Saturday 10 December 2011

Grasses shines in autumn and winter

Molinia arundinacea 'Cordoba' in the citypark of Laholm in November

Autumn is the time when grasses step up and outshines all withered perennials and former blooming companions in the border. Whenever you place a plant in the garden, you should always think about how the sunlight wanders around during the day. Almost all plants are most beautiful when they get the sun's rays from behind, but the grasses shines more than any others when backlit.

Plant thus the ornamental grasses where you can see them illuminated from the place where you usually find yourself in the garden, for example from your patio.

Here are some good grasses for autumn color, but there are plenty of others too. The Tussock grass, Deschampsia cespitosa, is one of the best grasses to capture the sun's glowing rays; however this grass needs heavy soils with a good water storage capacity to survive more than some few years.

Molinia arundinacea can withstand drought better, but prefers moist soils. Andropogon gerardii and Schizachyrium are drought specialists and can handle very difficult situations without any rain if they are well established.

Molinia arundinacea in Sichtungsgarten Weihenstephan, Germany

Deschampsia cespitosa in München in October

Little Bluestem, Schzachyrium scoparium, in Lahom, Sweden, in late November 

Little Bluestem backlit in November, Laholm Citypark

Big Bluestem, Andropogon gerardii, Westpark, München, Germany

Big Bluestem in Sichtungsgarten Herrmannshof, Weinheim, in early October

Switch Grass, Panicum virgatum, in Laholm in late November 

Miscanthus sinensis 'Purpurascens' in Westpark in München 


  1. Beautiful overview of grasses. I especially love the Miscanthus 'Purpurescens' in the last photo. Mine don't always achieve that stunning color.

  2. Yes, I agree, here in Sweden I have never seen 'Purpurescens' in that bright colors. Maybe the conditions are better in southern Germany or perhaps the label was wrong.

  3. Wow...have to echo Miscanthus 'Purpurescens' never gets that amazing red's nice...just not THAT nice! Love the Big and Little Bluestems...wish I could get them to not flop as much...they definitely need full sun.