Accessorize your yard with ornamental grasses

My favorite ornamental grass in our yard is the fountain grass. Look how those reeds catch the light like droplets of water flicking off a fountain. Lovely.

The ornamental grasses in my yard are kind of like ’80s hair: Big, wild and eye-catching. No hairspray required.

Most of the grass in my yard is like a military crewcut. As the principal lawn mower, I’ve been mowing it at a diagonal, and it sports a neat, rather rigid profile. Thanks to all the rain of late, it’s a lush green even now in August.

Look at how that grass "shrubbery" is invading the sidewalk!

But the beautiful clumps of ornamental grass planted by the previous owner, oh, it’s ostentatious. The line of blue limegrass (or possibly ribbon grass) with thick meaty blades on the perimeter between us and neighbors has a ferocious attitude (the University of Illinois Extension Service says it has a potential to “misbehave” on its website).

Neither puny nor piney.

The more refined variety — could be blue fescue — has thin spiny blades that sprout in contrast to the burgeoning pine trees planted along our driveway.

I love our ornamental grasses because the plants are big and come back every year (which is more cost effective than annuals). They’ll need a haircut before being put to bed for the winter, but they’re voluminous right now.

Ornamental grasses come in a variety of greens and other hues, including purple and dark brown, and many have tufts, blooms and seedheads. According to the Extension Service, ornamental grasses can be planted in the spring or fall, fall being right now in August and September. If you plant now, you might need to insulate the soil with straw because the grass won’t have the opportunity to grow a deep root system yet.

Ornamental grasses can add a big statement to your landscaping. Marvel in their beauty.

One response to “Accessorize your yard with ornamental grasses

  1. Pingback: Caterpillar’s eye view | Minnesota Transplant

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