LETTER OF THE WEEK
I have gradually acquired a rather mixed bag of ornamental grasses but am unsure as to how I should deal with them in winter. I have Helictotrichon sempervirens, pheasant’s tail grass, Miscanthus sinesis ‘Variegatus’, Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Bronze Veil’, Stipa tenuissima, and Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’. DEBORAH WARREN
– VIA EMAIL
Your “mixed bag”, can be sorted out into two basic groups, those that originate from warm climates and those from cold climates. Once you understand which groups they belong to, their maintenance is simple.
Helictotrichon, the two stipas (S. tenuissima and the pheasant’s tail grass), festuca and deschampsia are cool-climate grasses. These dense, hardy, clumpy grasses, especially the smaller ones (which tend to run out of steam after three or four years), can simply be “groomed” in early spring, i.e.