I love Calamagrostis, or Feather Reed-grass as it’s commonly known, it’s one of my favourite grasses.
It’s architectural, soft, structural, contemporary, naturalistic and low maintenance, all at the same time! Planted en-masse it looks spectacular, especially with the sun behind it so that the flower heads catch the light as it moves.
It’s a brilliant grass for small gardens because it’s very well behaved. Its tall and narrow flower stems are strong and grow straight up to between 1-1.5m, depending on the variety.
When the flowers fade in late summer, it takes on a different colour, but the structure and shape remain the same and it can be left over winter, looking fabulous when the frosts arrive.
When spring arrives again the flower stems can be cut down, ready for the arrival of the fresh new growth. And then the process starts again.
It’s versatile too – it can be used in formal town gardens and contemporary spaces as well as less formal gardens that have lots of space.
The most common variety is Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ which grows to 1.5m but for smaller gardens I tend to use Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Overdam’ which is slightly shorter at 1-1.2m and also has the added interested of a variegated leaf.
(Images: Lisa Cox)