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Winter Interest in my Garden - part 5 - Grasses

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Grasses? Boring? Absolutely NOT. I love them – especially the evergreen ones!

You’ve probably seen my top favourite before – I keep posting its photo! Well – can you blame me? I found it at the Malvern Show in September.

In the autumn, I dug out more clumps of the dreaded Japanese Anemones to make a good space for replanting, and this fantastic grass went in, with Cornus canadensis round it to ‘show it off’.

Carex trifida ‘Rekohu Sunrise’

I seem to have several Carex plants. This next one was also planted in the autumn in the same area. I was pleased to get a ‘three for two’ offer and planted them in a group with some bright Asters. Now, they have white violas to keep them company, and soon crocus tommasinianus and Iris reticulata will be flowering amongst them.

Carex brunnea ‘Jenneke’

Not all Carex are variegated, but I seem to ‘go’ for those. This one was planted a few years ago – it enjoys the shade, and clumps up well, so I’ve been able to split it and plant it in other areas of the garden.

Carex morrowii ‘Ice Dance’

My largest grass is up against the fence between my garden and the farm field. Its plume-like flowers last right through the winter and shine out if the sky is blue. To be honest, it can be a problem to deal with every spring – I have to get into it with gauntlets and a rake to deal with the dead leaves. The leaf edges are viciously sharp and I often end up with scratches! It makes up for it in the winter, though.

Cortaderia selloana a.k.a. ‘Pampas Grass’

I have several Stipas as well as the Carex plants. The largest one needs space – it’s growing in a prominent position at the end of the top border, against a dark green hedge as a background. It is past its best at this time of year, but the frost glistens on its flowers so I leave the stems on the plant until early spring.

Stipa gigantea

My middle-sized Stipa tends to seed around a bit – I often find baby Stipas which I tend to weed out – I have so many pots of this and that up by the greenhouse already! It flowers in the summer with gossamer – like floaty feathers, held above the mound of leaves which start off green and gradually turn orange-tinged.

Stipa arundinacea

The ‘baby’ of the family has the common name of ‘Pony-tail grass’. It doesn’t always survive the frosts, unfortunately – but it looks wonderful in flower. I hope it comes through this year!

Stipa tenuissima

Down by the stream, I have a patch of deciduous grasses – I inherited them, and have no idea what their name is. All I know is that they are tall and beautiful in the summer – and golden when the sun shines through them in the winter, reflected in the water below. They get cut back in late winter before the new growth begins. They take some digging out, though, as they are somewhat invasive, unfortunately.

Back to evergreens – I have a real beauty to finish with. It was new this year, but it should be fine over the winter. It’s a smallish grass (actually a sedge) and it ‘goes’ with my Photinia ‘Little Red Robin’.

Uncinia rubra ‘Everflame’

More blog posts by spritzhenry

Previous post: "Patterns"

Next post: Looking forward!!



Comments

 

You have a very nice display and you are right to feel proud of them. I just wish I had more garden to plant more specimin plants. In the meantime I am enjoying yours. Thank you Spritz. Happy New Year Love Sue xx

28 Dec, 2009

 

I love grasses too and have several. Mine are all small ones - under 2'.
I really like the last one, Uncinia r 'Everflame'.

28 Dec, 2009

 

We agree Spritz- Grasses are tremendous for adding texture and structure to a garden during any season. We are great fans of them, and have them dotted around the pond and they also add a touch of magic to any exotic planting scheme.Stipa Giganticas also look fabulous after a rain storm when they are covered in delicate raindrops.

28 Dec, 2009

 

i like grasses to barbara, i like the colours and the fact you get movement with a breeze, you have some lovely ones, nice pics :o)) hope you had a lovely xmas to x

28 Dec, 2009

 

lovely blog, I will have to get more for my garden. I only have Carex evergold and Carex brunnera. well not including couch grass :o)

28 Dec, 2009

 

I like to see grasses especially at this time of the year, I thinned my Pampas out in June Barbara and its now looking fabulous,......

28 Dec, 2009

 

i have a new baby pampas grass, how long before i get stems on it, does anyone know

28 Dec, 2009

 

I love them too
I love to see the frost on them it gives them a magical look:)

28 Dec, 2009

 

A wonderful selection of grasses Spritz...

28 Dec, 2009

 

Oh I just love grasses I added several to my garden this fall this one is just beautiful

29 Dec, 2009

 

I've never been fond of grasses but have to admit they look good in your garden. I am always afraid they will become thugs, and did have two that were so in my other garden. You have some nice ones though. I like the Uncinia rubra very much, probably because it is variegated and small. It goes nicely with the little Photinia. I was looking for something to 'go' with mine so maybe I shall try to find an Uncinia or something similar. Thank you for showing the grasses

29 Dec, 2009

 

Lovely blog Spritz; like Vicky I like to see them with the frost on them, and the seedheads are a vital winter food for the birds. There is a nice grass border at Kew; I'll post some pictures.

29 Dec, 2009

 

Beautiful grasses Spritz. I especially like the last one....Uncinia rubra....gorgeous colouring on that one.
I must admit that I'm a bit like Hywel....always afraid the grasses will become "thugs". I tend to stick with annual grasses that I know will die off over the winter. There are some beautiful perennial ones though and I think I have convinced myself to give one a try. Panicum virgatum 'Heavy Metal' caught my eye last summer....it's on my wish list!!

29 Dec, 2009

 

wisley has a lovely grass border too
which is what made me do a minature version in my garden.
I think, no I know eventually I will have to reduce the lawn for them as they get bigger.
I have done an experiment but planting infront of my rather boring hawthorn hedge
My idea being that I can cut them down in march and trim hedge then the birds can make their nests and have their young without any more disturbance.
Also it is more difficult for my cat to get the birds now.
I have planted some that grow to 6 and 8 foot I may regret it we will see.
They look great at the moment though!!:)

29 Dec, 2009

 

Thanks everyone! I agree - you need to choose the species with care, to avoid 'thuggish' behaviour. They most certainly are NOT all invasive, though!

Sandra - I looked for info. on baby Cortaderias - all I can find is that they need to be 'established' plants before they flower. I think that means 'Be patient!'.

Vicky - I like the sound of your 'Wisley' grass border! :-)))

29 Dec, 2009

 

They all look lovely Spritzhenry

29 Dec, 2009

 

Thank you for another lovely blog Spritz. Your grasses are beautiful. Although I have a couple I wish I had space for more of them.

29 Dec, 2009

 

I agree with Toto, I just wish I had more room. Perhaps I can take over all the neighbours gardens and have a patchwork quilt effect. Lol

29 Dec, 2009

 

Lovely variety of grasses but no Festuca Glauca? Like Hywel and Gilli, love the uncinia and always happy to see Carex trifida ‘Rekohu Sunrise’ again.

29 Dec, 2009

 

Yes, Wagger - I have F. glauca 'Elijah Blue' in a container - but it was too dark to go and take its photo. It's pouring with rain today, and I'm still damp after H's walk - so I'm not venturing out with my camera today, either!

29 Dec, 2009

 

lovely grasses Spritz......

29 Dec, 2009

 

Thanks, Holly. :-)))

29 Dec, 2009

 

Should have known! LOL. Pouring here too but the rain must be very cold as there's still a lot of lying snow and the pond is still frozen.

29 Dec, 2009

 

YUK! Worse than here, then. Poor you. We've had 20 mm. since last night and it's still raining. :-(((

29 Dec, 2009

 

Hope the rain stops soon Spritz.
I enjoyed your blog and photos. I treated myself to s Stipa gigantea after seeing yours earlier in the year, I think they are fabulous.

29 Dec, 2009

 

So do I, Dawn - the stream has risen quite a lot. The forecast is a little better, though.

How's your Stipa doing? I remember your comment on it.

29 Dec, 2009

 

The Stipa looks good Spritz, thanks - its still in its pot waiting for Spring and my new bed :-)
Wet, heavy snow at the moment here, we've been lucky so far - let's hope it dries up for you soon.

29 Dec, 2009

 

Thanks. I have several plants in pots, too. The ground was frozen, and now it's very soggy! I can't win, can I? :-((

29 Dec, 2009

 

Same here, ground frozen solid, heater on in greenhouse and very soggy now its a bit warmer, only a bit warmer though - roll on Spring

29 Dec, 2009

 

Ooooohhhh......yessssss!! :-)))))))))

29 Dec, 2009

 

Another Great Blog Spritz :D iv many Grasses in my garden 2 :)

29 Dec, 2009

 

thanx barbara, i dont do patient lol, but will have to i guess :o)) sorry late reply not been on today, so busy with work and getting ready for newyear dinner im making for brother and sister-in-law

29 Dec, 2009

 

Hope it goes well, Sandra! :-)

29 Dec, 2009

 

Nice pics , I love Grasses and hope to have more next year. The colours in the first pic are brill love the underplanting.

29 Dec, 2009

 

Thanks, Annella. :-))

30 Dec, 2009

 

You have some lovely grasses and yes i love grasses aswell

30 Dec, 2009

 

Spritz - I think stipa tenuissima dislikes heavy soil in wet winters. Try planting them with a handful of grit at the bottom of the planting hole to help the drainage

30 Dec, 2009

 

Thanks Andrew - if it dies again, I'll do that. :-)

30 Dec, 2009

 

I love my arundinacea, and wouldn't be without it, even though it does seed around, I really have to look for that Carex trifid :)))) every time I see it I'm envious ;)

31 Dec, 2009

 

Do you think the same Nursery might be at Malvern next year?

31 Dec, 2009

 

which one was it Spritz, I'm going to the Spring show

2 Jan, 2010

 

Oh dear - I'm afraid haven't a hope of remembering that, Grindle. :-(((

2 Jan, 2010

 

LOL never mind, I'll just make sure I take the name with me and have a good look

3 Jan, 2010

 

Well, if they've got it, you can hardly miss it! LOL.

3 Jan, 2010

 

if not I' ve found a couple of online nurseries. Any chance you'll be going to Malvern Spring show?

3 Jan, 2010

 

Not sure yet - I need to consult a friend of mine! LOL.

3 Jan, 2010

 

ah of course LOL

3 Jan, 2010

 

Has anyone been to Knoll Gardens they have a 4 acre plot there are grasses and lots of other perennials in it but I understand its fantastic
Neil is a friend from the shows again so never get chance to see it.
Neil is really knowledgeable about grasses and a great guy, so helpful and passionate about his grasses and his 4 acre exhibit as he calls it .lol
Its a great shame in our job as we know the places to visit and we know all these fabulous people but never get to go, many of us until we retire!!!!
(I dont think i will ever be able to afford to retire!)

3 Jan, 2010

 

No, but I'd like to, Vicky. I had a very unusual grass last year and I'd like another as it's not looking very happy - Carex phyllocephala 'Sparkler'. I'll have to try to remember where I got it.

3 Jan, 2010

 

that's a lovely carex too Spritz, I had it in my last garden and it did very well, when I moved it to this garden it died :(((((( Knoll gardens is one place it's listed in Plant Finder

4 Jan, 2010

 

I shall certainly get at least one more, Grindle. I love its 'quirky' shape.

4 Jan, 2010

 

I did love mine, and will definately get another one when I can find the ideal spot for it :)

6 Jan, 2010

 

I think that's why mine is struggling - I need to think where to put it and/or a new one if it does die on me, which I think it might.

6 Jan, 2010

 

Love that last one Spritz, on my list:-)

9 Jan, 2011

 

Oh Ba -I looked at it last week, and it hasn't coped with the cold weather at all well. I'll have to see if it survives. :-((

9 Jan, 2011

 

Hi Spritz how are you?
It might pull through not much is looking great and grasses now are really looking sad.
Our Red barons last year looked like mush but they came back slowly and looked lovely by the Autumn.
We have 5 that are in a position that the sun shines through them I was really sad but they came back.
Fingers crossed for yours

9 Jan, 2011

 

That's a shame, I have only one carex now, bowles golden sedge, it's looking ok so far. Maybe like Vicky says, it will pick up as the weather improves. What you doing on here Vicky? Get that catalogue finished!!! We can't wait forever you know:-)

9 Jan, 2011

 

lol I have to have a break sometimes. Goodness your as bad as Richard, slave drivers all of you lol
I am going right now Perennials are nearly done, Alpines nearly done, Heucheras Heucheras Tiarella not even started !!!!!
Byeee

10 Jan, 2011

 

Hallo Vicky - how lovely to 'see' you! Thanks for the hope - that's all I have. So many plants look awful at the moment.

I'm sure you're really busy, but please pop in if you can. :-))

10 Jan, 2011

 

I left my lovely cannas in the ground:-(

10 Jan, 2011

 

Mine are in a pot - still out in the open. I can't imagine that they survived. :-(

11 Jan, 2011

 

We just don't deserve them spritz:-(

11 Jan, 2011

 

No - I do feel guilty about them, but it was in that time when I wasn't at all well, and then the really cold weather defeated me. I'll just have to replace them, won't I!

11 Jan, 2011

 

That excuse will do me too:-)

11 Jan, 2011

 

Well - it can't be helped now. Choice - have new ones, don't have new ones. Tick the box! LOL.

11 Jan, 2011

 

If they don't make it, I think I'll have something different as I don't have a greenhouse and really want plants that are hardy....anyway they gave me such pleasure last year and I have loads of photos:-)

11 Jan, 2011

 

They're definitely not hardy! I couldn't have fitted the huge pot into the greenhouse, so last year I parked it in a sheltered corner, and was amazed when they started to grow again. This year, out in the open, I don't think they stand a chance.

I know you're supposed to take the tuber out and wrap it etc etc, but I tried doing that the year before, and almost broke the pot and my wrist trying to extricate it!

Don't really know what I'll do this year - with the dead Canna, I mean. Ask for help????

12 Jan, 2011

 

Perhaps the 'animals' would dig them up for you if you asked nicely, they have very strong legs :-)

12 Jan, 2011

 

I suppose they'll be a mush if they're dead? mine were also massive and I just put off digging them up until it was too late:-(

12 Jan, 2011

 

The leaves are a mush - I don't know what the tuber-thing's like!

Do NOT mention the 'b' word, please, Ba! :-(((((

12 Jan, 2011

 

Did you hear about the vicar who had a problem with the 'animals' (see no 'b' word) digging up the graves? Sounds like the start of a joke now I look at it, but it isn't. He recently got into trouble (think council) for trying to fence them out. Then one day he got an anonymous phone call saying not to worry, the problem was sorted! There has no more trouble, but claims not to know what was done or by whom. Possibly divine intervention? :-)

13 Jan, 2011

 

Possibly! The trouble he'll find is that if a sett is left vacant, a new family moves in. I wonder if his 'friend' knows that?

13 Jan, 2011

 

Can you make Malvern? flor's going on the Saturday. Maybe a coach??? you know you want to:-)

14 Jan, 2011

 

Louise is trying to organise something. Coaches? Not from anywhere near here, I'm afraid, Ba. :-(

Yes, of course I want to! It's just the logistics. ;-O

14 Jan, 2011

 

If only BAT and the Flying Carpet Co hadn't been so damaged this winter:-(

14 Jan, 2011

 

You'll have to ask Richard to knit a new carpet! :=))

14 Jan, 2011

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