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Short or Tall grasses? For what situations? Foliage ? Flowers?

Discussion in 'General Gardening Discussion' started by Ned, Feb 19, 2018.

  1. Ned

    Ned Evaporated

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    @luciusmaximus ... I really need to issue a warning here for you. If you pay attention to this Verdun chap, you will become seriously hooked on grasses, and the perennial plants that are so well matched to them......this is what happened to me :uh-oh: ... you will also quite probably lose weight, because you will spend a large chunk of your grocery money on .... guess what - but your garden will benefit hugely :awesome:
     
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    • Ned

      Ned Evaporated

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      DSC00008 (1).JPG ...and even as winter starts, the evergreen grasses help the evergreen shrubby plants to light up the garden!
      I now have several Miscanthus, and although they are not evergreen, the small birds love them, and perch precariously on them to feed on the seeds...magic!
       
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      • Verdun

        Verdun Passionate gardener

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        Ha ha Tetters. Your picture just illustrates the beauty of grasses and grasslike plants :)
         
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        • wiseowl

          wiseowl Friendly Owl Admin Staff Member

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          This is our friend @Verdun's Post

          Lucius, you will prob have to stop me here but here goes....:)
          Stipa tennuissima is a superb, 60 to 80 cm tactile flowering grass for sun, for free draining soil. It is irresistable; has to be touched! Grow in at least a group of 3. Elymus magellanicus is evergreen and the bluest grass, the bluest foliage plant of all. Acorus Ogon is not really a grass but grasslike......evergreen, adaptable and tough. Grows in water, boggy ground or dry soils. Bowles Golden Grass is all yellow.....foliage, stems and flowers. Eye catching here with astilbes...I grow astilbe Shogun with them here; an astilbe unlike any other with almost black foliage. Some moisture at roots. Again for the more damp areas hackonechloa macra aureola is a stunner....the classiest of all grasses. Another variety is All Gold. Great for pots too....they make mounds that then cascade. Tiny flowers for wildlife and autumn foliage. Not a grass but check out libertias....Goldfinger has white flowers on unique orange/olive foliage. ...
          Pennisetums like Villosum, which has large white caterpillar like flowers and Hamlyn are excellent flowering grasses. Superb for wildlife. Medium size. Easy. Deschampsias flower in mid summer...really lovely see through effect with masses of flowers
          Taller and charming is helictotrichon....another blue grass, evergreen with beige flowers. Stipa arundinacea is medium height with orange red tinted foliage and an easy evergreen.
          Carex Testacea is evergreen with totally unique copper foliage; you must grow this for its colour. buchanii is a taller upright foxy red carex. Comans Bronze has similar colour but sways and moves delightfully in the slightest breeze.
          For something esp good in winter is arrhenatherum bulbosum (forgive if spelling is incorrect). This is an almost white grass that lights up the garden esp in dark or shady areas. I like this a lot......grow near a red heuchera or the black "grass" ophiopogon nigrescens.
          For some summer fun sow a few hordeum jubatum seeds now......similar to stipa tennuissima but the billowing flowers have wonderful colours of pink, cream, purple when in full sun. Everybody will want to touch them.
          Imperata Red Baron has foliage that turns crimson from mid summer onward....superb in groups or as a ribbon feature. Contrast with blue or yellow foliage......
          Do you have space for grasses that are tall? Miscanthus varieties are vigorous......variegatus has superb green and white leaves, Gold Bar has horizontal bands on every leaf and Morning Light has a delightful fountain shape. Cabaret has the best variegated foliage I think. All produce flowers in late summer.
          Karl Forster and Avalanche are two varieties of calamagrostis I grow......not as tall or as vigorous as the miscanthus but superb mid summer flowering grasses. Avalanche has nice variegated foliage but both have purple/grey/ beige flowers that are enhanced in sunshine. Must have for summer.
          The tallest of grasses, stipa gigantea is magnificent......another see through grass with golden swaying flowers. Here it grows to 9' without bullying its neighbours
          Ok, these are grasses I grow and enjoy but perennials like anemone Wild Swan would look good too in your area lucius......wonderful pure white flowers with blue reverse from spring to autumn. Different totally from the japanese anemones. Here they attract bees, butterflies and offer contrast to the linear form of grasses.
          I suggest you sketch out plants according to colour contrast and shape before you plant anything. Also according to their need for sun, shade and moistur
           
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          • HarryS

            HarryS Eternally Optimistic Gardener

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            I started growing ornamental grasses last year . I have another 4 types in my propagators now.
            As @Verdun said , Hordeum jubatum , squirrel grass was fantastic last year silky fronds that shimmered in the wind and sun.
            Problem with grasses is the names don't exactly trip of the tongue . The common names are easier to remember .
            DSCN1763.JPG
             
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            • Verdun

              Verdun Passionate gardener

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              Yep Harry......you have perfectly captured the colours of hordeum jubatum :)
              Ha ha, know what you mean about their names.......hordeum jubatum sounds like someone is swearing. What about arrhenatherum bulbosum then??.:hapydancsmil:
               
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              • luciusmaximus

                luciusmaximus Total Gardener

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                @Verdun :ThankYou: so much for taking the time to write that all over again. I will take note of them this time. I do have plenty of space for large, tall grasses, both back and front, although I really need to get pond sorted first as Spring is just around corner. I feel a trip to a garden centre or two might be most imminent :lunapic 130165696578242 5:.
                 
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                • Ned

                  Ned Evaporated

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                  Ohhh... Harry harry harreee.... I haven't got that one.
                  It will be bread and pullit again for dinner, with hind leg of a rook if I'm lucky. :wub2:
                   
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                  • Verdun

                    Verdun Passionate gardener

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                    Lucius, better to buy grasses online from a specialist. The GC's usually only have a few and overgrown at that too. Huge range of grasses and cheaper. Good time now to read up on and order them :)
                    I could add more but Molinias are good too, from short Variegata to tall (and fascinating) Windspiel.
                    If you can overwinter it in a greenhouse check out pennisetum rubrum .....a very tender grass with maroon leaves and red/beige flowers. The variety Fireworks is an eyecatcher but even more tender. Grow it if you want "ooo's" and "ah's" from jealous visitors :wow:
                    Hey Tetters! I have been singing the praises of hordeum jubatum for yonks! You just dont read me :snorky:
                     
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                      Last edited: Feb 19, 2018
                    • Ned

                      Ned Evaporated

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                      [​IMG]Ok Buster, so I have to try harder huh!
                       
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                      • HarryS

                        HarryS Eternally Optimistic Gardener

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                        • Ned

                          Ned Evaporated

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                          Thanks Harry, that`s that sorted - ordered a few other seeds too. :thumbsup:
                           
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                          • luciusmaximus

                            luciusmaximus Total Gardener

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                            Just ordered some of the Grasses from Verduns list from West Country Nurseries.
                             
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                            • martin-f

                              martin-f Plant Hardiness Zone 8b

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                              I am inheriting a grass from next door its growing under my side of the fence i like it and have a spot for it :),

                              From my own research I am quite sure its Ophiopogon planiscapus Nigrascens - Black Ornamental Grass Ophiopogon nigra
                              I will post a few pictures up tomorrow let you experts decide :).
                               
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                              • Ned

                                Ned Evaporated

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                                :loll:Wot experts?
                                 
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