Ornamental Grasses

By Kelly Brainard, Ashland Greenhouses

Just when you think gardening couldn’t be any more challenging we were hit with what seemed to be a never ending heat wave in June and then a wave of thunderstorms in early July.  We’re all wondering what’s in store for the rest of the summer and I’d bet the plants are thinking the same thing.  In my own yard we were trying our best to keep things happy through the heat and when the thunderstorms started rolling through things really took a beating.  For us the high winds did some “natural pruning and dead-heading”.   After it’s all said and done I have to say I’m continually impressed with the ornamental grasses. With or without storms and heat waves they naturally look great right now and will continue to look better and better as the summer passes.

Some of my favorite qualities of ornamental grasses are their easy maintenance, durability, deer resistance, and performance throughout the summer and fall.  To maintain them they simply need to be cut back in the winter or early spring and require little if any fertilizer throughout the growing season.  Many varieties are drought tolerant once established and prefer to be planted in well-drained soil.  Although most varieties are deer resistant you’ll want to check first just to make sure.  There are numerous types of various sizes, colors, and textures to choose from which look great in mass plantings or intermixed throughout the landscape.  Many of the smaller varieties and annual grasses look great in containers for your patio or deck adding unique texture and color.