I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a huge fan of ornamental grasses. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t use them in a landscape design or actually plant them in a landscape, I would. Being a plant-a-holic and someone who has a real problem throwing a plant out, I actually have 1 ornamental grass, a hand-me-down, in my own New Milford landscape. That being said, in my opinion, grasses in a landscape only really feel at home when used in close relation to pool areas or around water features or ponds. Everywhere else, we use them sparingly, if at all. I have occasionally used small pockets of grasses in foundation plantings and perennial borders in the past for a splash of texture and form successfully but we keep their numbers down compared to other types of plants.
I will give grasses credit where credit is due, they do add quite a bit of interest in the winter landscape. There are so many, probably hundreds, of grasses on the market, how do you choose? They are available in all different shapes and sizes, both native and non natives. One of my favorite grasses in regards to fall and winter interset is our native Little Bluestem, Schizachyrium scoparium.
While most grasses turn a hay color in the fall, Little Bluestem take on an amazing color that is hard to explain. My best description is the grass takes on a rusty brown appearance, with hints of pink and orange. See for yourself.
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There aren’t many grasses that sparks my interest in the winter landscape as much as Little Bluestem. If you are looking to jazz up your winter landscape, give it a try.