Spotted recently via our friends at Sunset Magazine: a list of must-have hardy grasses to plant now. Why? They're drought resistant, prevent erosion, and provide year round color and texture in a garden. Here are five of our favorites:
Above: Oryzopsis hymenoides (common name: Indian Rice Grass), a hardy North American native, re-seeds itself and is an important food source for birds and other wildlife, who eat its seeds. A pound of seeds is $10.50 from Plants of the Southwest. Photograph by Reno Mogen David via Flickr.
Above: Here's a planting scheme that illustrates how easily the low, mounded form of mist-colored Festuca glauca 'Elijah Blue' (C) complements other gray-leafed and purple flowering plants, such as Lamb's Ear (L) and Geranium Johnson's Blue (R). Photograph via A2ZMom. A compact, blue grass, 'Elijah Blue' is $8.95 per plant from Bluestone Perennials.
Above: To see how planting large swaths of grasses can stabilize a steep hillside, see "The Landscape Architect is In: Drought Tolerant, Deer Resistant, and on a Budget in Berkeley."
Above: New Zealand Wind Grass (Anemanthele lessoniana) is a hardy grass that tolerates sun or shade and provides a winter food source for birds. A plant in a 4-inch pot is $6.95 from Annie's Annuals. Photograph by Scott Weber via Flickr.
Above: Pennisetum orientale 'Tall Tails' is one of 80 or so species of fountain grass; in late summer, this compact grass sprouts fuzzy pink blooms. It's $8.95 per plant from Plant Delights. Photograph via Digging Dog.
Above: In Los Angeles, Grow Outdoor Design created a walkway bordered by gravel and decomposed granite, which makes a nice crunchy sound—and feels good—underfoot. Alongside the path grows small cape rush (Chondropetalum tectorum) and also deergrass (Muhlenbergia rigens). Image via Grow Outdoor Design.
N.B. This is an update of a post that originally published on November 6, 2012.
To see how superstar landscape architect Piet Oudolf created dreamy drifts of grasses at home, adjacent to his farmhouse in the Netherlands, see "Steal This Look: Piet Oudolf's Private Garden."