Plant of the Moment – August

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Grasses are a wonderful plant to use to inter-plant between herbaceous perennials. They add texture to a garden as well as sound. One of the best examples of this style of planting is Trentham Gardens in Staffordshire. The famous garden designer Piet Oudolf has redesigned many of the deep borders with many, including large clumps of grasses known as the rivers of grass. A great day out for any avid gardener!

Grasses can be found in many sizes, from dwarf low growing ones that smother the ground such a Ophiopogon ‘Nigrescens’ or Ficinia ‘Ice Crystal’ to larger ones such as Stipa Gigantea and Calamagrostis acut. ‘Karl Foerster. There are many different colours too, from the lush green of Briza media, to reds such as Carex testacea ‘Prairie Fire’ and everything in between.

Most grasses are perennial and will come back every year. These are easy to look after: in spring, just after the new growth has begun to push through, comb out the old dead ‘thatch’ with an old comb.

Some grasses are classed as bedding and can only be used for bedding displays during the summer and autumn e.g. Pennisetum and Millet (not strictly a grass, but looks like one). These will die off and return the following year. There is also Briza maxima which is often confused with Briza media but is the annual form. It will often self-seed, thus mimicking a perennial-like spread.

Grasses are grown for their architectural shape as well as the seed-heads as food for the birds and insects. Some have connotations with them such as Cortaderia selloana, better known as the Pampas Grass. Also known for getting very large and difficult to get rid of. Unfortunately we don’t sell mini diggers but we do sell many weedkillers and spades! If worried about this one, or haven’t got the space for one, try one of the many others we sell that are less invasive and far more decorative.

Enjoy your summer holidays and happy gardening!

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