Skip to main content

7 Awesome Ornamental Grasses for Every Cottage Garden


Fill your cottage garden with four seasons of interest with the beauty of low-maintenance ornamental grasses. From 6-inch mounds perfect for edging, to towering 20-foot screens, there's a grass for every cottage garden. There are so many varieties to choose  from with a wide range of textures, seasonal colors and outlines.

Grasses reward good care with all-season beauty. Since most don't drop foliage during dormancy, they provide shape, color, texture, movement, and wind song long after frost-shy plants have finished their performances.
 Ornamental grasses have multi-season appeal: In spring, the shoots add a vibrant flush of green; in summer, their plumes bring color and texture to the landscape; in autumn, many varieties turn shades of red, orange, and yellow. They're fantastic in winter, too: When snow falls, standing grasses break up the monotony of a barren landscape, making the long season more bearable. Here are some of the best varieties....
Feather Reedgrass
The most popular ornamental grass, feather reedgrass offers a distinct upright habit that looks fantastic all winter long. Like many grasses, this tough plant tolerates a wide range of conditions. 'Karl Foerster' is the best known of the feather reedgrasses and boasts all the key elements of this beautiful, useful ornamental grass. While other ornamental grasses tend to arch outward, feather reedgrass tends to grow straight and upright, giving an architectural element to the landscape, even in winter, as long as you leave it standing.

Special Features:Flowers,Fall Color,Winter Interest,Cut Flowers,Dried Flowers,Drought Tolerant,Deer Resistant,Easy to Grow


Like so many grasses, fountaingrass is spectacular when backlit by the rising or setting sun. Named for its especially graceful spray of foliage, fountaingrass also sends out beautiful, fuzzy flower plumes in late summer. The white, pink, or red plumes (depending on variety) continue into fall and bring a loose, informal look to plantings. This plant self-seeds freely, sometimes to the point of becoming invasive. Perennial fountaingrass  makes neat but dense 2- to 5-foot clumps of 1/2-inch-wide leaves that turn golden in fall and persist into the winter. The bottlebrush panicles of silvery white spikelets (flowers) arise in late summer and mature to bronze, according to variety.

Special Features:Flowers,Attractive Foliage,Fall Color,Winter Interest,Cut Flowers,Dried Flowers,Attracts Birds,Drought Tolerant,Deer Resistant,Easy to Grow


Blue Oatgrass

It's tough to beat blue oatgrass for a low-care plant with steel-blue color. It also has a wonderful mounded habit and won't spread and take over your garden.

Refined and elegant, Blue Oat Grass adapts easily and fits equally well in formal or informal gardens. Its mound of grassy gray-blue leaves arches gracefully throughout the season. In fall, panicles of brownish spikelets reach for the sky well above the foliage.

Special Features:  Attractive Foliage,Fall Color,Winter Interest,Cut Flowers,Dried Flowers,Attracts Birds,Drought Tolerant,Deer Resistant,Easy to Grow


Japanese Forestgrass

One of our favorite low-growing species, this gorgeous plant offers a perfect mounding habit. Variegated selections (such as 'Aureola' or 'All Gold') bear brightly colored foliage that light up shady corners.

The elegant, sweeping lines of this grass are so lovely that it's a favorite among gardeners. And Japanese forestgrass is one of only a few ornamental grasses that thrive in shade. Its mounding clumps of arching, grassy leaves gradually increase in size, never becoming invasive. Variegated cultivars are particularly attractive. All thrive in moisture-retaining, humus-rich soil and even tolerate dry conditions.

Special Features:  Attractive Foliage,Fall Color,Winter Interest,Cut Flowers,Dried Flowers,Attracts Birds,Drought Tolerant,Deer Resistant,Easy to Grow


I love zebragrass because of its bold color: Each leaf blade features a series of bright yellow bands. The plant really stands out in the landscape! Zebragrass also has a nice upright habit that looks great in the perennial border. Miscanthus is one of the most prized of ornamental grasses, and one particular cultivar, 'Morning Light', sums up much of its appeal: This grass is stunning when backlit by the sun, either rising or setting.

Statuesque Miscanthus sinensis 'Strictus' makes dense clumps of arching grassy foliage in an assortment of widths, decoration, and fineness, according to variety. Erect, dramatic plumes of flower spikelets rise among the leaves or well above them and last beautifully through the winter. Site miscanthus with good drainage and plenty of space in sun or light shade.

Special Features: Boldly colored foliage, Flowers,Attractive Foliage,Fall Color,Winter Interest,Cut Flowers,Dried Flowers,Attracts Birds,Drought Tolerant,Deer Resistant,Easy to Grow

Purple Moorgrass

Backlit by a late-afternoon autumn sun or dotted with raindrops after a shower, the tall, delicate flower panicles of moorgrass are spectacular. Tall varieties are bold in larger landscapes, while shorter ones are in scale with smaller gardens. The dense tufts of arching leaves are handsome from spring through summer and have good fall color. Moorgrass prefers some shade in the South, but elsewhere full sun is appreciated. Mass plants on a large scale for additional impact.

At home in a bountiful border, variegated purple Moor grassMolinia caerulea gilds its companion frothy blue 'Worcester Gold' caryopteris. Best in sun, winter-hardy Moor grass clumps compete well with tree and shrub roots and yield purple-blushed flower heads in summer.

Special Features:  Bold shape, good fall color, and tolerates part shade.Attractive Flowers,Attractive Foliage,Fall Color,Cut Flowers,Dried Flowers,Attracts Birds,Drought Tolerant,Deer Resistant,Easy to Grow 


Hairgrass, Deschampsia cespitosais an evergreen (depending on climate) grass with airy plumes in shades of golden, silver, purple, and green. The plant has an attractive, e mounding habit, as well. Tufted hairgrass gets its name from the fine, hairlike flowers that rise about the plant. They emerge green and turn shades of gold, forming clouds that look like a beautiful, unruly head of golden hair. A native to damp woods, bogs, and streamsides, tufted hairgrass prefers a cool spot in partial shade.

Special Features:Tolerates wet soil and part shade, Attractive Flowers, Attractive Fall Foliage, Dried Flowers,Attracts Birds, , Drought Tolerant, Deer Resistant,Easy to Grow

Partial reprint



Plow & Hearth


Tags: Feather Reedgrass, Fountaingrass, Blue Oatgrass, Flowers,Attractive Foliage,Fall Color,Winter Interest,Cut Flowers,Dried Flowers,Attracts Birds,Drought Tolerant,Deer Resistant,Easy to Grow, Zebragrass, Hairgrass, cottage garden

Popular posts from this blog

The Best Perennial Plants for Cottage Gardens

Choosing the best plants for your style of gtardening takes some time and thought process. If you have an informal garden then perhaps the cottage mix would work well for you,  I like perennials not only because you only have to plant once, but because they put on a magnificient showy display year after year with very little pruning or maintenance.  You get more bang for the buck.The best perennials plants for your particular garden should include a mix of short, medium and tall plants that bloom early, mid season and late season.  I encourage gardeners to plant lots of white perennials to contrast the bold riotous colors from the rest of the perennials.
I have listed a few of my favorites, which does not include the entire range and selection of perennials.   drop me a cmment and let me know your favorites.

 Hollyhocks are by far my favorite cottage garden plant.  The height brings your eyes up to view the blossoms and gently guides you to view the trees, the sky, the birds flying in m…

7 Steps to Creating a Quaint English Garden

Plan a Cottage garden today and enjoy a spring floral show. Planning a Cottage Garden does not take a lot of work, but will take any inspiration and creativity. A Garden Cottage is whimsical and naturalistic, and it speaks to you, “Come, stroll, stay awhile.”

A good cottage garden plan will incorporate many elements, including a butterfly garden, a small water feature, curved paths, quiet sitting areas, seasonal plants and a herb garden. Cottage Garden’s tend to clutter plants, and they have a burst of color from traditional cottage garden plants, hollyhocks, foxglove, four o’clock, delphiniums, daisies, coneflowers, Echinaceas and last but certainly not least is the lovely roses.

The first steps in planning your cottage gardens are listed below:

1. Make a list of the elements and ideas you want in your cottage garden and draw your cottage garden on paper (it is easier to erase than transplant)  2. Make a list of trees, plants and seasonal plants to buy  3. Garden by thirds, evergreens, de…

Garden Design Basics