Summer is here bringing the telltale colors of the season and with it the intense triple digit heat. Join us on our FREE tour Friday August 12th at 1pm, meet inside our visitor’s center as we journey out to explore the gardens various, and unique grasses. Oklahoma has many unique and native grasses which make excellent choices for the garden landscape. Many are very drought tolerant, and have unique varieties further expanding their ornamental value.
Can’t make this walk? Join us Saturday, August 27, 10am. Meet in the Visitor Lobby. This is a free event that is wheelchair and stroller friendly.
Botanical Name: Bouteloua curtipendula
This grass is native to most of North America, and is able to thrive in the driest garden situations you can think of. Sideoats grama grows to a very manageable height of two to three feet and stays in tidy clumps. Because of its small, neat dimensions, it’s easy to interplant among nearly any perennial flowers in your garden to add a soft cloud of texture. Its airy inflorescence appears in mid-summer. The younger flowers have a tinge of purple with little bits of orange. The individual flowers dangle all on one side of the stem.
Botanical Name: Andropogon girardii ‘Lord Snowden’
‘Lord Snowden’ Big Bluestem is a great ornamental grass for several season’s worth of interest featuring powdery blue foliage and seed heads. It’s clumping growth habit and tall, straight pattern makes it an attractive grass through the summer where it can reach between four to six feet tall. Being a native tall grass, it does well in drought and poor soil, establishing slowly but strongly. Its extensive root system makes it a good candidate for erosion control.
Botanical Name: Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Hameln’
This dwarf fountain grass is highlighted by fluffy, buff-colored plumes arching above the foliage. It blooms summer through the fall. It creates a terrific contrast when used among shrubs or as a backdrop in a perennial bed. The foliage turns golden-russet in the fall. Full sun is preferred.
Botanical Name: Schizarchyrium scoparium
Schizachyrium scoparium, commonly called little bluestem, is one of the dominant grasses of the tallgrass prairie. It forms upright clumps of slender green leaves with a tinge of blue at the base. In August, purplish-bronze flowers appear in 3″ long racemes on branched stems rising above the foliage. Attractive clusters of fluffy, silvery-white seed heads appear after the flowers, and may persist into winter. Most outstanding feature of this grass may be the bronze-orange fall foliage color.
Botanical Name: Bouteloua gracilis ‘Blond Ambition’
Blue grama, an Oklahoma native plant, is an easy to grow, small ornamental grass. ‘Blonde Ambition’ stays a very tame two and a half foot high with a one and a half foot spread. It bears a multitude of flowers that resemble little combs that persist from late summer through the winter, providing cool-season interest. This cultivar has proven to be very cold-hardy and is certain to return each year in central Oklahoma.
Botanical Name: Andropogon gerardii ‘Red October’
‘Red October’ Big Bluestem is a great ornamental grass for several season’s worth of interest. Its clumping growth habit and tall, straight pattern makes it an attractive grass through the summer where it can reach between four to six feet tall. By late summer into fall, it begins to change color and sends off burgundy-red seed heads that resemble turkey’s feet as they mature. By late fall, the foliage turns a purplish red and then to scarlet after its first frost. Being a native tall grass, it does well in drought and poor soil, establishing slowly but strongly. Its extensive root system makes it a good candidate for erosion control.
Botanical Name: Miscanthus sinensis ‘Varigatum’
This grass is a classic choice for your landscape. The variegated miscanthus has creamy stripes of color all along their wide and long, arching leaves. Its growth is tidy and stays in a tame clump, but can quickly reach a width of three or more feet in a few years. With its flowers, the height can be close to six feet. Maiden Grass flowers in late summer or early fall; the flowers have a tassel-like appearance and a silvery shine. The inflorescence matures to a fuzzy plume that persists for many month providing winter interest. Plant this grass to provide height and all-season color.
Botanical Name: Sporobolus heterolepis
Prairie dropseed is a clump-forming, warm season, Missouri native perennial grass which occurs in prairies, glades, open ground and along railroads throughout much of the State. Fine-textured, hair-like, medium green leaves (to 20″ long and 1/16″ wide) typically form an arching foliage mound to 15″ tall and 18″ wide. Foliage turns golden with orange hues in fall, fading to light bronze in winter. Open, branching flower panicles appear on slender stems which rise well above the foliage clump in late summer to 30-36″ tall. Flowers have pink and brown tints, but are perhaps most noted for their unique fragrance (hints of coriander) Which attracts many birds. Tiny rounded mature seeds drop to the ground from their hulls in autumn giving rise to the descriptive common name.self-seed in the garden
Botanical Name: Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’
Feather reed grass is one of the first grasses to start growing in the spring, which is an asset in areas with a short growing season. The blossoms are held straight up and change color through the season, remaining on the plant until winter snow brings them down. The seeds are sterile, which means the plant won’t self-seed and become a nuisance.
Botanical Name: Chasmanthium latifolium
This grass is perhaps most distinguished by the flat, drooping seed heads which hang in terminal clusters on thread-like pedicils from slightly arching stems. Seed heads emerge green but turn purplish bronze by late summer, and will flutter even in a soft breeze. Its bright green leaves turn a coppery color after frost and eventually brown by winter. It can grow up to 4 feet tall, but 2 feet is typical in the garden. Sea oats grow naturally along river and stream banks and grow well in full shade or full sun
Botanical Name: Nassella tenuissima
The thread-like foliage and feathery golden blooms of Mexican feather grass billow and sway gracefully in even the slightest breeze. It may look delicate, but this grass is tough and requires very little water once established. It is especially beautiful when planted in large groupings.
Botanical Name: Andropogon gerardii ‘Blackhawks’
‘Blackhawks’ Big Bluestem is a great ornamental grass for several season’s worth of interest. As another Andropogon with a straight pattern and tall growth habit, this makes it an attractive grass through the summer where it can reach between four to six feet tall. By late summer into fall, it begins to change color from a dark purple to nearly black. Being a native tall grass, it does well in drought and poor soil, establishing slowly but strongly. Its extensive root system makes it a good candidate for erosion control.