Fall Has Arrived, Bring on the Grass

Celebrate Fall with Ornamental Grass Cultivars


Fall is a time to celebrate and enjoy the ornamental grasses, and a great deal of attention has been paid to developing cultivars with burgundy foliage in the late summer and fall.

It’s hard to believe that September has arrived. Just where did the summer go? Here in the high elevations and mountains of New Mexico, fall is in the air. The light has changed, with the sky turning bluer and clearer and the air getting drier and cooler. It was 50°F this morning in Santa Fe.

Of all the seasons, fall is my sentimental favorite. But yet, I’m not excited about the prospect of winter being just around the corner. For a nurseryman such as me, winter is a time of work and worry about the snow storms and keeping the greenhouses heated and safe from the elements. But I digress.

Fall is a time to celebrate and enjoy the ornamental grasses! I just love the combination of fall blooming perennials and the colorful foliage of our native shrubs in combination with the grasses. A real trend I see developing is the appreciation of our native ornamental grasses. For one thing, there has been an explosion of Prairie Switch Grass (Panicum) cultivars, such as Panicum virgatum Shenandoah (Shenandoah Switch Grass). A great deal of attention has been paid to developing cultivars with burgundy foliage in the late summer and fall.

But there’s more. There is a lovely blue-bladed Schizachyrium scoparium Prairie Blues. And our popular Bouteloua gracilis Blonde Ambition is in its full chartreuse glory at the moment. Soon the flowers will mature to blonde seed heads.

I can go on and on about all the new native genera from which I and other grass breeders and growers are finding to introduce for fall garden enjoyment. Actually, now that I think of it, winters are a lot more bearable when there are a lot of graceful grasses in your garden. Stay tuned as I will do my best to keep High Country gardeners up to date. And don't forget to keep your camera handy and take some ornamental grass photos to enter into one of our Photo Contests. Your image might appear in our catalog or on the website!

Text and Photos by David Salman.

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Browse Ornamental Grass

  • Los Lunas Form of Giant Sacaton Grass Sporobolus wrightii Windbreaker

    Starting at $10.99

    Sale: $9.34

    Per Plant - 3.25" deep pot

  • Blonde Ambition Blue Grama Grass Bouteloua gracilis Blonde Ambition PP#22,048

    Starting at $11.49

    Sale: $10.34

    Per Plant - 5" deep pot

  • White Cloud Muhly Grass Muhlenbergia capillaris White Cloud

    Starting at $11.99

    Sale: $10.79

    Per Plant - 3.25" deep pot

  • Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass Calamagrostis acutiflora Karl Foerster

    Starting at $11.99

    Sale: $10.19

    Per Plant - 3.25" deep pot

4 thoughts on “Fall Has Arrived, Bring on the Grass”

  • Lynn Worrell
    Lynn Worrell 09/11/10 at 6:21 am

    Welcome to Albuquerque, David and High Country Gardens. I know I will be spending a great deal of time at your newest location. I already love your catalog and am eager to see, touch and smell all the various plants first hand before selecting them for my garden.

    Thanks for thinking of us here in the Duke City.

  • Marilyn B. Grua
    Marilyn B. Grua 09/18/10 at 6:22 pm


    When will you be introducing Agastache 'Glowing Embers'? I'm really looking forward to it becoming available. Hoping that one and Agastache 'Blue Blazes' are available to us in the eastern part of the U. S.

  • Meg

    I would love to do fall planting of grasses (plugs) and perennials (plants), but by the time I start to focus on it, we are deep in the season. (I saw your blog on planting seeds in the snow; I'll try that.) Could you be so kind as to answer, How late in the fall can one plant? I live in Montezuma, which is a little colder than Santa Fe, and Corrales.

  • David Salman

    Meg: Fall planting in your area can be accomplished successfully for most plants by late September. In cold climates, heat loving plants like Agastache, Texas Bush Salvia, Gaura and others are best spring planted. They need a long growing season with heat to establish their roots when its hot.

    Be sure to well mulch in your fall transplants and water them regularly until the ground freezes.

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