Friday, April 18, 2008

The BIG ornamental grasses clean-up

Toby sniffs around last year's grasses

This was the week of the big garden spring clean-up. My beds around the house are dominated by ornamental grasses. I like to say that no other plants are as easy to maintain: All you need to do is cut down and clear away the previous year's growth in late winter or early spring.

But this is easier said than done. For the job, we always rent a gas-powered hedge trimmer, and the actual cutting takes half a day. It's clearing last year's growth away that makes it such a huge job. But with three helpers, we managed to do all the rough clean-up in one day. The rest of the week was spent on a more thorough clean-up of all the beds, and we've also begun to work on the edging. After that comes weeding and mulching.

After cutting down the grasses

The landscape looks a bit odd without the ornamental grass foliage. There a few bulbs in between the clumps that will bloom soon to give us some colour before the grasses start to grow again.

Here's how our front garden looks after the grasses have put on their spring flush of growth:

New flush of growth; photo from spring '06

If you're interested in ornamental grasses, I have lots of information about them on my web site.
© Yvonne Cunnington, Country Gardener


  1. Very pretty. I do appreciate the ornamental grasses, although I have not yet incorporated them into my gardens.

  2. Hi Yovnne!
    I KNEW you were busy! And what a beautiful weekend to be outside. I have a few new grasses from last year that havent shown any growth so I'm not sure if they made it...however it may still be a little early for them. I'm going to check out your web page because I would love to have a garden full of grasses. I know there are a few that can handle my zone.
    Yours are very lovely!!!

  3. Hi Eve: Don't give up on your ornamental grasses too soon. Lots of them are warm season plants that don't start to grow until the temperatures are much higher. This is from my web page on caring for grasses:

    Warm season grasses: Warm-season grasses like maiden grass Miscanthus species and fountain grass (Pennisetum species and cultivars) require patience. They're slow to get growing, but thrive in temperatures from 75° to 85°F (24 to 30C°).



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-Yvonne, aka Country Gardener