Ornamental grasses have been all the rage in the gardening world for some time now. So much so that the style even has a name, ‘New Wave Planting’ a style made famous by the Dutch Designer, Piet Oudolf. It’s all a bit flat and insipid for my taste, although I do use quite a few of the bolder tall grasses (by tall, I mean over six feet) in my garden to add structure to the borders. One of the tallest and the best is Arundo Donax, which is sometimes known as the giant cane, and can grow to 20 metres (although not here). But the shortcomings of this majestic grass are brought home when it is grown alongside bamboos.
This picture, taken today, shows the Arundo Donax sandwiched between two bamboos (it’s just behind the phormium). It simply can’t compete in stature or colour. What’s more, it’s now in the process of dying down, and won’t reappear until next June, whereas the bamboos will remain like this, giving structure and life to the border, all winter long.