Our Five Favourite Grasses
The benefits of ornamental grasses in a planting scheme cannot be overestimated. Not only are they easy to grow and maintain, but they also provide interest year-round, producing attractive seed heads held aloft impressive foliage. These feathery plumes and explosions of greenery dance beautifully in the breeze, creating both movement and structure in the garden, and with their gentle rustling, instil a sense of calm.
Suiting all settings, both contemporary and traditional, grasses can be used as standalone specimens, and are particularly striking in a container, or as part of a border design, where they draw the eye. Dividing a garden into areas while maintaining a loose, airy feel, or used as a screen for privacy, these grasses soften and enhance as they define the space.
These are five of our favourite, lesser known varieties, chosen for their diversity of form, versatility of use, and of course, their beauty!
Add a modern element to the quintessential cottage garden scheme with some vertical interest delivered by Stipa gigantea. This majestic evergreen bears large, stunning panicles of oat-like flowers, which emerge as purple before ripening to gold. Forming a fountain shape, these seedheads eventually dry out, creating a romantic, architectural form for the winter garden, particularly striking when backlit by sunshine or delicately enhanced with tendrils of frost.
Silky feathers and colour are the calling cards of this Chinese silver grass, perfect for adding some height to a border. The leaves, striped with white, are arching and grow up to two metres tall, topped with silky, pink tinged flower heads in summer, that glow silver in the light, held above sturdy reddish-brown stems.
Low lying and happy in the shade, Hakone grass is wonderful grown in the ground or a pot, where its glorious cascading mound provides a distinctive visual statement. Native to Japan, its soft foliage ripples in the breeze, working admirably as a foil to companion plants, and changes in tone from green to copper as the seasons turn.
Named by our Plant Manager as his pick of the grasses, this unusual, variegated Pampas, is a showstopper in any garden. As an evergreen grass, its foliage is key, topped with silvery flower panicles in summer, that prance like showgirl plumes above the compact mound of white edged grass. Use this grass to edge a boundary, as its sharp-edged leaves will deter any intruder, or plant in a large pot on a terrace for a billowing specimen, full of personality.
Low growing with golden-yellow arching foliage, this ornamental sedge adds colour and interest to any areas of damp soil, and so is particularly useful for waterside planting or boggy regions in the garden. Most impactful when planted en masse, it softens edging and adds light and contrast to other greenery, or it can be planted in a pot for a burst of radiance on the terrace.
Learn more with our guides and stories
The Wild Flower Bulb Garden
Create a haven for early-pollinators with our guide to spring flowering native and naturalising bulbs.