By Marion McParland
Ornamental grasses add color, texture and interest to any landscape. Ranging from compact plants, or sedges, to tall billowy grasses, they come in many heights, textures, foliage colors and leaf shapes. PHS Meadowbrook Farm has a wide selection of annual grasses to choose from this month. These easy-keepers look great all summer, require little maintenance, and will continue to add beauty and color to your garden into the fall.
These plants require little pruning or maintenance and many varieties billow out to create volume and fill in spaces as they grow. Most ornamental grasses handle heat well and don’t require a lot of watering. They are not subject to diseases or pests and they do not require pesticides. These environmentally friendly plants also grow well on slopes, preventing erosion.
Meadowbrook Farm carries a great selection of ornamental grasses, including the following:
Sporobolus heterolepis, also known as prairie dropseed, is easily grown in a wide range of soils, including heavy clays. Flowers have pink and brown tints, but are known mainly for their coriander-like fragrance. Prairie dropseed is a lovely addition to large rock gardens as well as to foundation plantings and borders.
Prairie munchkin, another sturdy choice, provides steel blue foliage throughout the summer.
Schizachyrium scoparium, or prairie munchkin, is another sturdy grass. The steel-blue
foliage lasts through the heat of the summer. In the fall, flowers appear and the foliage slowly turns pinkish, then tawny through winter.
Sesleria autumnalis #2, or autumn moor grass, grows narrow stems with silvery-white inflorescences by midsummer and is yellow-green in the cooler seasons. A drought-tolerant choice, it can be planted in full-sun to partially shaded landscapes. Fun fact: Plants in the Sesleria genus are named in honor of Leonardo Sesler, a noteworthy figure in the 18th century botanical world.
Another great choice is Bouteloua gracilis, or blonde ambition, a native grass with an unusual look. Its horizontal eyelash-like chartruse flowers appear in mid-summer. By fall, they age to blonde seed heads and remain on the plant through winter for added interest.
Carex flacca, or blue zinger #1, is best used as groundcover. Its blue-grey foliage spreads to form a mat and will produce unusual black flowers in March. This drought-tolerant plant thrives in full sun to partial shade.
Carex oshimensis everillo #1 will add a bright spot to your landscape, living wall or window box.
Blonde ambition will delight you with its unusual look throughout summer and fall.
Carex oshimensis everillo #1 is another ornamental grass available at Meadowbrook Farm. This dramatic statement plant will brighten up shady spots or add a pop of color as edging along a path. It will also do well in a living wall or window box.
Visit Meadowbrook Farm this month to find these and other great grasses to add to your garden. Remember, PHS members always save 10% on plants. Become a member on site and save on your purchases.
PHS Meadowbrook Farm is located at 1633 Washington Lane in Abington Township, Pennsylvania. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information call 215.887.5900 or click here.