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Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses are a diverse group of plants that are used in landscape design to add texture, movement, and interest to gardens. There are many different varieties of ornamental grasses, each with its own unique characteristics and growing requirements.

One popular group of ornamental grasses are the miscanthus grasses, which come in a range of sizes and colors. Some of the most commonly grown miscanthus varieties include 'Morning Light', 'Gracillimus', and 'Strictus', which have fine, arching foliage and produce feathery plumes of flowers in late summer.

Another group of ornamental grasses are the panicum grasses, which are known for their airy, delicate flowers and colorful foliage. Some popular panicum varieties include 'Shenandoah', 'Heavy Metal', and 'Northwind', which have blue-green or red-burgundy foliage and are particularly attractive when backlit by the sun.

Calamagrostis grasses are also widely grown in gardens for their upright habit and attractive seedheads. Varieties like 'Karl Foerster', 'Overdam', and 'Avalanche' have narrow leaves that form upright clumps, and produce feathery plumes of flowers in late spring.

One of the most influential designers of ornamental grasses is Piet Oudolf, a Dutch garden designer who has popularized the use of naturalistic plantings in his designs. Oudolf frequently incorporates grasses into his designs, using them to create dynamic, ever-changing landscapes that are both visually striking and ecologically sustainable. Oudolf's designs often feature large drifts of grasses, interplanted with other perennials like echinacea, rudbeckia, and veronicastrum. His use of grasses in mass plantings creates a sense of movement and texture that is reminiscent of natural landscapes, and emphasizes the beauty of seasonal changes throughout the year.