The fascination of the grass garden: tips on design, layout and care


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Ornamental grasses enhance seats, garden ponds or perennial beds with filigree stalks and glittering flower spikes. If you would like to grow a herb garden, you may be spoiled for choice, because choosing the right one for your own garden from the varied and extensive assortment of garden grasses is not so easy. Depending on the purpose and in which combination you want to use the ornamental grass, you should consider different points - because the plant selection has of course also influence on the future care of your herb garden.

In contrast to most perennials, grasses in the garden do not impress mainly by their flowering, but by their structure. The fine green stalks of different sizes, which tend to be picturesque in the wind, have their own unique aesthetics. As a group of plants, grasses in the garden are extremely versatile. Whether small and fluffy or high and elegant, annual or perennial - ornamental grasses can be used in any garden. Here is a brief overview of the many possibilities of use.

Lamp cleaner grass in the grass garden

Ornamental grasses, such as the lamprey grass, appear airy and nod gracefully in the wind

For more lightness: grasses in the perennial border

In the bed, ornamental grasses usually have a relaxing and structuring effect. Garden grasses often look very formal and rather dry. Combined with late blooming perennials such as coneflower, stonecrop or Aster on the other hand, the Beetbepflanzung gets a very natural effect. With their billowing stalks, filigree spikes and pearl-like seed stems, ornamental grasses give the bed design a fascinating dynamic. High garden grasses such as the riding grass structure the planting, low (for example, sedges) are ideal ground cover. If grasses in the garden are placed in larger groups, such as miscanthus (Miscanthus) or zotten-raugras (spodiopogon), the bedding plant gets a modern touch.
When planting garden grasses in the perennial border, take into account not only visual aspects such as height, color and texture, but also that the site requirements of the bed neighbors match. So the prairie grass (Schizachyrium) should only be combined with perennials that are also drought-loving. Riding grass and blue oat grass (Helictotrichon) are planted in perennials that like sunny, dry, well drained soils such as the spur flower, the magnificent candle or the pearl basket. Forest corn (Carex) and Japanese mountain grass (Hakonechloa), on the other hand, love shady, fresh locations and, together with Funkie, purple bells and star thorns, enrich partially shaded garden corners. The fluffy flower petals of the oriental lamprey grass (Pennisetum orientale) spot violet-flowering perennials and bulbous flowers such as catnip (Nepeta x faassenii) and garlic (Allium sphaerocephalon).

Grasses can be combined with flowering perennials

Grasses can be wonderfully combined with flowering perennials

Grasses as a screen

Through their upright growth and the dense stalks ornamental grasses are popular in the garden as a visual protection plants. Powerful grass types such as bamboo or pole pipes are just as suitable as the filigree pipe grass or the giant feather grass (Stipa gigantea). Garden grasses in elongated planters or narrow beds along the terrace protect the eye and still give a sense of lightness and liveliness. In contrast to privacy fences or walls, tall grasses appear as semi-transparent walls, creating private nooks and screened spaces in the garden.

Ornamental grasses as soloists

Particularly tall, expansively growing ornamental grasses are well suited in the garden as specimen plants, for example at the edge of the pond or in the front yard. An imposing figure and thus the ideal solitary grass for the background of the bed is the tall pipe grass (Molinia arundinacea). Also predestined for the individual position are the higher-growing species of Miscanthus as well as the pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana). In autumn, the foliage and stalks take on a nice yellow color. But even in the tub many garden grasses make a great figure and decorate terraces and seats. If you want to grow pampas grass in pots, you should go back to the variety 'Pumila', because it grows more compact and blooms stronger than the conventional species.

pampas grass

Larger ornamental grasses such as the Pampasgras only come into their own in individual positions

Plan and create a grass garden

There is the right grass for every spot in the garden. Nevertheless, garden grasses should be well-dosed when planning a garden. Do not mix up too many grasses! For the bed background, several tall garden grasses can be used to create structure and privacy. Lower tufts of grass in the foreground of the planting provide a perspective effect.Thus, for example, a few isolated lamprey grasses (Pennisetum alopecuroides) interspersed between summer flowers and perennials make the bed look optically deeper. Garden grasses are also the ideal planting on the water. Overhanging varieties connect the bed with the water level and soften hard boundaries. The reflection of the daintily flowering blades of grass in the pond is a special show.

Ornamental grasses with autumn coloring

The absolute highlight in the herb garden is in autumn, when the ornamental grasses present in bright colors

The great season of garden grasses is the autumn. While the flor flowers of the summer flowers slowly fade, the green shades of the ornamental grasses turn towards the end of the year often in bright red (for example, switchgrass) or golden yellow (for example, whistling grass). In the Japanese Redgrass 'Red Baron', the stalks show a particularly intense red color in autumn and thus unfold a grandiose effect. Tip: Before buying your new garden dwellers, find out about the location, flowering time, space requirements and height of the grasses. This is important because the final size of many varieties is easily misjudged. From a small miscanthus in a small pot can grow within two to three years of a man-high and up to a meter wide grasses!

modern garden design with ornamental grasses

Garden design with feather grass (Stipa), miscanthus and foxred sedge (Carex buchananii)

Ornamental grasses for different locations

Giant Feather Grass needs a well-drained, nutrient-poor and sunny location. In contrast, miscanthus grows best in fresh, moist, nutrient-rich locations. The morning star sedge (Carex grayi) is extremely undemanding and grows on virtually any soil. Feather grassgrass prefers permeable, moderately dry to fresh soils in a sunny location, while the pampas grass needs a nutrient-rich, fresh location. Japanese blood grass (Imperata cylindrica) loves sandy, humus soils and is very sensitive to winter wet.

Diamond grass in combination with autumn shrubs

Diamondgrass (Calamagrostis arundinacea var. Brachytricha) in combination with autumn shrubs

Plant and cultivate the grass garden

The best planting time for autumn flowering grasses is spring. This is especially true for the large assortment of feathered grasses (Pennisetum), because they do not grow properly in the late year and are therefore particularly sensitive to winter wetlands. On the other hand, fescue (Festuca) and sedges (Carex) are able to root well even in cooler temperatures and can be well divided and put into action even in autumn. Tip: Plant your grasses so that the sun's rays (best in the evening) fall laterally or from behind onto the blades of diamond grass, forest furs (Deschampsia), giant feather grass, tall whistle grass and gray millet (panicum)! If possible, before planting, check at which places the grasses develop the most beautiful play of light. When planting, pay attention to the right location, as many ornamental grasses come from hot, dry areas and do not like wet feet. However, most grasses thrive on normal garden soils.
The only care of the otherwise rather undemanding gardeners is the regular sharing to rejuvenate the plants. If the grassy horst clears out of the center, you should lift your ornamental grass out of the ground with the entire root ball in spring and split the bale into several pieces. These can then be recombined and reused at the same or different location. Regular fertilization requires only high-consuming grass species such as miscanthus or pampas grass, but in most species it is rather counterproductive, as it causes the plants to become plowed and fall apart more easily.

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