For those who regard these as all too coarse, Cortaderia
fulvida, a species from New Zealand, flowering in summer, is a good choice, its graceful, nodding, one-sided plumes of flowers opening to a soft pink.
All are species of cortaderia
, mostly evergreen perennial grasses from New Zealand, New Guinea and South America that form dense tussocks of stiff, flat, leaves set off by beautiful, upstanding plumes.
Some ornamental grasses, such as Cortaderia
jubata pampas grass and Pennisetum setaceum fountain grass, have become tenacious weeds that threaten native plant habitats and invade urban open space.
Other plants that can give you that wow factor include bergenia (Elephant Ears), acer palmatum hybrids, rheum palmatum (ornamental Rhubarb), cortaderia
species (pampas grass), euphorbia species, yucca filamentosa (Adam's needle), kniphofia (red hot pokers), acanthus mollis (bear's breeches) and canna hybrids (Indian shot plant).
Pampas grass or cortaderia
, miscanthus, stipa, Pennisetum orientalis and carex are all suitable for growing in pots.
There was a small (15 m wide, 3 m deep) ravine 20 m from the nest site with Alnus acuminata, Polylepis besserii, and other native shrubs including Gynoxis, Baccharis, Ribes, and Berberis, and Festuca and Cortaderia
grasses, a more typical habitat of the species.
Worth trying too is the relatively small Cortaderia
selloana - choose the variegated form for a stunning architectural plant that stays where it is put.
THE dwarf pampas, Cortaderia
selloana Pumila, which grows to just over 4ft tall, makes a striking backdrop to the showy bright-coloured blooms of the late red hot poker, Kniphofia linearifolia, which tower up to a spectacular 5ft in height.
and Pennisetum come into this category.
Or there's the relatively dwarf form of pampas grass, Cortaderia
To enhance the effect of the autumn display, look out for grasses that produce good flower spikes at this time of year such as miscanthus, cortaderia
and stipa and for good measure, blend in one or two berrying shrubs and trees such as ilex, cotoneaster, pyracantha, euonymus, callicarpa, viburnum opulus and sorbus species and underplant with the autumn flowering cyclamen hederifolium - your autumn garden will have as much colour and interest as any brightly coloured summer garden.
They command more attention when planted against the silky white flower plumes of the dwarf pampas grass, cortaderia
For the back-of-the- border plants use traditional favourites like delphiniums, hollyhocks, the magnificent Plume Poppy (Macleaya cordata), the huge Seakale (Crambe cordifolia), and the graceful grasses like Stipa gigantea, the shorter pampas grasses such as Cortaderia
selloana "Pumila", Indian grass (Arundo donax), as well as bamboos, and big clumps of Eupatorium purpureum.
APAMPAS grass is enjoying a revival, and for containers there is a dwarf variety Cortaderia
selloana Splendid Star that is worthy of pride of place on a sunny patio.