
The overall shape of Miscanthus grass (Miscanthus sinensis) is repeated in that of Yucca,
while its feathery grass plumes and Autumn Joy Sedum provide contrast.


Focal Point and Contrast
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is an impressive focal point during the summer. 
The grass mimics the form of Lavender and together they
soften and create contrast to the evergreen backdrop.

Layering and Repetition
 Grasses act as fronting plants here,
hiding the leggy bottoms of pink Hollyhock (Alcea) flowers. 
Their arching form mimics the
curved flowers of Butterfly Bush (Buddleja davidii).

Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra)
works well as a fronting plant for
mid-height perennials.

Line and Layering
Blue Fescue (Festuca glauca)
emphasizes the pleasant line of the bed and makes a
nice transition between the wall and taller plants.

Layering, Repetition and Contrast
Large grasses put their best foot forward
when they're placed in the rear.
Miscanthus grasses are enhanced by
fronting them with shrubs and perennials.

The reds in
Crimson Pygmy Barberry (Berberis thunbergii var. atropurpurea 'Crimson Pygmy'),
Autumn Joy Sedum (Sedum 'Autumn Joy') and
Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) fall foliage
add striking contrast to the greens and tans of the grasses.

Masses of Fountain Grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides) and
Miscanthus sinensis make
a bold statement in combination with
colorful Sedum 'Autumn Joy'

Layering, Focal Point, Contrast and Repetition
Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora)
requires careful placement to look its best in the garden. 
It shines as a focal point here,
fronted by Fountain Grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides) which
mimics the grass fronds, but with a contrasting form.

Compact Fountain Grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides) is
one of the easiest grasses to use in the garden. 
 Its golden plumes add contrast
juxtaposed against bright magenta roses and
Crimson Sentry Maple (Acer platanoides 'Crimson Sentry').

With the right lighting and background,
Purple Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum')
makes a dramatic statement in itself.

For more information on grasses see:
University of Illinois Extension - Ornamental Grasses
Colorado State University extension - Ornamental Grasses



Maleviks Rosenträdgård said...

What a LOVELY blog :)
Hugs from Håkan

Chris said...

Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you enjoyed your visit!

Carol said...

What spectacular displays! Grasses sure make this time of year dramatic. Lovely and inspiring post. ;>)

Chris said...

They add great interest to the fall landscape. I appreciate your visit!

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Beautiful pictures. Its like straight out from the magazine:)

Julie said...

What gorgeous photos! I love grasses--they make such a stunning blend in a landscape. Glad to find your site!

Chris said...

Malay-Kadazan girl-
Thanks for dropping in, and for your kind words!

I'm glad you enjoyed your visit! Thanks for the encouragement.

Christine said...

These are ALL stunning combinations - you've given me lots of ideas! My favourite is the Lavender and Grass combination. Stunning.

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