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Five grasses for a striking winter border

13 January 2017

These impressive grasses look beautiful on a frosty morning, proving that planning your border for winter pays off.

Winter grass border
Ashwood Nurseries grass border at winter.

The grass border at Ashwood Nurseries in the West Midlands is left uncut until spring (apart from the odd tidying up of debris) so that the frosted silhouettes glow in the low light. They eventually cut back the old stems before new growth emerges, cutting as low as possible and then raking out the old stems or removing them by hand – wearing gloves, of course!

1. Pony tail grass

Stipa tenuissima

Great low-maintenance ground cover, this is a fast-growing deciduous grass that reaches 60cm (24in). Particularly softly textured and tactile.

2. Pheasant’s tail grass

Stipa arundinacea

Easy clump-forming evergreen up to 76cm (30in) tall. Will grow in most soils except wet – very useful as it copes with dry shade.

3. Orange sedge

Carex testacea

Handsome, loose clumping sedge with arching habit. It colours up beautifully in autumn when grown in full sun. Reaches 60cm (24in).

4. Feather reed grass

Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’

One of the most popular grasses, and deservedly so, reaching a dramatic 1.8m (6ft) with feathery purplish tinged flowers.

5. Fountain grass

Pennisetum alopecuroides

Lovely bottlebrush flowers on gently arched stems to 45cm (18in). Needs good drainage and sun in colder areas.

Winter border

Give your garden a makeover and save money at the same time with a special Thompson and Morgan offer of 10% off.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.