This picture could have been taken at any time during the last 3 months ( October, November, December), or the next 2 months (February, March). The subject matter is dead grass. (At least they look dead, but are very much alive below ground.)
Miscanthus, Hordeum, Festuca, Pennisetum, to name a few, are all spectacular from late summer, with their ripened seed heads, and straw coloured foliage. But beyond the late summer and well into the winter, many grass varieties still have value in the garden; as can be seen above.
From as early as July onwards - even earlier with some grasses - grasses such as the Miscanthus, Hordeum and Molinia, start to show off their flower heads - soon top be followed by the spectacular sight of the ripening seedheads - and to all intents and purposes being dead. Far from it!.
Think carefully where you plant any of the grasses, for the position will have much to do with how well you can enjoy your plants throughout the year. The graceful stems and arching foliage are nearly always best when sunlit - especially with the early morning or evening sunshine. (It does happen!)
The list of grasses that have spectacular seed heads when dead (!) that can be used for Autumn and winter colour is endless, but will include Miscanthus varieties, Hordeum, Molinia, Calamagrostis, Stipa, Briza, Pennisetum and Melica - sometimes wrongly spelled Melisa. Almost any variety of the above grasses will give the desired Autumn and winter colour effect when 'dead' above ground level.
Leave the seedhead stalk of the dead grasses on the plant right through until the spring growth starts, then simply cut them down to ground level.
Plant them in full light for maximum winter effect of the seedheads. They might look dead - but are alive with colour, and simply resting below ground.
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