The Q&A Archives: Complimentary plants to grasses

Question: We are new owners of an old farm house and cottage on a large creek and have put grasses and daylillies on the cascading hills down towards the creek, for a very natural feel. Two maiden hair grasses are on either side of the steps at the front of the house. What can we use with that around the front of the house and side? We have used lots of creekstone to make a nice entrance wall (as you cross over a small bridge) and for steps up to the porch. What compliments grasses and gives something nice for a winter scene in a small area around the front of the house? Thank you.

Answer: Maiden grass is particularly lovely with stately upright shrubs such as the white Diana Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus `Diana`), the soft-gray and purple Harlequin Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii `Harlequin`) and the bronze accent foliage of Sparkle Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii `Sparkle`). It also combines very well with bushy dryland perennials like Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia). If the area is too small for these shrubs, consider dwarf cultivars. For potent color accents, use a combination of the lilac-hued Illini Charm Siberian Iris (Iris sibirica Illini Charm) and the cobalt blue Bennerup Blue Siberian Iris (Iris sibirica Bennerup Blue).

Best wishes with your new home and your new landscape.

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