Alberta's Best Garden Blog

Ornamental Grasses

“There is not a sprig of grass that shoots uninteresting to me.”
Thomas Jefferson

Possibly one of the most tedious and uninteresting parts of a yard is grass. In fact – anyone who knows me knows that I hate lawns. Gone are the days of just simple, green turf that requires constant upkeep and ongoing maintenance, though. When you think grass, your mind should be filled with plants of all colours, shapes, and sizes!

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What are Ornamental Grasses?

Ornamental grasses are grasses that grow in a more decorative way than your average turf grass. Some varieties will sit pretty atop the ground, while others can grow taller than you. Some come in familiar green, while others dazzle in red. Some grow in an arching, mounding habit and others stand tall and straight. 

What is most important about ornamental grasses, though, is their low-maintenance nature. Like their lawn-covering cousins, they are persistent growers that can tough it out in almost any weather. Unlike typical grass, however, they don’t require the constant mowing!

Native Plants

One of the most significant benefits of planting ornamental grasses is that many of them are already native plants. Yes, you can find exotic varieties that are better suited to the desert, but given our prairie surroundings, you can find just as many natives that are sure to add sensation to your garden.

With a native plant, as any seasoned gardener knows, you’re getting so much bang for your buck. These plants are perfectly suited to grow in our area with normal rainfall, with the added benefit of being resistant to pests and diseases that can plague unsuspecting newcomers. They’re professionals at growing on their own and won’t require additional fertilizers or chemicals to give them a boost. They’re also friendly, familiar faces for our pollinating pals, so you’ll be sure to see more of them in your garden. 

Grasses to Consider

With so many varieties to choose from, it can be hard to narrow down exactly which plants to use in your garden. To make it a little easier, here are some of my top choices for easy-growing grasses that look amazing.

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Blue Fescue 

This grass, as the name implies, is a blue-toned grass with a silvery sheen that shines in a garden. Its delicate appearance adds a soft, fine texture to your landscape mounds of full tufts that sit low to the ground. They spread very well and make for effortlessly gorgeous groundcover in a garden or lawn. 

Reed Grass

Reed grass is one of the most popular varieties of ornamental grasses for its tall growing nature and decoratively tufted tops. It comes in a wide variety of colour combinations, but one of the most popular varieties is the Feather Reed Grass, with large shoots of green topped with feathery, tan plumes. For more colour and sensation, though, you can also find these plants in shades of silvers and even reds!

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Blue Oat Grass

This North American native is an amazing stunner to add to any landscape. Throughout the year, you can enjoy the long, steel blue blades that gently arch over, creating a fountain-like, round plant. In the summer, though, is when they become their most interesting as beige tufts shoot straight out of the plant toward the sky. 

With gorgeous, low-maintenance plants like these, it’s no wonder grass has become fun again. Ornamental grasses give us the chance to get back to the basics, while still allowing us to play with colour and shape. To learn more about ornamental grasses or to bring some home, visit the greenhouse today!

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