Plant of the Week - August 9, 2012 Grasses

Ornamental Grasses

Enjoy the show ornamental grasses put on.  They add a sense of whimsy by adding fantastic movement to the landscape.  Movement of the blades rustling in the breeze creates a soothing sound and a great visual effect with waves of the wind traveling through the blades.  Bylands ornamental grasses are very easy to grow, simple to maintain, hardy and are drought tolerant once established.  Great for those dry hot spots in your garden.

Ornamental grasses will give you plenty of satisfaction and come back year after year.  Eventually grasses will need to be divided, as they tend to die out in the center and grow outwards.  The easiest way to keep your grasses looking great is to dig them up and cut them into sturdy sections, replant one section and the whole process starts all over again.  The best time to do this is in the plant’s dormant season, which may be March to early April depending on your zone.  At the same time you will want to cut them down to the ground.  Grasses die from the ground up, so come late winter early spring you should cut your grasses down to the ground before new growth starts to show.

Watch this video where Mike Byland describes: 

6 Ornamental Grasses ideal for Canadian Climates


Mike Bylands discusses 6 great grasses perfect for our Canadian climate.  Karl Foerster, Avalanche and Overdam Feather Reed grasses and Elijah Blue Fescue and Blue Oat grasses are all drought tolerant and hardy.  Then the Japanese Blood grass which is ideal for zone 5 and features beautiful red tipped blades.

Read more about these grasses on our blog here  

Add texture and height variances to commercial or residential lots with any of these popular many varieties. 

Blue Oat Grass
Plant forms a nice clump of narrow, bright silvery-blue gray foliage. Adds a unique color accent to sunny borders or used in Container. Upright stems bearing creamy yellow flower spikes that appear in early summer and last into the fall. Drought tolerant and very hardy.

Elijah Blue Fescue
A tidy perennial grass with a rounded spiky growth habit and narrow pale blue foliage. Great for edging borders, rock gardens and along walkways. Provides good colour contrast in Mass Planting, even in Container. Drought tolerant once established.

Overdam Feather Reed Grass
Stiff upright perennial with seed heads of golden yellow to cream-coloured blooms from summer into winter. Finely cut white and green striped leaves create an elegant background for border, in Mass Planting and in Container. Good fall colour.

Avalanche Feather Reed Grass
A variegated form of 'Karl Foerster'. Deep green leaves with a distinct white stripe down the centre turn a tan color in winter. Narrow plumes of feathery, purplish-green flowers in early summer. Upright, clumping habit. Tolerant of moist soils.

Karl Foerster's Feather Reed Grass
2001 Perennial Plant of the Year. A tall grass with long heads of golden yellow to cream-coloured plumes. Creates an elegant background from summer to fall. Seed heads stand up to winter extremes. Excellent in Mass Planting, borders and Container. Karl is the most popular grass right now and is seen all over western Canada.

June Grass
This tough native grass has vertical tufts of blue-green foliage. Narrow flower spikes dry to a golden brown after emerging glossy green in June. Useful cut flower in dried arrangements. Drought tolerant once established.  Native to most areas of western Canada.

Japanese Blood Grass
A dramatic colorful ornamental clumped grass with green leaves at the base and blood red at the tips. Effective in Mass Planting or as a single specimen in borders and Container. Rarely produces flower spikes. Slow starting to grow for the year, a warm season grower with beautiful blades.

Bulbous Oat Grass
This attractive low-growing grass is at its best in spring and early summer. Forms a spreading clump of narrow leaves, striped lengthwise with bright green and creamy-white. Great for the front of borders or in Container. Drought tolerant once established.