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Friday, October 6, 2017
Posted By: Sheri Piccione in Grasses

If you’re looking for low maintenance plants that provide lovely texture and movement in your garden, ornamental grasses are your answer! They look fantastic when massed in the border or as a single accent when planted in a container. Leaves often change colour as the seasons progress, and their delicate plumes and tassels (called inflorescences) add graceful structure, and even sound, as they rustle in the breeze.

Plant ornamental grasses with perennials such as rudbeckia, echinacea, and asters, to name a few. Smaller varieties are great for edging and as groundcovers. Taller grasses provide a soft backdrop when planted at the back of your border. They provide a textural contrast when planted with evergreens.

Types of Grasses

There are hundreds of varieties of ornamental grasses available - some are shade tolerant while others prefer full sun. Grasses and grass-like plants are divided into cool season and warm season varieties. Many grasses are perennials, but some are tender and they’re treated as annuals.

Cool season grasses actively grow during the cool parts of the year, and may remain semi-evergreen during the winter, making them ideal for fall planters and early spring gardens. For semi-evergreen grasses, simply cut any brown or winter injured foliage in the spring.

Warm season grasses thrive during the warm summer months, and go dormant and turn brown when the weather cools down. Their dried, tanned foliage and seed heads provide interest in the winter, and food for the birds! Simply cut them back in late winter to spring, and they will grow back when the weather warms up.

Add a touch of colour, movement, and texture to your fall garden with these ornamental grasses that we’ve hand picked for you. Give them a try this season!

A Few of Our Favourites

Ornamental Grasses 1
Dwarf Fountain Grass
Pennisetum alopercuroides ‘Hameln’

This compact warm season perennial grass is ideal for smaller areas. A fountaining clump of dark green foliage turns a lovely amber in fall. Its silvery to pinkish-white flowers are soft and delicate, bringing a fine texture to the garden. Plant in full sun

Maiden Grass
Miscanthus gracillimus

A beautiful clump forming grass with fine-textured, silver-green blades, turning golden-bronze in winter. This spectacular grass has purple-flushed plumes in late summer, changing to a delicate silver, providing beautiful winter interest in your garden. Plant in full sun; grows to approx.. 6-8 feet tall and 3-5 feet wide.

Ornamental Grasses 2

Blood Brothers Red Switch Grass
Panicum virgatum ‘Blood Brothers’

This outstanding warm season perennial grass forms an upright, vase-shaped clump of blue-green leaves that turn a deep blood-red by midsummer that gets getter through the autumn. Fine, airy reddish flowers mature to tan seed heads in the fall, and remains sturdy and attractive well into the winter. Plant in full sun; grows to approx. 47-59in tall and 31-35in wide.

Ice Dance Japanese Sedge
Carex morrowii ‘Ice Dance’

A lovely sedge with attractive mounds of evergreen foliage with arching leaves margined with creamy white. It is a moderately spreading grass, ideally suited to the woodland garden, and useful for brightening dark garden areas. Plant in part shade to shade; grows to approx. 1’ tall and slowly spreads by rhizomes to form a carpet.
Ornamental Grasses 3

Little Red Gem Switch Grass
Panicum virgatum ‘Little Red Gem’

This warm season perennial grass forms a compact clump upright blue-green foliage, turning a striking wine-red by late summer. Tiny wine-red flowers rise just above the foliage, providing a wonderful winter interest. Plant in full; grows to approx. 30” tall and 18” wide.

Prairie Fire Sedge
Carex testacea ‘Indian Summer’

This striking cool season evergreen perennial is a clump-forming grass that provides year-round interest. Its gracefully arching, fine-textured leaves have bright undertones of bronzy-orange and green with subtle flowers the same colour as the foliage, turning into dark brown seedheads. Plant in full sun to part shade; grows to approx. 18-24” tall and wide.

Ornamental Grasses 4

Mexican Feather Grass
Stipa (syn Nasella tenuissima)

This lovely fine-textured cool season grass has delicate, graceful silvery-green leaves and airy flower heads that sway gently even in light breezes. Adds a beautiful soft texture to your garden, and looks stunning in mass plantings. Plant in full sun; grows to approx.. 20-24” tall and wide.

Graziella Japanese Silver Grass
Miscanthus sinensis ‘Graziella’

This refined warm season perennial grass forms a graceful, upright mound of narrow, arching, green leaves that turn a spectacular copper-red in fall. Its soft, silvery-white plumes appear in late summer and dry to a fluffy white rise on reed-like stems above the foliage, offering great winter interest. Plant in full sun; grows to 70-82” tall and 31-35” wide.

These are just a few of the many great ornamental grasses available at Art's Nursery. Visit us today to check them out! Our selection is always changing so call ahead, 604.882.1201, if you are looking for a specific variety.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Are You Looking At My Grass?

12 Of Our Favourite Ornamental Grasses

Posted By: Rebecca van der Zalm in Grasses

In the age of instant gratification, high-tech and time poor, homeowners everywhere have cried out for gardens that look good, but need no work. While we can't promise 'no work', ornamental grasses can deliver low maintenance and easy care.  With hundreds to choose from and multiple seasons of interest, grasses are a great utilitarian addition to any garden. They can also deliver a head-turning experience. On a recent trip to Crescent Beach (near White Rock), we even saw one house with the ENTIRE landscape done with ornamental grasses. So when somebody asks, hey are you looking at my grass? The answer may be yes... :)

Here are 12 of some of our favourite ornamental grasses for the garden. Some are cool season, meaning they look best in the spring and fall. These types tend to be evergreen. Other ornamental grasses are warm-season. These ones are best during the heat of the summer and early fall. Then they die back to re-appear next year.

Mexican Feather Grass

Mexican Feather Grass

Stipa tenuissima

This summer-time favourite grass has needle thin, flexible foliage that grow 1.5ft tall and as wide. It is a fine textured grass that produces feathery spikes in early summer which resemble a blonde mane of hair. Very showy in the landscape and great when planted in groups. It is native to the rocky slopes of the southwestern US and Mexico. To grow this grass, choose a fertile, well drained location in the full to part sun. It tolerates most soil conditions but dislikes ‘wet feet’.

Japanese Blood Grass

Japanese Blood Grass

Imperata cylindrical ‘Red Baron’

This colourful warm season, spreading grass has green blades with tips that turn translucent red with age. Awesome when planted in groups or in containers. Spreads via rhizomatous roots in warm, moist conditions. Clumps are easily divided in spring. Easy to grow! Will reach 24 inches in height and 12 inches across. Best when planted in full sun to part shade. Hardy to zone 6.

Karl Foerster Feather Grass

Karl Foerster Feather Grass

Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’

This landscaper’s favourite is a tall, deciduous, clumping grass with an upright narrow form. Shiny, deep green leaves give way to tall spikes of feathery flowers that start white with a hint of purple then fade to yellow and buff. Best in full to part sun and drought tolerant once established. Grows to 6ft in height and 4ft wide. Excellent in boulevards, containers, gardens and even commercial installations or mass plantings. Hardy to zone 4.

Ivory Feathers Pampas Grass

Ivory Feathers Pampas Grass

Cortaderia selloana ‘Pumila’

Ivory Feathers is a dwarf form of the traditional pampas grass that is well suited for small gardens or used as a specimen. Handsome summer and fall flowers made of long stalks of white plumes are held above the foliage. It has a clumping growth habit and is drought tolerant once established. It’s also good in coastal or seaside locations. Best when planted in full sun. Grows 3-5ft in height and 4-6ft wide. Hardy in to Zone 7.

Porcupine Grass

Porcupine Grass

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Strictus’

This upright, summer-time grass has a more upright form as opposed to the more normal relaxed vase shaped habits of other Miscanthus. Green foliage is highlighted by dramatic horizontal golden bands. Reddish bronze plumes appear above the foliage in summer. A suitable specimen for planting in groups. Dies back in winter to reappear in the late spring. Grows to 8ft tall and 3ft wide. Best when planted in full sun. Hardy in zones 5-9.

Aureola Japanese Forest Grass

Aureola Japanese Forest Grass

Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’

This low growing, mound forming, shade-loving grass produces bamboo like foliage with gold streaked with green. Foliage in weeping and can turn intense pinkish red in the fall. Wonderful accent for containers, edging and oriental gardens. Best when planted in the shade to part shade in fertile, moist but well drained soil. Grows 12-18 inches tall and up to 30 inches wide.

Black Mondo Grass

Black Mondo Grass

Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’

This outstanding evergreen grass-like perennial forms a dense clump of smooth-textured black leaves topped with spikes of pale pink flowers which are followed by black, pearl-sheened berries in fall. Deer resistant and fairly drought tolerant once established. Excellent specimen or accent plant for both containers and gardens. Best when planted in part shade to full sun in moist, but well drained soil. Grows to 6 inches high and slowly spreads in width. Hardy in zones 6-9.

Evergold Sedge

Evergold Sedge

Carex hachijoensis ‘Evergold’

This evergreen, clump forming sedge has attractive narrow, arching variegated cream and dark green leaves. Excellent for adding colour all year round in both gardens and containers. Trim as desired to keep neat and tidy in the winter. Best when planted in part shade and grows to 12 inches high and 18 inches wide. Hardy to zone 5.

Orange Grass

Orange New Zealand Sedge

Carex testacea

Another grass-like plant, the Orange Sedge is an evergreen clumping perennial with narrow coppery brown leaves that acquire orange tints in the winter. Awesome in fall and winter containers, rock gardens or mass plantings. Self-seeds with adequate moisture. Best in full to part sun. Grows to 15 inches high and wide. Hardy to zone 6.

Purple Fountain Grass

Purple Fountain Grass

Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’

This spectacular warm-season grass has narrow, upright, arching, burgundy-purple leaves with elegantly long, fluffy foxtail-like flower spikes that are purple-pink with a silver sheen. Flowers dance in the wind and turn buff as they mature. Makes lovely cut flower and is deer resistant. While it is unmatchable in the summer, it unfortunately, is not hardy in our area and in most cases will not survive the winter. Best when planted in full sun in moist, but well drained soils. Grows to 24 inches in height and 24 inches wide. Hardy to zone 9.

Beyond Blue Fescue

Beyond Blue Fescue

Festuca glauca ‘Beyond Blue’

This hardy, cool season evergreen perennial forms a tufts of intense, powder blue, thread-like leaves. Wheat-like blue-green flowers rise on slender stems and mature to a tan-gold. Beyond Blue Fescue is both salt and deer resistant and also drought tolerant once established. Excellent for adding winter interest too! Best when planted in full sun in light, well-drained soil. Grows to 12 inches high and 18 inches wide. Super hardy to zone 3.

River Mist Northern Sea Oats

River Mist Northern Sea Oats

Chasmanthium latifolium ‘River Mist’

This spectacular warm season perennial grass forms a loose tuft of lovely, arching, green and white variegated foliage and clusters of unique sparkling white seed heads that arch elegantly above. Makes a wonderful cut flower and provides winter interest in the garden. Best when planted in full sun to part shade in moist, fertile, well-drained soil. Will grow to 30 inches high and 36 inches wide. Hardy to zone 5.

If you've been considering adding ornamental grasses into our garden or containers, drop by Art's Nursery and have a look at these and many other options. We'd be happy to show you the options and make recommendations. As always, call ahead to confirm availability as our selection is always changing.


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Art's Nursery is a 10+ acre retail and wholesale garden centre located in Surrey, a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. We've been in business at this same location since 1973 and we're proud to serve you today!

We carry an incredible selection of plants, shrubs, trees, annuals, perennials, vines, groundcovers, roses and much more. Soils, bulk materials, pottery and a variety of garden accents are also available.

Our plant selection is so large that you can actually drive a golf cart while you shop!

We pride ourselves on providing high quality plant, expert advice and an exceptional gardening experience.

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