Getting Ornamental with Grasses

There was a time when grasses in the yard were either lawn or weeds. Then some folks in Europe began growing grasses for their beauty — not perpetually crew cut and indistinguishable from one another, as in a lawn, but placed as individual plants in flower beds and allowed to grow to their full glory. It took gardeners a while to get used to seeing fully grown grass plants without yanking them out by the roots. But the charms of grass prevailed, and many gardeners came to love ornamentals. In the sections that follow, I describe the benefits and pitfalls of growing ornamental grasses, and I explain how to sustainably use and maintain them.

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