She speaks in whispers and lullabies, and dances in the wind.  She tempers the hardened, and fortifies the precarious.  She is beauty, power, humility and grace across the seasons.  She is Ornamental Grass.

Ornamental Grasses are truly versatile. They can add height, texture, color and year round interest. They can soften hardscapes, provide screening/privacy (some varieties can grow 6-7′), provide a focal point, attract wildlife, and act as groundcover. Additionally, and often times overlooked, Ornamental Grasses have the ability to add movement and sound. Placed in planters, they can add panache to your decks and patios. They truly can fill almost any role within your landscape, and they require very little in return.

Purple Maiden Grass
Clump forming, medium green blades with a purplish tinge develop into reddish hues as summer progresses, eventually maturing to a brilliant reddish-orange in Fall. Foliage gradually darkens to an attractive burgundy by Winter. Tiny purplish flowers appear above the foliage in late Summer and gradually turn into feathery, white plumes by Fall. The burgundy colored foliage and creamy white seed plumes continue well into winter, providing stunning winter interest and mesmerizing movement and sound when the wind blows.

Feather Reed Grass 
One of the more popular grasses, Feather Reed Grass grows straight and upright, reaching heights of 5′. Feathery, tan plumes and tiny flowers emerge in early summer, surrounded by its deep green leaves. In Fall, the seed heads mature to a soft, wheat-color that endures into Winter, adding interest and color. Feather Reed Grass provides an excellent vertical accent, whether used in a bed behind perennials, near a water feature, or as a screen.

Little Bluestem
This native prairie grass grows in shades of blue, silver, and green and matures to a fiery red in Fall with fluffy, silvery seed stalks. Its airy, delicate texture comes to life in the gentlest of breezes. Little Bluestem works well as a groundcover or in a mixed border. Can also be used on hilly drifts for erosion control.

Variegated Japanese Forest Grass
This low growing, mounding grass has gracefully arching, golden foliage with green stripes. Hints of red and pink can be seen in the Fall. Works well when planted along pathways, under trees or shrubs or in a shade garden.

Fountain Grass
Clump forming grass with gracefully arching fluffy, flaxen plumes that bloom above the lush green foliage. Foliage matures to a golden russet in Fall and remains throughout the Winter. Great as a backdrop in beds or amongst shrubs for contrast.  Consistent winter interest.

No other plant offers hypnotic, gentle swaying, rhythmic sound, color, texture, and year round interest like Ornamental Grasses. Break away from the negative connotations and discover their true assets.  Reach out to Sweeney’s today, and fall in love with these humble beauties. We proudly serve the communities of Villa Park, Elmhurst, Oakbrook, Oakbrook Terrace, Glen Ellyn, Lombard, Wood Dale, Itasca, and more!

Sweeney’s:  A Plant Based Company

Plant of the Week

Desert Plains Fountain Grass

Smoky-purple bottlebrush plumes bloom in early Summer above arching green foliage which ages to a bronzy-gold while the plumes dry to a flaxen-wheat.  Prefers full sun, and moist, well-drained soil.  Grows 3-4′ tall and 3-4′ wide.  Excellent Fall color and winter interest.  Deer resistant.

“It is the flash of a firefly in the night.

It is the breath of the buffalo in the wintertime.

It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.”


Best wishes,

Kim Sweeney