Comeback Grasses

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Providing movement and silhouette, ornamental grasses come into their own at this time of year. Their autumnal colours match anything else that the garden can grow for colour and drama. Used well, they can lift a border into designer league and are a magnificent addition to any garden.

Top choices for autumn interest include:

Tall growing:

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Gracillimus’
A statuesque grass producing attractive purple-flushed flower plumes in late summer.

Stipa gigantea
Commonly known as Elephant Grass. Makes a stunning focal point.

Panicum ‘Heavy Metal’
Fantastic for late season colour and texture in beds and borders.

Panicum 'Heavy Metal'


Medium growing:

Anemanthele lessoniana
Possibly the number one grass for garden designers thinking of autumnal interest. Turns from green through fiery coppers as the year progresses.

Stipa tenuissima
This Pony Tail grass is a wonderfully tactile addition to autumn tubs and borders.

Carex buchananii
Unusual evergreen grass that is an easy to grow, mid-height planting solution.

Anemanthele lessoniana


Low growing:

Carex ‘Evergold’
The gleaming evergreen variegated foliage of the ‘Evergold’ is attractive year-round.

Uncinia ‘Everflame’
The flaming reds and browns of this beautiful evergreen evoke the feel of autumn.

Festuca ‘Intense Blue’
The steely blue foliage makes this an excellent front of the border choice.

Festuca 'Intense Blue'


Autumn is not the time of year to be thinking about dividing grasses, best to wait until the soil is warm and they’re growing. Grasses and their fallen stems also provide excellent cover for hedgehogs and other small mammals to hibernate in, so leave them well alone and enjoy their gentle fading as the year draws to a close.

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