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: To see how superstar landscape architect Piet Oudolf created dreamy drifts of grasses at home, adjacent t to his farmhouse in the Netherlands, see "Steal This Look: Piet Oudolf's Private Garden.")