Who says a good plant must be a climbable shade tree, or look like a Christmas card photo, or grow in a hedge, or smell like a florist shop? Many plants don’t fit in those categories.
Trellises, arbors, pergolas, and fences support a number of vines and cascading plants. Clematis vines are Midwest favorites, and are available in many showy colors. Interesting climbers less well known, perhaps, include Hydrangea Vine, Bittersweet, Hardy Kiwi Vine, Wisteria, Chocolate Vine, Honeysuckle, Dutchman’s Pipe, and others.
Grasses are another plant form used in multiple ways. They make a great accent near a boulder, lamp post, or mailbox. Some gardeners use them as a background for showy perennial flowers, a neutral back drop in summer that jumps into the limelight when colorful autumn seed plumes wave. Grasses are available in different heights, colors, and textures. There are the stiff upright blades of switchgrass; broad clumps of maidengrass; segmented rods of bamboo; variegated stalks of giant reed grass; small whispery mounds of quaking grass; the soft texture of fountain grass; colored blades of carex, great for semi-shaded areas; spiral stems of twisted rushes. Some foliage is a solid color, some has horizontal variegated bands, other varieties show multi-colored vertical striping along the blades.
Grass: not just for mowing!