Steele: Planting ornamental grasses

This week is about ornamental grasses and long-blooming, pollinator plants.

Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’

I will focus my columns over the next four weeks on plant combination ideas for different garden themes, using plants available for purchase at the upcoming Okanagan Xeriscape Association’s plant sale, April 30, 9 a.m. to noon, at the unH2O Garden, 4075 Gordon Dr., in front of the H2O Aquatic Centre.

This week is about ornamental grasses and long-blooming, pollinator plants. All plants mentioned here need some supplemental water during hot, dry weather.

Ornamental grasses are one of the lowest maintenance plants, requiring only to be cut down to four to six inches above ground by spring.

There are two types of grasses. Cool season grasses like feather reed grass (Calamagrostis Karl Foerster) come up early in spring and bloom early summer. Warm season grasses like switch grass (Panicum) emerge later in spring and bloom at the end of summer/early fall.

Both reach four to five feet when in bloom.

Blue gramma grass (Bouteloua gracilis) is an attractive, fine-textured, short grass that blooms in June.

All are clump-forming.

Always check the species of grass you are buying to make sure it is not a running grass, like sand dune grass or ribbon grass. These are useful for erosion control but a weedy nightmare in a garden.

With its grass-like leaves, the dwarf, long-blooming daylily ‘Stella de Oro’ is a good compliment to grasses.

Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ and Echinacea ‘Magnus’ are sturdy, long-blooming perennials that add a colourful accent to grasses.

Their black seed heads add interest to the winter garden and food for birds.

For early spring colour in this garden, I suggest you use spring bulbs.

Snowdrops, winter aconite, crocus, grape hyacinth to early, mid, and late narcissus will provide a very colourful spring garden.

The dying bulb foliage will be hidden by the emerging perennials and grasses.

Dwarf tulips with variegated leaves look great for long before and after they bloom. They are deer candy so avoid if you have deer visitors.

Dianthus ‘Brilliant’ is an evergreen spring bloomer with dark pink flowers in May. It can be used as a small ground cover.

In May and June, the soft yellow blooms of ‘Moonshine’ yarrow make a vivid combination with the purple/blue blooms of either Salvia ‘Caradonna’ or Salvia ‘East Friesland’.

These all have a repeat bloom in late summer.

We will have a few pots of the rugosa roses ‘Hansa’ and ‘Blanc de Coubert.’ They bloom heavily in spring and fall and sporadically through summer.

***

There is still space to register for my two xeriscape night classes April 14 and 21 or  May 4 and 11, from 7 to 9 p.m., at the St. Michael and all Angels Cathedral Hall, 608 Sutherland Ave.

Cost is $50/ person or $90/couple from same household. Register at  okanaganxeriscape.org or call 250-762-6018.

Just Posted

Rockslide closes Coquihalla northbound

Highway 5 is closed in both directions according to DriveBC

Community Leader Awards: Sheila Gardiner-Watt

The Kelowna Capital News celebrates those in the community who go above and beyond

Mamas for Mamas founder survives with new lease on life

Kelowna’s Shannon Christensen escaped a dangerous situation and lived to tell about it

Announced this week in Kelowna

A listing of some of the events that were announced in the Kelowna area this week

Big White ski instructor named Top 10 in Canada

Big White’s Josh Foster has been selected for the Canadian Ski Instructors’ Alliance (CSIA) Interski team

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Philadelphia Eagles headed to Super Bowl

After routing the Minnesota Vikings 38-7, they will face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots

Heavy snowfall closes Mount Washington on Vancouver Island

Road to ski resort deemed unsafe, vehicles buried under more than three feet of snow

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

Letter: Site C figures not correct

Kelowna letter-writer raises questions about the Site C dam project

Letter: Site C opponents are whining

If native treaty rights are being disrespected, just who is disrespecting them?

Albas: Canada Jobs program being politicized

Conservative MP Dan Albas’ weekly column takes on the student summer job plan

Fuhr: Pension for Life is a commitment to veterans

Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr talks about his government’s commitment to veterans

Most Read