Plant of the Month for October – Grasses

HordeumJubatumPeople either love or hate grasses but at this time of year they add enormous interest to any garden; there is a huge range available adding gossamer effects, autumn colour, and winter shapes as well as a gentle rustling as the wind whips around the garden.

Some are low and spreading and so fill in gaps which tend to appear at this time of year, some have wonderful flowering spikes with amazing colour, and some provide height, always a bonus in any garden.

ImperataRubra

StipaGiganteaGrasses can be used in several ways, often they are planted in drifts through a border which creates a natural look and brings different parts of the garden together into one cohesive design. They can also be planted as individual specimens adding dramatic impact to the smallest of gardens. If room is limited or if you have a paved garden or yard, grasses can easily be grown in containers which often helps to soften more formal designs and also means they can be moved around to change the impact as the year progresses.

Giant grasses such as pampas grasses quickly form enormous clumps and can soon dominate a bed so only plant these where space is plentiful or try them in containers.

StipaTenuissimaHakonechioaMacraThere are many smaller grasses which can be accommodated in even the smallest of borders; read the label carefully before planting to ensure you have the correct amount of space

Sedges are suitable for damp conditions and the Britain’s native sedge, Carex pendula is well worth trying if your garden is on the damp side.

Most grasses are easy to grow but most need full sun to get the most out of them, any soil type will do. Feed in the spring with a general fertiliser but don’t over feed. Cut back in February and add a thick layer of mulch.