Now that winter is here – finally – we can think in terms of winter. Now is the time to look around at your garden, at gardens of others, in parks, around commercial buildings – anywhere you see plants that catch your eye. We need to plant in the growing season with winter in mind.
Ornamental grasses have become one of my favorite perennials since they offer so much – for such a long time. You cut these down in the late winter – early spring depending on the weather – and they then start their new growing season. After 6-8 weeks – you will again see your ornamental grass and you will be enjoying it for 10 months! Amazing for perennials in Minnesota!
‘Karl Foerster’ – officially known as Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ is a stunning example of ornamental grasses. This grass will reach a height of approximately 5′ once the blooms come out in mid-summer. The spread is only about 2 feet in diameter. The blooms are a soft beige tone and once opened up – will be almost white and feathery. We have found this grass to have excellent standability after snows here in Minnesota, bouncing back to continue to delight the gardener.
They make excellent background plants with shorter perennials in the foreground and also can provide a natural fence of sorts. Tolerating partial shade – reed grasses tend to flop and bloom less if not in full sun. This variety of ornamental grass will adapt to moister soil conditions but do best planted in well drained soil conditions. Karl Foerster was named the perennial of the year in 2001 by the Perennial Plant Association. To be selected as perennial of the year, a plant has to demonstrate the ability to grow in a wide variety of situations, multi-steason interest, availability and more!
This picture was taken in our meadow last winter. You can see the beauty of the grass against the snow, and beyond is our collection of dogwood and flame willow with their red to orange stems giving the winter landscape a pop of color! We’ll have ‘Karl Foerster’ available come spring! Start making your wish list now!
Visit our Perennial Plant List on our Plant Page to see a listing of all of the perennials we’ll have available this year!