By Jodi Torpey
One of the smartest planting choices I’ve made was adding several varieties of ornamental grasses to my front yard. These hardy grasses are reliable and low maintenance, and they look good whether planted alone, in groups, or complementing other ornamentals.
Another benefit of selecting ornamental grasses is they provide almost four seasons of interest. Talk about curb appeal!
I appreciate every variety of ornamental grass for its form and its function. Large, arching grasses planted in long rows add beauty and motion to a landscape and function as a windbreak or privacy fence. Dwarf grasses are certainly charming, but they’re so adaptable, they can grow where other plants can’t.
Feather reed grass (Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’) grew as quickly in popularity as it does in just about any yard. Stalks of wheatlike flowers show up early in the season to light up the landscape. Be sure to plant it so it catches the early-morning sun, or the rosy glow at sunset.
Maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensus ‘Gracillimus’) makes a spectacular specimen plant because of its tall, arching habit. Whenever there’s the slightest breeze, its narrow leaves move gracefully and add a gentle rustling to the garden.
Blue fescue (Festuca cinerea glauca) is a small, clumping grass with spiky blue leaves. There are so many different varieties on the market, there’s sure to be one — or three — to plant in your landscape.
Dwarf fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Hameln’) got its name because the fuzzy plumes look like water spraying from a fountain. The grasses grow in short, compact mounds of green foliage and look best when planted in masses.
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