Landscaping with Grasses & Sedges
Making it simple and keeping it that way can be a good gardening rule; especially so, if you have little time to install and tend your garden.
We recently moved and the backyard is a double lot that is all stone. This is what I was looking for, however, the design and development of the site is going to demand most of my gardening time.
The front lawn, on the other hand is small, about ten feet across and five deep. It is too tiny to be useful for much more than an ornamental garden. The location, near the roadway and parked cars, means it is not suitable for growing anything we will eat.
What to do? The first step was to cover the whole area with landscape fabric. This drew some attention from my neighbours and several interesting conversations have been the result.
The big question now is what is next?
Ornamental grasses and sedges are one of the answers I am considering. There are already daffodils planted to begin the naturalization of the site and more bulbs will follow over time. An addition of two or three ornamental grass plants may be the ideal complement.
Simply because a plant is called an ornamental grass does not mean that it is actually a grass or to be technical a member of the Poaceae family, aka Gramineae. Your standard lawn grass is included in this family.
Plants that have narrow to strap like leaves are labeled ornamental grasses, although some of them may actually be sedges. In some cases, rushes and cattails are also included in the ornamental grass grouping.
I am not concerned whether the choice I make is a grass or sedge, I do want it to be a perennial and suitable for the climate zone where I live.
The ornamental grasses do not produce large showy flowers because they do not need them. The grasses are not pollinated by insects but by the wind, so they do not need to get the attention of passing bees etc.
Grasses do offer a colour range and while it may be limited there is enough variety available to create and attractive design. Grasses can come in a variety of shades of yellow, brown, green pink, silver or maroon and some will change as they mature offering grays, browns and golds.
I like the plants that have seed heads large enough to be noticeable throughout the winter season and appealing enough so the birds who overwinter can readily garb a snack on the front lawn.
Is the grass a clumper or a creeper? Creepers spread and will possibly crowd out other plants, Clumpers tend to stay put where they are planted and that is an attribute I am seeking. Creepers make great ground covers while clumpers are best for beds and borders.
There are a number of possibilities that meet my needs; one is the Korean Feather Reed Grass. What choices I will make are still undecided but there is time, some months before I must plant so I can enjoy pondering upon which plants or plants will enhance my lawn free front yard.
- Growing information on Ornamental Grasses and Sedges from White Flower Farm - White Flower Farm
Growing Guide Ornamental Grasses & Sedges Most varieties grow well in full sun and average garden soil.