"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it brings."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The lawn may be gone, but we've still got grass.

Back in February of this year we removed the remaining lawn in our yard and I haven't missed it for a second.  I've been putting more grass back in though lately, although this grass is much easier, no mowing required.  I've always loved ornamental grasses, but just had no idea on how to incorporate them into my garden.  I've learned lots from looking at blogs and also have noticed how much they are being used in newer landscaping around here.  I slowly started by adding them to containers a few years ago.  Then added just one to an area near my pond a couple years later.  Now during this fall I've added even more and am just in love with how they look.

 Japanese Blood Grass (Imperata cylindrica) by the pond.  I'm hoping one day it will spread more.  This has been here at least two years.

 Mexican Feather Grass (Nasella tenuissima) has been in this container for about  two years.  I keep starting to plant it in the garden, but just love how I can see it from inside blowing in the breeze.

 A bronze Sedge mixed in this container planting.

 Sedge (Carex testacea) 'Prairie Fire' in another container.

 Golden Acorus in the water garden.  I've also got it growing in my pond.  I made the mistake of cutting it back one year not realizing it's evergreen.  Now I just trim back the dead leaves.

 Another Carex mixed in with a perennial gold fuchsia, Campanula and Heuchera.  Look how mossy the stones have already gotten!

 New Zealand Sedge (Carex comans) 'Frosted Curls'.

 It was pretty shady when I took this picture, but here you can see it growing with Lonicera 'Lemon Beauty' (evergreen shrub on right), Lamb's Ear, Spanish Poppy and Rudbeckia 'Cherry Brandy'.  The combination is really pretty.

 I've added a few Feather Reed Grasses (Calamangrostis acutiflora) 'Karl Foerster'.  It's a bit floppy and has no blooms, but that is because it was just planted.  On the right is my new favorite shrub, a Ninebark 'Little Devil'.

 This is probably my favorite new grass and area that I've been working on.  Behind the pond I pulled up Penstemon 'Mystic' because it was reseeding into everything and becoming a nuisance.  I moved a few other plants around to add a Lonicera 'Lemon Beauty' (small shrub in front of the little conifer) and this Purple Moor Grass (Molinia caerulea) 'Sky Racer'.  It looks beautiful in front of the Ninebark 'Coppertina'.  I can't wait until it really fills out and those seed heads are swaying in the breeze.

I love how different all the seedheads are on the different ornamental grasses.

I hope this might inspire others who, like me, are a little afraid or confused about what to do with ornamental grasses.  They really can look pretty just about anywhere.  I was pretty good about being sure that I didn't add any that will become invasive in my garden.  I know some grasses can be a real problem.  The Mexican Feather grass has reseeded a very small amount, but it has been easy to just pull up.
We are having a gorgeous fall day here, I've already been out to clean the pond.  The screen door is allowing the sounds of the kids in the school playground to drift in.  This is the fall weather I love to work out in the garden in and a good day for seeing how the fall light makes the garden look.
All words and photos in this post are property of A Gardener in Progress. Pin It

32 comments:

  1. I really like the idea of removing as much grass as possible. Your plantings are looking so great. I like the foliage and I like the color too. I have been missing your blog and was concerned that you were gone. Good to see your post.

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  2. I too am falling in love with grasses....yours are very nice. It's good to see you here and read that you are enjoying a beautiful fall day. We are getting a slow steady rain it's welcome. Darla

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  3. Your grasses are gorgeous! They make such an understated statement and your own plantings are particularly lovely! We also got rid of all of our lawn, but with six dogs, we've had to revert in a couple of spots. We've planted Buffalo grass (a lawn that is a lot tougher than we had before and which can grow both in shade and sun and can take being drowned in winter). Now we have happy dogs again and not too much of a pain ourselves :)

    Your garden is still looking superb, Catherine!

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  4. Catherine I don't have a single piece of ornamental grass in my gardens. I'm awful. But I just never thought of it as something that should be in my gardens but now I'm rethinking that. I need it for interest and contrast. I will def be looking to add some next spring.

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  5. Hi,

    How have you found the Carex? I gave up on them after the snow this winter made their blades bend in half and they looked a complete mess. So I ripped them all out and have replaced them with things like stipa and the blood grass instead.
    I'm unsure whether it was only that one type of Carex I had or if they all suffer the same damage.

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  6. So glad you're feeling the grass love! I've found in the past year or two, that whenever I'm dissatisfied with part of the garden, I realize that adding a grass will make it better! That 'Skyracer' Molinia will be spectacular in a few years!

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  7. I like the variety of containers you use. The pond is beautiful.

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  8. All your grasses look nice. I like how they move in the wind and give height to places. I need more grasses too. Not lawn.

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  9. I think you have done a wonderful job incorporating all the grasses- they can be so much fun to put in a setting. I love the blooms as well and there are so many to choose from!!! We have one that I didn't see that is my favorite but not sure if you all get it up there called Ruby Crystals. It is a little dwarf and doesn't get too big at all and the blooms are a big fat pink burst. I love them. All your sedges and grasses look fantastic. The Mexican Feather will do that but as you say, easy enough to pull up. I like them - they are so wispy.

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  10. I'm with ya girl..well in spirit..the front door is open and the kids are having a ball playing around the yard. I love all the grasses you've added! I've been eye'ing the Mexican Feather grass for some time. Maybe at the new place I'll get my wish to add it into the mix! Back to making concord grape jam. Cheers, Jenni

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  11. Grasses are great all the time but now is when they really shine. I love how you've incorporated them into your gardens. I'm thinking I need to get rid of some of my thirsties and plant drought tolerant grasses instead. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  12. Everything is so pretty. I have slowly begun to add grasses as well. They do not always winter well here though.

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  13. Liking the sedge and your cool pots.
    The Japanese Blood Grass is a keeper !

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  14. I love how you've incorporated so many grasses into your garden. I have some of the same ones. I'm surprised your blood grass hasn't spread more, I keep hearing how aggressive it is. It took me a while to like ornamental grasses, but now I really appreciate the contrast of the long straight leaves. I just bought some Acorus for my stream!

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  15. Hi Catherine, I love your Japanese blood grass! You've done very well designing your gardenscapes - all are so pleasing to the eye. Enjoyed your post.
    Hugs, Beth

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  16. Love the New Zealand Sedge 'Frosted Curls'. That's my kind of grass. They're all so pretty, and they make your garden beautiful!

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  17. Hi Catherine, Grasses are a staple in my garden, I could not live without them. Some a bit slow to show in the spring, but make up for it later in the season. And covered with winter snow...beautiful.

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  18. Grasses are such versatile plants in sun, shade and even wet conditions. So many are native and others just pretty to look at. For me it was all about finding the non-invasive ones that were right for the various conditions. I love the look of grasses near my pond too!! Can't wait to see the grasses as they grow into their new home!!

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  19. I agree! Ornamental grasses in the garden are a must. The Mexican Feather Grass, Stipa (or now Nasella) tenuissima is super!! It is perfect in the breeze...had a lot of it in the garden in VA and loved it. Still haven't figured out the best place for that one in my new garden, though I have many others.

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  20. Nice use of grasses. They do tend to go with most things. Your garden looks super.

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  21. You have been adding grasses. They look wonderful Catherine. I love seeing them in gardens and I am seeing more using them lately too.I only have two pink grasses that I added this spring but they are still small. Your Blood Grass looks so pretty with the Heuchera's along the pond.

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  22. Catherine,

    I love all of the varieties of grass you have. I just put in Molinas this year and a new Panicum Ruby Ribbons. They really do add a special look to a garden.

    Eileen

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  23. I overlooked the value of ornamental grasses for years. It wasn't until our last garden that I made the effort to get to know them. I think I started with a Miscanthus and a Pennisetum, nothing fancy, but absolutely loved them. Later I added some Acorus to spill over the edge of our pond. There's so much choice, I wondered how I'd ignored them for so long. The different colors, textures, both with and without seed heads. A light breeze blowing these grasses brings so much life to the garden. I love your choices, and they'll look gorgeous as they fill in and mature over the years.

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  24. Very inspirational to me Catherine. I definitely want to incorporate some ornamental grasses in the garden next year.

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  25. LOVE that blood grass. I would love some of that. I have a few varieties but nothing like you have. They all look terrific.

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  26. Most honestly, if I had only one plant to use in a landscape, it would be a grass. All those beautiful fronds, and graceful movements...stunning.

    I love the look of the grasses in your garden, they really look like they are settling in for a good run.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

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  27. Growing up on the prairie I love grasses. You did a great job incorperating them into your garden.

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  28. I am so excited after seeing your post to try some grasses in the garden. Have to go haunt the green houses they should be on sale.

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  29. I have just popped by to enjoy a stroll around your beautiful garden...hope you don't mind! Please don't stop what you're doing. I just enjoy coming for some inspiration , especially now we're heading on for our summer. Your pond never, ever fails to fill me with joy. It truly is one of the most beautiful ponds around and I would so love to have one just like it to call my own! Thank you, as always, for sharing so much beauty with us, Catherine! Your whole garden is a work of art!!!

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  30. Hi Catherine,
    How cool that you no longer have to mow. We will continue to have a small amount of grass, but that's OK, because Larry likes to mow, and most of it is where a sidewalk would be.

    Your grasses do provide some nice fall beauty. I am just starting to like ornamental grasses, and am enjoying the ones I planted this summer.

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  31. Very Nice !!!!!!
    We all appreciate with your post.Keep posting these kind of information.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Matilda Turf Sydney

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