Ornamental grasses have enjoyed a huge surge in popularity over the last decade. Combined en masse with sturdy simple perennials to create “Prairie Plantings” or as a monoculture they give a bold modern look to plantings that is especially complimentary to modern houses with large windows and simple lines. Mixed with more traditional plantings, they can help borders carry on through autumn and winter. Whilst most prefer sunny open positions, there are some shady varieties such as Milium, Carex, Luzula, Deschampsia and Chasmanthium that are an excellent foil for ferns and other woodlanders. Finally, there are the coloured foliage types such as Festuca and Carex that can offer interesting foliage colours as well as texture.
Deciduous grasses should be cut down to the ground over winter as they disintegrate, many will persist well into the new year if not flattened by winter storms. Evergreen varieties should not be cut back, however it is useful to comb them through by hand to remove some of the thatch that builds up.