Iowa’s snow show came hard and heavy this year. Your wishes for a White Christmas were heard loud and clear and Mother Nature reacted with a tidal wave of the fluffy stuff. With a bleak outlook for the remaining months of winter, wouldn’t it be nice to have something to gaze at over the terrain? Wouldn’t you like to see something break up the monotonous blanket of snow? If you had had your wits about ya, you would have planted some ornamental grasses. Ornamental grasses are inexpensive, they grow fast, they multiply, they will withstand the harsh drifts of Iowa’s nasty winters AND they look good doing it!
A snapshot of the beginning of the end. The blades of this Flame Grass (Miscanthus sinensis purpurascens) held up well against the flakes.
After the threat had subsided.
Ornamental grasses are very complimentary with other winter show stoppers like the Crimson Pygmy Barberry.
Don’t be afraid to succumb to early cabin fever and peruse TimberPine’s catalog of ornamental grasses to see what might compliment your landscape. If you have had enough of the guess work and want some help planning, TimberPine has 5 landscape designers, anxious to give you a glimpse of what spring could offer with a landscape design. Look for specials starting in January to help bring light to your lawn and landscape struggles.
Do you already have ornamental grasses in your garden? What are your favorites? How do you like to incorporate them into your outdoor living spaces?
For the most part, ornamental grasses love full sun, well drained soils and are deer and rabbit resistant. Some varieties can handle partial even full shade. Please consult with a professional before selecting a grass for your site conditions. Grasses are very low maintenance~trim back the foliage to the ground in the spring. Refrain from trimming in the fall, the open stocks can invite frost down into the roots, killing a plant during a harsh winter.
Here are a few of our favorite ornamental grasses:
Karl Forester Reed Grass Calamagrostis acutiflora:
- Cool season, clumping grass growing approximately 4-5′ tall, 3′ wide; wheat like seed heads appear in late spring and last all season
Maiden Grass Miscanthus sinensis ‘Gracillimus’:
- Silver veined blades emerge in late spring growing approximately 5-6′ tall, 4′ wide; white plumes in late summer
Shenandoah Switch Grass Panicum virgatum:
- Blue-green foliage with sporadic blades of burgundy through most of season, burgundy more prolific in fall; grows approximately 3′ tall, 2-3′ wide
Variegated Japanese Silver Grass Miscanthus sinensis ‘Varigatus’:
- White and green variegated foliage arches heavily, white blooms in mid summer; grows approximately 5-6′ tall, 3-4′ wide
Silver Feather Grass Miscanthus sinensis variety condensatus ‘Cabaret’:
- Very wide, ribbon like foliage with creamy white center and dark green margins; grows approximately 6′ tall, 3-4′ wide
Moundry Grass Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Moundry’:
- Upright, mounding, dark green foliage gives way to purple-black plumes in late summer; grows approximately 3′ tall, 3′ wide