Gardening 101: Ornamental Grasses – CBS Texas

Gardening 101: Ornamental Grasses – CBS Texas

North Texas ( – My ideal landscape has lots of shades of green, lots of shapes and textures, all complemented by splashes of color everywhere. This is where ornamental grasses come into play.

First, they are difficult. Once established, these perennials, almost all of them, require little attention and not a lot of water. There's a reason you see municipalities using ornamental grasses along roads.

They are also extremely versatile because they come in a wide range of sizes. I have a couple of pampas grasses to fill the back corner of my garden. They will both have the size of a large refrigerator by the end of the season. I also have some mondo grass growing in a shady spot, and it's only about five inches tall.

Then there is the texture of ornamental grass. On our stormy days, it sways in a continuous graceful movement. It can be hypnotic if you have a group to farm.

Some are also invasive.

I got a tour of the new greenbelt being developed in Dallas near Love Field. This is land that has been essentially untouched since the city's development in the late 1800s. It was growing along the creek bank, and the seeds came down the creek from the landscape upriver.

Those beautiful columns that big grasses produce are full of seeds. I had used some Mexican heather in my garden before I took it out due to what happened to my pool (filter clogged). I still find little startups all over my garden two years later.

Keep this in mind when choosing ornamental grasses. There are some less invasive options, please check their rating using the Texas Invasive website.

Jeff Ray is CBS News Texas' Chief First Alert Meteorologist and an avid gardener. When he's not covering the weather, he's finding stories about gardening in North Texas. If you would like Jeff to come talk to your group about how changing weather patterns are changing the way we garden in this region, please email him at

    (tags for translation) Gardening 

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