Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

SUPER GRASSES; Bring a Different Texture to Your Garden with Wild and Glorious Ornamental Specimens

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

SUPER GRASSES; Bring a Different Texture to Your Garden with Wild and Glorious Ornamental Specimens

Article excerpt

Byline: YOUR GARDEN With Diarmuid Gavin

SEPTEMBER in the garden has a distinct look as summer gently gives way to autumn. Late autumn perennials display rich colours, such as red and pink dahlias, orange crocosmia, blue salvias and purple penstemons.

It's also when many ornamental grasses are at their peak, bearing golden, silver and yellow flowers, bringing to mind fields of wheat and barley about to be harvested.

Grasses bring a different texture to the garden and, interspersed among herbaceous perennials, they create soft structural elements in the border and throughout the garden.

Single specimens can be used as focal points on corners or paths.

Mass or drift planting makes a soft statement and is a good way to create a calm effect or deal with large tracts of space.

They work well in a mixed border, a modern planting scheme and in the cottage garden. They are the staple of 'prairie-style' planting which uses readily available perennials and grasses to create a wild, naturallooking border.

As with all planting, size and form is everything when it comes to grasses.

They vary in size from the giant Miscanthus sinensis 'Goliath' which stands 2.5 metres tall, to Deschampsia 'Tatra Gold', a neat little tuft with flowering stems that reach about 30cm at most.

In general, grasses prefer a sunny spot, but there is a grass for every location, including shade if that's appropriate.

Likewise, there is a grass for every soil - some like it dry, others prefer to have their roots damp.

Read the label when buying, or if you're not sure, ask for advice - good garden centres and nurseries are full of enthusiastic gardeners who are delighted to share their knowledge and advice.

Resist tidying up your grasses in autumn - many of their seed heads will look good throughout winter and you can chop them back in early spring to neaten things up. …

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