Consideration of container gardening is often popular in the winter, because it’s one way to extend the Minnesota growing season. Containers – especially those on wheels – have the advantage of being movable to sheltered or warmer spot when the temps dip, and often they can be brought indoors to enjoy their beauty long after it’s too cold to leave them outdoors. One planting to consider for containers is grass.
Grasses have become increasingly popular in Midwest gardens and across the US. They are consistently used for fillers in garden plantings, as backdrops for annuals and perennials, and living walls or barriers from the neighboring yards. Now grasses are also becoming a major component for container plantings. They offer textures, colors and are practically indestructible compared to their annual cousins. They can be tall, short, delicate, robust, and bold so there is something for every gardener in grasses. They can be used in a multitude of ways.
If you are looking for a bold statement, try using a cobalt blue planter and some grasses. Or combine grasses with colorful foliage plants. For example, you can plant Hakone grasses, which are chartreuse, with some orange, red, or purple coleus. Adding an accent of the all time garden favorite Elephant’s Ear in an unusual color of purple will really make this container stand out. The difference between this planter and one full of annuals is that with grasses you get a lot of movement. The Elephant’s Ear will also move with the breeze evoking a sense of life.
If you place some pots with grasses it can be a dramatic statement that softens a large limestone or rock wall. Try using some pots that are silver colored to contrast and plant them with Switchgrass. This grass can grow four to six feet tall. It has a feathery inflorescence in late summer. The blades are fine and are blue-green most of the time. But they can turn deep red or purple in the fall with glossy red seeds.
Bamboo simply planted by itself in an earthy colored pot can evoke a feeling of grace and simplicity. This planting is dramatic in that the bamboo is making a statement as the solo plant. Containers planted with grasses can make dramatic statements in your garden that will last all summer and into the fall.
Container plantings can help transform your yard in ways you may not have considered. They are also a versatile way to bring color and pizzazz to sections of your landscape which don’t have the space for a garden bed.