Why should you plant ornamental grasses this season?
The difficulty is choosing the right grass for you, because many of them are at the northern limit of their range when grown here. Your location will affect flowering times: for example, my Miscanthus sinensis varieties creep into flower in September, a full six weeks later than those in the banana belt of southern England. Some herbs fail to flower at all in the cold Cotswolds where I live. It’s a step too far for panic, for example. I’ve learned not to bother. Neil Lucas of Knoll Gardens is an expert in herbs and his new book, Herbs for Gardens and Landscapes, reflects years of knowledge gained in this country. Knoll Gardens offers a wide range of well-cultivated plants; The garden opens wide and you can book to attend masterclasses.
All of the herbs suggested below (except those grown from seed) can now be grown in the garden. If you are using heavy clay, add some coarse gravel to the base of the planting hole.
The most beneficial early-season grasses have a low, evergreen presence because the garden is primarily filled with ground-hugging plants at that time. The golden foliage of Luzula sylvatica ‘Aurea’, the larger woody rush, provides a splash of sunlight and I love seeing it rushing through the dark leaf litter, under fallen hazel or viburnum. The taller Luzula nivea tree, called snowwood rush, produces slender stems topped with clusters of white apple blossoms. These are rushes and honorary herbs.
The lemon-yellow leaves of Golden Wood Millet, Milium effusum ‘Aureum’, illuminate the ground during the winter months and this is unusual. Most plants with golden leaves turn green when temperatures drop. As May approaches, ribbons of bright yellow beads sparkle in the late spring sun, continuing into summer. This cute weed is self-sowing, but it’s easy to spot and remove. Soon after, a 30 cm high woody melica tree, Melica unflora f. Albida, produces heads of white, cedar-like beads and is the perfect partner for hardy ferns. This creeps, but not vigorously, and will seed itself as well. Find a quiet corner for this delicate beauty.
Some herbs seem tailor-made for pots and containers. Finely tuned Carex sedge, commonly known as orange sedge, is another honorary grass. It hovers and curves down from the narrow waist. The color changes throughout the year, from ginger to cola, as long as it is in a bright spot. I love this rugged New Zealander when planted with blue anemones.
(tags for translation)Gardening