Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Pass the Grass Please !

I know there are some very timid gardeners that cringe at even the spoken word "grass" ..
It seems you either love them or hate them or some gardeners run screaming because they think no grass should step foot in a garden other than what you walk on ?
So .. here I am .. standing up and saying "Give ORNAMENTAL grass a chance PLEASE!"
My pictures are not the best .. but it gives you an idea of how I am using different grasses for colour , form and texture.
I'll just stick to the common names for now so no one starts to yawn ?
Purple Flame grass to the left .. tall and lovely and beautiful flower heads as time passes .. one of my first grasses .. the sound of wind through tall beauties is wonderful !
To the right is an annual that was new to me .. variegated purple fountain grass "Fireworks" and it is amazing with such gorgeous colour .. I so wish they could breed one of this category as a perennial for us !

How about those wicked flower heads ? arms waving to you ?? Halloweeny ???
Karley Rose pennisetum .. my second one maturing. My first one was lost due to problems with crowding when we had the new deck built .. otherwise I am sure it would still be here .. and you can see I love the grass because I got another one straight away !
This picture is awkward .. I couldn't find a clear picture of this little bronze sedge .. it almost gets lost but it is stubborn and keeps coming back to show me it can !
Some people may look at it and think it is dead .. I get that .. but it is my quirky friend?
Hameln pennisetum alopecuriodes a small fountain grass with great fuzzy heads .. I tried Little Bunny which is smaller than this one but it didn't make it through last winter .. I have to say one of our garden center managers had the same thing happen to her .. she lost it also, so it had to be the winter and not me !
My Hameln is about 6 years old now so that is a keeper for sure : )
This picture sucks .. I might as well be truthful right ?
But you get the idea of structure with Karl Foerster feather reed to the left and another small fountain grass "Red Head" to the right between ferns .. it is going to look great as it grows up and dukes it out with the ostrich ferns ;-)
This is a different one I couldn't resist this year .. variegated purple moor grass "Molinia caerulea" good for a shady spot that pops a bit and it looked like a big spider there with its leaves and flowers (yes .. grass have flower heads) waving around : )
Northern Lights grass "Deschampsia Cespitosa' variegated tufted hair grass in other words .. this is an early picture of it with this amazing blur of beautiful flower wands with diamonds sparkling ? .. they stayed like that for a long time .. now as the weather turns colder the colours are supposed to appear soon .. just like it says in its name .. "Northern Lights" fingers crossed !
Elijah Blue Fescue ... I think ... there are a lot of blue fescue out there and these are originals and I'm not totally sure but I think the chances are good they are just that .. I have them scattered through out the back and side garden .. that hit of blue is a nice change to see.
Who can resist Japanese Forest Grass ? Last year the Hakonechloa Macro 'Aureola' was perennial of the year (hope I'm right .. some days I wonder what the heck I am talking about too!) .. in any case there is that one and the other "All Gold" .. they will grow up and look amazing together .. maybe my meditation Buddha might have to give them more room ?
It is extremely hard to see my corkscrew rush under the Tiger Eye Sumac .. their colours blend in don't they ? .. I have to move it and do the trick of planting a plastic bag around it (with holes for drainage but enough plastic to retain moisture) .. every time I look at it I feel guilty but I promised it nest year I will do good by it ?
What can I NOT say about Karl ? Calamagrostis Acutiflora .. I have divided my original clump a few times already and it fulfilled my dreams of it side by side with our too cute shed .. I am missing the flower boxes still .. well, I have the boxes but we need very light holders for them .. long story ....
A new grass last Autumn (and I so wish I had gotten MORE of them) is Panicum Virgatum Shenandoah .. 'red switch grass"
I have it with Center Glow Ninebark and they are incredible in colour together that burgundy and red .. perfect for the Autumn especially with those flower heads waving in the wind !
Last but not really the last .. I will always find another grass to add !
In any case .. Miscanthus Sinensis Morning Light at each end of my beloved garden bench ..
Yes .. to those who know how big these girls can get .. I know it too ! and one day I hope to be able to HIDE from the world behind all of my grasses for some QUIET moments .. looking at them and listening to that perfect music they make while tousled by the wind ..
So .. I may not be able to convince nay sayers about grasses in the garden .. I will be sorry for you though .. you are missing such a wonderful experience visually .. how some actually sparkle with certain sunlight .. the way they dance in the wind and the music they make while doing so ..
I can't imagine a garden of mine without lots and lots of different grasses ..
Try it? .. you might really like it ! .. and if not .. send it to me and I will give it a home ?? ;-)


Linda Lunda said...

I did like the purpul one!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Are all of those grasses perennial in your garden? I don't see a lot of grasses around here that will come back. I do have one tall grass I don't know the name of because it was given to me. I have some lirope that are nice but other than that I don't have much in the line of grass.

meemsnyc said...

You're right, ornamental grass is pretty cool!

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Hello Linda and thank you : ) Sadly the gorgeous purple one is only an annual .. but I love it to bits too !

Lisa girl : )All of them are except the variegated purple fountain grass.
I don't have any lirope but I always intend to find some each year , so maybe next year for sure! What zone are you in ? I'm sure you must have more grasses that will stick it out for you girl !

Hi there meems and I really do love my grasses .. they just bring something extra to the table ? LOL

chamomilla said...

The title sounds like something my (indoor) cats would occasionally like to tell me...

Lovely pictures with the Buddha... I think cats and Buddhas make the best company to plants!

Anonymous said...

I don't see how anyone could not like the beautiful textures grass adds to the garden.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Joy, I am a grass nut also, grass, halloween, deco, what else do we like. I bought some bronze sedge and put them in with my cabbages for my fall plantings. They do look dead but a good dead - very decorative.

I will do some pictures when I get everything planted.


CanadianGardenJoy said...

Chamomilla hi there : ) I always intend to grow some of that cat grass too (my cats are totally indoor cats) but I keep forgetting .. maybe I am afraid they might .. dare I say it ? "yack" ? hehe .. YES ! it is that sense of serenity they both have Buddha and cats .. unspoken but a look they have ;-)

Sandy girl that is exactly what I think too .. you would miss so much of that look and movement .. I couldn't be without grass, it would make the garden lonely !

Eileen "dead" looking sedge this time of year is PERFECT ! I haven't found what I need yet for the front step but I have a feeling they will be out soon with pumpkins and gourds and all sorts of goodies !
Yes !! I can't wait to see .. it will really nudge me into the Autumn feeling ! ;-)

Rebecca said...

I only have a couple of varieties, but when we go to our local Extension Gardens, they have many! My husband always admires them. I do too....just can't always think of places to put them.

After seeing yours, I'm going to think a little harder. You've motivated me!

Rebecca said...

Oh, and your shed is very "cute"! Sheds are a great weakness of mine....We have two - I'd have a dozen if left to my druthers!

Barry said...

When I'm not trying to harvest it, I too enjoy grasses, and best of all are the ones that tolerate shade. I would be lost without Hakonechloa 'All Gold' and have come to love Carex 'Ice Dance' and C. Elata 'Bowles Golden'. I envy you your wonderful M. sinensis 'Morning Light.'

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Hello Rebecca : ) .. I was slow with introducing grass to my garden .. it all started with an annual pennisetum that was mislabeled .. I loved them and had to find something "perennial" to take its place .. then away I went a little nuts but I love them all and I sneak more in as I can !
Try it ? you will love them !
I love our shed to pieces .. the potential is there for really CUTE window boxes but we have to find light weight supporters for them or trouble will ensue! .. Sheds are such a benchmark if they are smack in the garden like mine is for a small garden .. so you have to do it right ? LOL

Pats sweetie I think Identified "All Gold" wrongly.. I thin it is of the Bowles side of the family and I also have to keep within the shade tolerant ones for the most part .. this HUGE Pacific Sunset maple is much bigger than I estimated !! eeekkk ! haha
I am OBSESSED with watching Morning Light and Shenandoah .. I am totally in LOVE with them ;-)

Rose said...

You've convinced me, Joy! I am one of those naysayers who has avoided planting any grasses because we have so many weedy grasses growing around our farm, and I didn't want anything in the garden that looked like a "weed":) But...a month ago I decided to take the plunge. I went to an excellent nearby nursery and had such a helpful, patient young man advise me as I walked back and forth trying to decide. I finally bought two of the 'Shenandoahs,' so I'm glad to hear you are happy with yours. 'Karly Rose' was a close second, and I am just going to have to find a place for her; love those waving tails:) Thanks for so many great suggestions!

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Rose girl .. that is what I think holds a lot of gardeners back .. they think GRASS?? but they haven't seen enough of what is out there that is so beautiful in ornamental grass !
There is one for just about any situation and I love my Shenandoah to bits too ! I only wish I had bought multiples last year .. but I have a few others that will be growing up fast so I have to keep them in mind too. What I would suggest when you do get Karley Rose or any other large fountain grass , is to have a center stake or obelisk in the middle of the grass .. let the grass begin growing around it and then carefully (as the grass gets larger) wrap green garden tape or wire around the base and come up a little each time you see the mound begin to flop or look like it needs support .. that way it looks much more beautiful in the vase shape .. elegant .. not floppy! : )

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

Joy, my dear, are you smoking pot again? And admitting it on the internet to thousands of people? Oh, you mean grass for the garden...LOL... Well, I hate to admit it but I am a little scared of planting grasses in my garden. It's not that I don't like them, I do; in fact, I think they are absolutely gorgeous. I'm just afraid that they'll all get huge and take over the garden! I'm probably being ridiculous, and maybe in time I'll get more comfortable with them. I do have two planted in the garden. One you gave me, the other was given to me by my neighbour, so I’m headed in the right direction.

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Martha girl .. if only ?!!! hahaha of course it would be legal for medical use only .. hehehe
"Feel the Grass Force" Martha it is supreme ! wink wink .. just stick to the clumping grasses and the recommendations I give you and you will be so surprised at how you feel about them .. like "why the heck did i not get these sooner !!" but .. since I don't know what grass your neighbor gave you .. I can't vouch for that one .. did she tell you what it is ?? let me know too ?? I am so curious !!