Magazine article Sunset

A Grassy Meadow for Mountain Gardens

Magazine article Sunset

A Grassy Meadow for Mountain Gardens

Article excerpt

Mix billowy grasses, boulders, and a pond for a natural look

A wash runs through part of Sallye Schumacher's front yard. To soften its austere look, she planted it with ornamental grasses that require no supplemental irrigation. She had the wash lined with granite boulders, then planted fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Hameln') and other grasses that billow softly. Schumacher's garden is near the slopes of Mummy Mountain in Arizona. Rocky Mountain gardeners can duplicate her meadow effect using ornamental grasses suitable for mountain climates (see box at right).

Now fully established, the grasses form arching clumps among the boulders. In late October, Schumacher cuts them back to prevent reseeding and to encourage dense new growth in spring. When occasional heavy rains run off the mountain and fill the wash, the water flows around the boulders and collects in a pond Schumacher formed in a low area.

One good mail-order source for ornamental grasses is High Country Gardens of Santa Fe (800/925-9387 or

4 great plants for a mountain meadow

Delicate leaves and fountainlike forms make these ornamental grasses especially showy among boulders and beside ponds. …

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