Grasses, roses and a warm spell

I started writing this post about a week ago, just after the unseasonably warm spell at the end of February. I had been thinking about the importance of cutting down deciduous grasses, such as Miscanthus, before they start to grow in earnest. In the gardens we look after we aim to get them done by the end of February. Grasses are pretty tough plants, and should we have colder weather they will do just fine.

One grass that I particularly like is Calamagrostis brachytricha, the Korean feather reed grass. Preferring a sunny position, it is an excellent accent plant. Producing feathery plumes later in the year, it goes well with plants such as Salvias and Sedum. The picture at the top shows one at the back of a group of plants in a low maintenance garden.

Roses have also started to green up, but here I take a different approach and am holding back. It’s very tempting to prune shrub and bush roses now, but unlike grasses, if we get cold weather that tender new growth could easily be scorched. So, much as it is tempting, I won’t be touching them for another 2 weeks or so. 

Prunus cerasifera

During the warm spell I was in a client’s garden where they have several Prunus cerasifera, the Cherry Plum. One of the earliest trees to flower, my attention was drawn by the sound of honey bees, who were making the most of this early source of food. If we are going to get more weather like this, so much more important is it that we gardeners grow plants that provide for insects out of season.