The Beauty of Grass Is, Less Is Mower

Grass is abundant. There are more than 10,000 species in the family, vastly outnumbering any other category. It thrives under a wide range of climatic and ecological conditions.

Grass--providing you're not growing it for turf--is virtually carefree. It needs less water than most plants, no chemicals and little, if any, fertilizer. No dead heading, pruning or staking required. Just chop it back once a year, generally in the early spring; then stand back. Some species shoot up as much as 8 feet in one season.

Grass is a good value. It provides interest in the garden nearly year-round. Emerging foliage is followed by delicate flowers on high, arching stems, which add motion to the garden. Later, flower stalks provide a second wave of color when the seed heads dry, turning golden and translucent.

Foliage often changes to copper, buff or flame in the fall, too. So grasses are often most interesting just when our gardens generally look their least.

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