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Ornamental Grasses - Advice

AllezAllez Posts: 4
Hi All,

I'm looking to build up some beds (cottage garden feel) around the kids trampoline which is currently slightly buried into the ground and has pebbles underneath on top of membrane to stop the lawn coming back through.

The issue that's driving me crazy is the horrendous frame, so the plan of action is to dig out a full circle border (probably around 30-60cm deep) around it, to be planted with grasses to about 1-1.5m tall to hide the steel legs.

Does anybody have recommendations for options around this height that will spread slightly but in quite a narrow horizontal line? I don't want anything to clump outwards too much, (although i don't mind thinning it) or something that's going to try and take over.

Might be barking up the wrong tree though and be better off with something that hedges or is quite dense at the foot. But i want it to be evergreen hence the grass thought, and like the idea of some movement and texture to take the eye away from the 12ft black net!
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  • Calamagrostis acutiflora 'Karl Foerster' would be ideal. It's really upright, nice and tall, but stays pretty narrow. I've had some in a few years and they've not broadened beyond about 60cm yet. Also pretty easy to divide and replant if they do get a bit too wide.
  • Oh, but not quite evergreen. Will turn a beautiful buff in the autumn, then stands really well over winter. You'll have a month or so after you give it a february haircut before it looks like much again, but by early summer it'll be flowering and tall again.
  • AllezAllez Posts: 4
    Calamagrostis acutiflora 'Karl Foerster' would be ideal. It's really upright, nice and tall, but stays pretty narrow. I've had some in a few years and they've not broadened beyond about 60cm yet. Also pretty easy to divide and replant if they do get a bit too wide.
    Have just been looking at that and was hoping that was going to be a suggestion. I'm always really dubious of the "spread (cm)" info on growers websites so good to get some first hand info! Thanks Charlotte!
  • It bulked out quickly in the first couple of seasons from the 9cm pots I planted from, but that's probably what you want for some quick hiding. Certainly doesn't seem to want to take over the world now it's established.
  • PlantmindedPlantminded WirralPosts: 91
    @CharlotteF's recommendation is perfect for you!  It is a very well behaved grass and gives interest throughout the year.   It will light up your garden in winter when the faded flower heads catch and reflect any winter sun, quite dramatically!  Just cut it down to ground level in late winter before the fresh green shoots emerge and your screen will return quickly.
    "Gardening adds years to your life and life to your years."  Anon.
  • AllezAllez Posts: 4
    Thanks @Plantminded, appreciate the feedback!
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 39,649
    There aren't really any sizeable grasses which are evergreen, and most of them don't get to much height until summer, so you won't have much of a screen earlier in the year. Are you sure you only want grasses?
    Some of them are also very rough to the touch.

    It also depends whereabouts you live, the soil and climate, as to the sizes and spreads - like with any plant. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 6,560
    edited 15 September
    Agree with fairy,(natch) grasses are definitely not a cottage garden look anyway they are prairie. Molinia caerulea is beautiful,miscathus,anemanthele lessoniana.you could bury it completely,put it somewhere not so  visible, screen plant in front of it, or not worry
     My grandkids don't use theirs anymore,it's on the patio,bang outside the patio doors
  • AllezAllez Posts: 4
    I’m in South Wales, beds are neutral, Sun morning until 2. Don’t want to bury it or use a screen and it can’t be moved so need to hide it in the planting. Any suggestions on something more cottage garden esque? Evergreen isn’t essential but want something that will give interest for as long as possible.
  • PlantmindedPlantminded WirralPosts: 91
    Hi @Allez, I agree that grasses have not been part of the traditional cottage garden, but there is now a modern approach used in today's gardens which can include grasses.  Take a look at this link for other colourful options to include with your grasses - they are less labour intensive than traditional cottage garden plants and will give you a colourful cottage garden feel.  Don't be put off - the recommended Calamagrostis bounces back very quickly after its annual prune, you will only be without interest for three or four weeks.  It doesn't have sharp edges like some grasses so it will be safe for your children.  Enjoy your planning and planting!  Top 10 plants for a modern cottage garden - David Domoney
    "Gardening adds years to your life and life to your years."  Anon.
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