Tag Archives: Ornamental grasses

Adding Autumn Splash to Your Home

Contributed by Tim Wholey

2015-8-26 Tim gardenglove fall-containers-45-300x187Every year around this time we send kids back to school, dodge increased traffic and get the feel of shorter days, cooler nights, and hints of the crisp scents of autumn. Our gardens and seasonal containers also start showing their age but that’s no reason to despair. Fall offers a whole other season to enjoy some of our favorite fall flowers and plants in our beds or spicing up containers. We can steer toward the traditional seasonal choices of golds, reds, yellows and oranges that are sure to warm us up, or cooler colors in blues, whites & purples too if that is our thing.

Some favorite annuals include, as you’d expect, asters, mums, pansies & marigolds. But don’t stop with flowering plants. Adding ornamental grasses, peppers, kale, cabbage & millet adds texture and seasonal interest. Vegetables are not just for cooking anymore! We can also use perennials in containers that do double duty – just pop them into the ground before the first major frost and enjoy them next spring and summer. Heuchera, Euphorbia x martini, Sedums, Lavender and Sage are some great choices. We like the multitude of unusual gourds, colorful pumpkins and Indian corn that becomes available as well!

2015-8-26 Turbaned-Squashes-rd1So just like you buy the kids their school clothes, consider sprucing up your seasonal containers. We have 3 months of Fall ahead of us. Give us a call or email: Containers@christiedustman.com

The ornamental grass isn’t always greener …

2015-7-8 Strictus grass

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Strictus’ – Porcupine grass

Contributed by Allan Robinson

What color is your grass?  Many idolize the rich emerald green of a lawn. I must confess that after I’ve planted a small patch of lawn in my reconfigured backyard, I have green lawn envy too.

But what about ornamental grasses that come in a wide range of colors, shapes, textures and sizes? The category of “ornamental grasses” encompass a larger range of species, including Bamboo, which is technically a grass, and Carex, which is a sedge and not a true grass. We tend to lump all plants that appear to grow like our beloved Lawn grass, regardless of its actual genus, into the ornamental grass family. Grasses provide a foil for the flowering lovelies of the season but also give seasonal variation including texture, showy flowers, fall color and winter structure and interest.

2015-7-8 hakonechloa 2

Hakonechloa macra

When it comes to ornamental grasses and color, do you have a color preference?  There are the cool blues which can vary from silver-blue to blue-green.  Think about those cute little tufted mounds of blue fescue or blue oat grass – I’ll admit it, I’ve seen it used well and not so well.  Also yellow, green and variegated are worth considering too.  Two of my favorites, which both thrive in partial sun to shady conditions are Hakonechloa macra (Japanese forest grass) available in green and yellow with bright green variegation, mounds beautifully on a slope or the edge of a path; and Carex morrowii ‘Ice Dance’  which has green leaves edged in creamy white.  This Carex stands up to winter  – just give it a serious haircut in spring before the new growth to keep it looking great for the rest of the year.  For sunny locations consider Miscanthus sinensis ‘Strictus’ also known as Porcupine grass because of its yellow horizontal banding and stiff upright appearance.  It’s a real conversation piece.

2015-7-8 Miscanthus purpurescens

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Purpurescens’

2015-7-8 Panicum virg Ruby Ribbons

Panicum virgatum ‘Ruby Ribbons’

To introduce red, there is Miscanthus ‘Purpurescens’ with its green foliage developing a red color in autumn as well as Panicum virgatum ‘Ruby Ribbons’ with hues of deep red and red seed heads in mid-to-late summer.  Purple can be found in the tinged blades of Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’ that deepen in color during the season.

 

So you see, the grass isn’t always greener, sometimes it’s the color of the rainbow.

Let us help you find your color.

Falling into Spring!

fall into spring pix 2Autumn leaves are falling and covering your garden like a patchwork quilt. Yellows, oranges, reds and all kinds of browns create the soothing color palette of fall. Ornamental grasses have hit their stride and perennial Asters, Chrysanthemums, Sedums and Goldenrod all give a final burst of visual delight. It is very easy to get lulled into a state of sedated calm. Your mind tells you that you have worked so very hard this spring and summer taking care of the garden. Now is the time to relax and enjoy nature’s waning gifts.   OK, naptime is over! Finish your warm cider because there is necessary work to be done to put the garden “to bed” for the winter.

Get started by removing the debris of any remaining summer annuals. For perennials you should consider whether you will really want to get out in early spring to cut them back or is your springtime better spent with other tasks…remember how busy and pressured you felt back in March?   Clean up as much of the perennials as possible now while still leaving some for winter display (i.e. Sedums and ornamental grasses are beautiful in snow) and food for birds (i.e. Coneflower seeds). This is also a great time to do a final weeding. Many weeds make a last effort to go to seed in the fall and completing this task will save you hours of work next season.

Lastly take a critical look at your garden. Are there large gaps? Plants that are failing? Plants that need dividing? Fall is the perfect time to plant trees, shrubs, and perennials. The weather is cooler, rain is usually more plentiful and the soil still warm. New additions to the garden or transplants will have a chance to put out great root growth and get established for next season.

Need help putting your garden to bed? Let us know, we’re ready and able!

Fall into Spring pix 1