Grasses are worth thinking about
I have grasses in 19 places in this small garden. Three in the front and the rest in the back. Most in pots and some in the border.
They have kept the garden looking lush and green and full of movement all through this year of odd weather. To me they look lovely in sun, wind and rain. Nothing spoils them. They even bounce back from a covering of snow.
They shine in the sun, wave around in the wind and glisten in the rain.
They are all pretty much one of four kinds.
Hakonechloa – aka Japanese forest grass. Some are green, some green/yellow/gold, some green/white.
Green all year, they turn beige golden brown in winter.
They stay like that till I cut them down to the base in February sometime. Within two weeks they begin to grow and put on new bright green growth.
This one is in the front border. It gets bigger every year and I haven’t the heart to try to dig it up and divide it so it will just keep getting bigger. It’s the star of the border in autumn. I cut it down to the ground in late winter, February, and up it comes by April. It’s green right now,
then turns gold/red/brown.
Lots of Anemanthele lessoniana, aka pheasant’s tail grass. This is so easy to grow that it seeds itself around in the cracks in paving. I’ve seen it at Gravetye Manor growing out of the paths. It must be indestructible. From a 9cm pot, it will grow from this
This one I rather foolishly put in the border blocks the path.
I tried putting in supports to stop it flopping but I just don’t like them. If a plants wants to flop then that’s its habit. I either have to put up with it or move it to where it doesn’t matter. I don’t like plants leaning against supports like a drunk wrapped round a lamppost. I’ll dig this out later and put it in a pot so people can get down the path without wet trousers.
They are stunning in a pot
turning from green to red/gold through the year. They are evergreen so I don’t shear them back, I let them turn beige in winter and pull out the strands that come loose. They turn to green again with new growth in the spring.
I know I’ve got other tall spindly ones lurking in the border somewhere but I couldn’t tell you the name of them. Possibly Molinia but not sure.
Overall effect of grasses
The best thing about grasses in a small garden that you look out on every day of the year is the greenery, the movement and the way they change with the seasons.
Ok they’re not useful to pollinators but I do see insects sheltering in their leaves and I have enough other things for the wildlife. best to choose what you like and then buy them online. They’re easily available. Crocus.co.uk and bluebellcottage.co.uk I hope this has given you an idea of how grasses can enhance a city garden even if it’s not what you’d call ‘prairie planting”. Just a simple beautiful grass in a pot.
7 comments on "Grasses – they look great in a small town garden"
I have been wanting to get rid of a grass in a pot, but after this post, think I will keep it and make it more of a feature.
That’s a great idea to move a flopping grass to a pot. The height advantage of a pot really stops the drooping grasses do their thing without looking a mess. I’ll now definitely pot up my collapsed Anementhele.
The most successful grass in my garden is Luzula Nivea. It is upright, clumping, evergreen and has creamy, bobbly, flowers that turn brown in winter. I was pleased to find it self seeds (but not aggressively), so I’ve been able to create drifts which look good with daffodils and then the summer perennials.
‘Drifts’ makes it sound like my garden disappears over the horizon. But I speak of my 3m x 6m north facing front garden!
Hello Maggie, thanks for your comment. I think that Luzula is a grass a neighbour of mine has which is stunning, makes a drift and I’m so pleased now to have a name for it. Thanks. Your garden may be smaller than some but we can make such a lovely area is any space can’t we. Hope your anementhele likes its now pot. Best wishes, Julie
This is really beautiful. Thanks for sharing.
Thankyou so much Gadenah, that is very encouraging. We bloggers do need some encouragement sometimes to know someone out there is listening. Very best wishes, Julie
Thank you for taking the time to post your photos and ideas that I can quite easily try myself. Your garden looks beautifully lush.
Thankyou for that encouragement Louise, I’m so glad you can take ideas to try easily. That’s what gardening is all about, isn’t it. Best wishes, Julie