Evergreen ornamental grasses.

melis_689July 31, 2007

Hi. I'm looking for some ornamental grass suggestions. I have two Japanese trees that are red (Bloodgoods), and I would love to plant some bright green grasses under and around them. I want something that will have winter appeal. I would love any suggestions of (grasses or smaller shrubs) with a Japanese Garden feel that look good in the winter. Thank you.

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Grasses are a bit difficult to work with a Japanese Maple. I'm not Japanese, and don't spend a great deal of time studying books on the subject, but I have put together a lot of plant combinations and find that smaller grasses work OK, but larger ones look out of place or make the JM look out of place.

Depending on the form and placement of your maple, the terrain and what is around it, there are lots of small evergreens that work very well.

Lots of smaller creeping junipers work well - green mound (often called Japanese garden juniper), blue pacific, and blue star are a few. Winter creeper euonymus works well such as emerald'n'gold or emerald gaiety. Some dwarf rhododendronds like Impedetum work. I used a nice dwarf Jap. andromeda (cavetine)with one this spring. You could get away with small grasses like blue fescue, if you have enough going on around the maple.

Goldthread cypress works. Also smaller japanese hollies.

I hope that helps.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2007 at 5:40PM
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Good point on the tall grasses. Thank you for your advice. I looked up your suggestions and I like them. Somebody in another section mentioned some low evergreen mounds and I think that is good advice. Thank you for helping me.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2007 at 5:50PM
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Cytania(UK Midlands)

Hi Melis, I've tried to get various grasses to work in my garden but in the end had to phase them out. Although Japan has some wonderful miscanthus type grass in it's landscapes they are rarely incorportated in gardens.

I'm sure a strong arrangement could be made using rocks and one strong grass variety but my personal take is that grass is one foliage type too many, once you have bamboo, strappy leaves and clipped bushes. Too cluttering to be calm.

Acer's often benefit from a low rock below their branches, as a sort of balancing anchor to the airiness of the leaves. 1aag's green mound ties in with this as the mound can imitate a rock. A real rock and mound growing into it are good too.

The main thing is not to look for a secondary focus to distract from the bare Acer in Winter but to provide a backdrop against which it's empty branches look inspiring.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 9:25AM
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Thank you for the advice. I finished it, for now, this weekend. I only used two grasses (same type) and they aren't directly around my maples. They are a small mounding Japanese grass. I planted the maples on a mound and used rocks around it. The rocks are built into the mound. I used a dark green mossy ground cover around the trees and that is it. This is a fairly big area in front of my house, so I wanted to add somethings that would have winter interest.
I probably over did it. I have a tendency to do that.

I will post a picture soon

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 10:16AM
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