The Art of Grass

Think grasses, think Neil Lucas, owner of the beautiful Knoll Gardens, in Hampreston, Dorset; what Neil doesn’t know about grasses is definitely not worth knowing. A visit to his showcase garden is always an inspiration, no matter how often I visit. A stunning selection of grasses are planted cheek by jowl with shrubs and perennials, affording visitors a variety of vignettes to be tried and tested in their own gardens.

Magnificent miscanthus, shimmering stipa and delicate deschampsia are interspersed with rivers of Verbena bonariensis, Gaura ‘Whirling Butterflies’ and Echinops ritro. Sumptuous, bold plantings of ruby-coloured Persicaria amplexicailis and golden, yellow Rudbeckia laciniata are repeated throughout the garden providing colour, structure and a reassuring rhythm.

20130803-101802.jpgThe garden comprises a pleasing mix of shady walkways edged with deep, well-planted borders, open, grassed vistas edged with mature Eucalyptus trees, gravelled plantings, a gushing waterfall and the Dragon Garden.




20130803-150038.jpgA beautiful garden which can be visited year-round.

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2 responses to “The Art of Grass

  1. I am yet to be wholly convinced about the usefulness of mass plantings of grasses. The prairie look seems somehow out of place in the English countryside. Partly as an experiment I left a lot of pheasant’s tail grass with hypericum and golden rod in a sunny bed (common I know!). Looks OK in the sun, if a little untidy. But I think it will have to go next year, or at least be reduced. On the otherhand I like the combinations in the final picture of the alchemilla. That cool green, natural look is just right.


    • Totally understand where you’re coming from Tim in respect of massed planting of grasses. However, when done well, as shown here at Knoll Gardens, it is really effective. The key is balancing the number and types of grasses with the number and type of perennials. Done incorrectly it can look dreadful.


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