I Can Sing A Rainbow



I think now, at this time of year, is a good time to show you some of my grass collection, and some of the ways I use them in the garden. These photos are not current – they were taken earlier in the year, when I was tending to my pots, and this idea came to me then.

Scent is not my only love in the garden. I love the graceful movement that grasses give to a garden, with their wonderful light and airy texture, and their tactile qualities. So I have lots, and use them in many different ways.

I came up with the idea for my Rainbow pots, while admiring all the colour variations, you can get with grasses. Knowing there were many brightly coloured glazed pots available on the market, I thought, “Why not have a collection of cojloured grasses with complementary pots? They should look good lining the path against the wall, in the hot coloured Grass garden.” So here they are all in a row!

They don’t all actually sit in a row on our bench! They’re arranged in two groups either side.


This group are the hotter coloured pots….

GREEN – Miscanthus sinensis “Gold Bar”
YELLOW – Carex oshimensis “Evergold”
TERRACOTTA – Anemanthele lessoniana
RED – Imperata cylindrica rubra
BROWN – Uncinia rubra


….and the cooler pots.

PALE BLUE – Carex comans “Frosted Curls”
MID BLUE – Panicum virgatum “Heavy Metal”
DARK BLUE – Festuca glauca
BLACK – Ophiopogon planiscapus “Nigrescens” – which isn’t, in actual fact a grass, although it is frequently referred to as the black grass. It is a member of the lily family, also known as Lilyturf. But it has the same effect.

And so a collection of colourful grasses!

Having shown you Anemanthele in one of my pots, see what a difference some shade makes!


The Anemanthele on the left is so much more lush and green, growing in a pot in another, shadier part of the garden.

Another experiment I tried, which I think has worked extremely well for me, is using Hakonechloa macra to line a gravel path.


Here, it lines the gravel path adjacent to the garden wall, interspersed with boulders. Although it is a shade lover, it’s doing really well in this sunny position. I love the effect it creates here, en masse!

And to round up on a fun note –
– what better way to plant up an old, chimney pot?….


….or to skirt the base of an old, rusty water pump?….


….than our old faithful, Carex buchananii!

7 thoughts on “I Can Sing A Rainbow

    1. thelonggardenpath Post author

      Thank you! I thought it was a nice idea and it’s worked really well. They’re such versatile plants, that can be used in so many ways. Pots are only one way, but if you have the space, you can’t beat them in borders.

  1. Cathy

    Oh these are lovely, Ali – I really like that idea! I did once try out grasses amongst slate chippings but the chippings collected all sorts of detritus so I took everything up and now have very few grasses but it is something I want to remedy as many bloggers have shown them off to their advantage (the grasses, that is)

    1. thelonggardenpath Post author

      For me, the jury’s out re slate/gravel mulches. The theory says that weed suppressing membrane topped with gravel, is the labour saving way forward. I find it has its limitations. Great to start with, but woe betide if you want to make changes. Like you’ve found, the detritus bulids up, encouraging weed growth, and then the work begins again, this time harder than without the mulch in the first place. Apart from paths, I’ve abandoned that approach. As for grasses, please try again – they have so much to offer!

  2. Annette

    what an unusual and beautiful way of displaying the grasses – I love it! Although I quite fancy Anemanthele I don’t seem lucky in growing them…maybe in a pot?! The Hakonechloa look fab against the brick wall and show that less is more.

  3. thelonggardenpath Post author

    Thank you, Annette! That’s only one idea – there’s so much you can do with grasses. This is my second Anemanthele (divided). I did lose my first one. I’ve always grown it in pots. Hakonechloa, on the other hand, I grow in various parts of the garden, in the ground. It loves our shady situation, but I love it growing here, in this sunny site. A great effect!


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