Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Big or Small, Grasses for All

Fall is my favorite time of year for many reasons, but from a landscape perspective, I always love the various colors and textures that ornamental grasses add to the landscape.  There really isn't an ornamental grass I don't like for one reason or another. Whether it is the graceful arching habit and various colors of reliable plumes from Maidengrass, or the great variety of fall colors we get from Switchgrass and Little Bluestem varieties, or the great golden color of most dormant grasses through the winter, grasses are a must in the landscape.

For 2016, Loma Vista is adding more varieties of ornamental grasses to our already great lineup of varieties to give you more options for your customers.

Switchgrasses are probably my favorite ornamental grasses, and with the addition of Thundercloud and Cloud Nine, we now have the large switchgrass category covered! 

Cloud Nine Switchgrass

Cloud Nine is a larger version of Northwind, with its blue-grey wide-blade foliage, and will tower above most ornamental grasses at 8-feet tall at maturity.  Great golden fall and winter color and a loose vase form.

Panicum Thundercloud

Thundercloud, which is a cross between Cloud Nine and Northwind, is similar in stature to Cloud Nine, but has slightly greener foliage than Cloud Nine, tighter upright vase form, resists flopping with wind or rain load, and has a heavier panicle production in the fall for a better show.

Stepping down in size, and to give you more options for smaller ornamental grasses, the new lineup will include Beyond Blue Fescue, Blonde Ambition Grama and Bowles Golden Sedge.

Festuca Beyond Blue
Festuca glauca 'Casca11' otherwise known as Beyond Blue Fescue, is a short 12-18" mounding cool season ornamental grass that is fine-textured with intense steel-blue foliage.  Tolerant of heat, humidity, poor soils and drought, this small grass makes a great groundcover, border mass, mixed planting change of color, or container thriller.  Known as Intense Blue Fescue in Europe.

Carex Bowles Golden
Carex elata 'Aurea' or Bowles Golden Sedge is a cool season variegated grassy foliage plant that is well suited for moist or wet areas in sun or shade.  It will actually take up to 3-inches of standing water, but it will also tolerate slightly drier soils in the shade, making it a widely adaptable selection.  The bright yellow foliage color is best in full sun.  This 24" x 24" grass is great in containers or in the landscape in massings.

Bouteloua Blonde Ambition
Lastly, Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition' or Blonde Ambition Blue Grama Grass is most noticeable in the fall when it is covered with an incredible amount of golden seed heads that are lateral and dance in the wind.  This warm season grass that matures to 12" tall and 32" with the seed heads is very tolerant of dry sites with poor soil and can handle drought where it outperforms most other grasses. It is best used in massings in naturalistic plantings, or as a lawn replacement.

Consider adding these or any of our other ornamental grasses to your spring order.  And for your larger projects that require big numbers of grasses, consider allowing us to contract grow the varieties and quantities you need to ensure you get what you need when you need it to make your project even that much more successful!

Chad Weinand, Business Development, Loma Vista Nursery

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