We are always looking for new ideas or ways to make our gardens look different from our neighbors. One thing I do not see all that often in local landscapes is ornamental grasses.
Ornamental grasses can give any landscape a distinctive and tropical appearance. You can use the larger varieties, such as fountain grass, as a centerpiece and plant smaller varieties, such as liriope, around them. Clusters of these majestic grasses can look awesome in almost any yard.
One of my favorite grasses to use is the perennial fountain grass. Fountain grass is an upright and open mound forming grass. These grasses can be used to accent a corner area, accent an area around a pond or fountain or used in masses in an island. These beautiful plants will peak with flowers during the summer months. They can be purchased at many local garden centers.
Fountain grass will grow in any fertile moist or well-drained soil condition. These plants will do well in sun or partial shade. If they are located in full sun, they will require a bit more water for them to stay perky and majestic.
On the other side of the spectrum is a grass known as liriope. These specimens are much smaller than the fountain grass but can also be planted in clusters. Liriope can also be used as a border plant around other landscape projects or clusters of larger ornamental grasses. They are extremely hardy and do very well even if they are ignored.
Liriope are very versatile and can be planted in a variety of locations. They will withstand both partial and full sun. If you plant liriope in partial shade, they will tolerate dry conditions quite well. If they are located in an area of more sun, they will require a bit more water. In either case, the plant will require well-drained soil.
Variegated liriope have an appearance similar to the green liriope but they have a white coloring mixed with the green. They do not grow quite as high as the green variety and they also do not hold up as well in full sun. They also require a bit more water to stay healthy and vibrant.
As you can see, tropical grasses can add a distinctive flare to your prized garden. With some careful planning and imagination, you can create the landscape of your dreams. Next week we will look some native plants that you can use to dress up your yard and save on water.
Joe Zelenak has more than 30 years experience in gardening and landscape. Send e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his Web site www.hometowngarden.com