Ornamental Grasses in the Garden

Ornamental grasses have become increasingly popular over recent years. They provide a wide array of functions in gardens and landscapes. They can be used as backdrops, borders, screens, accents, ground cover, and erosion control. There are hundreds to choose from with different heights, colors, and textures. Some are grown for their plumes while others are grown for their foliage and form. They come in many forms from low-growing and spreading to large clumps. Most ornamental grasses bloom late summer into fall and can provide beautiful late-season color and many offer year-round interest. There are ornamental grasses available to fit the needs of any garden! Short Grasses: Under 2’ Short clumping grasses make excellent border & sidewalk plants, while shorter spreading grasses work well in mass-plantings as ground-covers. Short grasses also standout in rock garden plantings and in planters. Some of our favorite shorter grasses include Blue Fescue, Blue Oat Grass, Tuft Hair Grass, and sedges like Ice Dance. Some good companion plants with short grasses include lavender and bell flowers. Medium Grasses: 2’-4’ Mid-sized grasses work well in perennial borders, as accents among shrubs and perennials and should also be considered for screens. Some of our favorite mid-sized grasses include Switch Grasses, some of the Maiden Grasses, Little Blue Stem and Karl Foerster Grass. Mid-sized grasses pair nicely with daylilies, Coreopsis and Liatris. Tall Grasses: 5’+ Tall grasses add a nice vertical element to landscapes. There are some ornamental grasses that will grow up to 15’ tall. Of the tall grasses, Pampas grass is probably the most well-known. Unfortunately, it is not hardy in this area, so some nice...

A New Kind of Rhodo…

New Rhododendrons varieties have hit the Canadian and American markets that are hardier than any that have come before. They hail from Finland, which can have long, cold and wet winters that rival what we have here in West Michigan. Around 1935 a dendrologist named Carl Gustaf Tigerstedt from the Arboretum Mustila (just east of Helsinki) made a trip to the mountains of Northern Japan and Korea and brought back some seeds for the arboretums collection. In his collection were some Rhododendron seeds that were never identified. They grew and survived for decades in Finland’s harsh winters. In 1970 when Carl’s son Peter took over the collection, he realized the significance of having the only species of Rhododendrons to survive in the area. Peter discovered the name of this particular species and named a class of sub-species after his father (Rhododendron brachycarpum tigerstedtii). Throughout the 70’s and 80’s Peter hybridized the sub-species with other Rhododendron species (R. smirnowii, R. metternichii, and North America’s R. catawbiense) to come up with several new varieties. They ended up with over 22,000 hybrid seedlings and planted them in the arboretum and throughout Finland in collaboration with the Helsinki Parks Division and allowed the harsh Finnish winters to select which species to study further. From the thousands of seedlings only 80 were chosen and of those only 9 have been chosen as the best of the best. They have withstood long, wet, cold winters, even winters that have reached -49°F. For the past few years, at Knapp Valley we have retailed ‘Haaga’ and ‘Helsinki University’ with great success. They tend to have waxier leaves...

The Allure of Lilacs

I have always loved lilacs, so much that when they come into bloom I fill my house with bouquets in every room. The blooming time can vary between Lilac varieties; as a result you can find lilacs blooming from the end of April to the end of May depending on the weather. The beauty of the blossom combined with the sweet fragrance has made the lilac an old time favorite in the spring garden for centuries. The common lilac (Syringa vulgaris) is the most popular and comes in many varieties.  Of those the most famous are the French hybrids. Some of our favorites at Knapp Valley include Sensation, Charles Joly and Monge. Hybrid lilacs can sometimes lose some of the fragrance but keep the beautiful blossom. I for one want it all, the fragrance and the blooms. The Beauty of Moscow Lilac has it all. This lovely hybrid features large, white double flowers with a hint of pink and are very fragrant. In addition to common lilacs, there are dwarf lilacs and tree lilacs. Some dwarf varieties include the Dwarf Korean Lilac and the Miss Kim Lilac. They are still showy and fragrant but are smaller in stature. Tree Lilacs can be used in the landscape for hedges, screens or as shade for your patio. Tree forms such as China Snow Peking Lilac or Japanese Tree Lilac are great ornamental trees for the landscape. Lilacs can be kept trimmed for a uniform look or left to grow free for a natural look. Be careful as to when you prune your lilacs, the best time is right after they are...

Ornamental Grasses

Grasses are useful in your home as well as your outdoor landscaping. They are low maintenance and their foliage contrasts well with tropicals, annuals and perennials. Heights of these magnificent plants can range from 10 inches to 10 feet. Most grasses are very hardy and provide a year around display. Grasses prefer well drained soil and do best if they are mulched before the colder winter months. A little extra mulch will insure vigorous growth in the spring. Taller grasses should be cut back to 4-6 inches early in the spring to promote new growth and a fresh...

Herb Bowls… Now at Knapp Valley!

Add some flair to your recipes with Herb Bowls from Trillium Haven Farms… Kitchen Favorites Basil Chives Oregano Thyme Basil Sampler Genovese Thai Cuban Amethyst Tea Garden Peppermint Stevia Lemon Verbena Calendula Lavender International Lemon Grass Cuban Basil Lemon Thyme Vietnamese Coriander Curry Color Bowl Swiss Chard Dill Sage Amethyst Basil Nasturtium Herbes de Provence Savory Fennel Basil Thyme Lavender We also have individual herbs if you would like to plant your own herb...
UA-78957805-1