Because much of the desert Southwest receives around half of its yearly rainfall over the summer months, a good number of plants use that precipitation to put on a fall blooming show. Ornamental grasses are foremost in this category, and paring grasses with other fall bloomers is a win-win for gardeners. Below are a few of my favorite pairings.
Most of the native grasses begin sending up their flowers in late summer and early fall. (People often refer to these flowers as "seed heads" when they talk about grass flowers.) The soft texture of grass seed heads makes them ideal for pairing with succulents and flowers. The photo above shows purple three awn with purple prickly pear and Angelita daisy.
In the example pictured, the long, wandlike seed heads of deer grass arch over the top of the purple-and-gold flowers of two dalea plants. Black dalea is a small shrub; gold dalea is a groundcover. Small, pealike flowers cover both in late summer and fall.
You even can pair native grasses, such as sideoats grama, pictured, with more traditional landscape plants, such as lantana, for a nice combination of flowers and textures. The photo features 'Dallas Red' lantana with the drooping seed heads of sideoats grama.
The combo pictured pairs the stunning gulf muhly (also sold as Muhlenbergia capillaris 'Regal Mist') with a native brittlebush (Encelia farinosa). The silver/red combination is stunning.
Have you discovered favorite fall combinations in your garden?