Grasses, sedges and rushes are major players in gardens from coast to coast. But their textures, colors and toughness also have them headed for stardom in another role – as container plants. Here against a varied backdrop of settings at Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art in Nashville, Tennessee, are examples of the tall and the small, the bold and the delicate – something for everyone.
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At the entrance to Cheekwood’s Museum of Art, originally a mansion designed by noted architect and landscape architect Bryant Fleming, a classical statue seems to be sizing up a lively mix of tall, mop-topped papyrus, sedges and a basketgrass (Oplismenus hirtellus) trailing over the edge of a bean pot by Gladding, McBean. Sedges can bring a range of textures, heights and unusual colors to container plantings. Here Carex buchananii ‘Red Rooster’ is a vertical spray of amber tones, C. testacea, or orange New Zealand sedge, forms a fine-textured mound of auburn and green, and C. phyllocephala ‘Sparkler’ hugs the container lip with short, wide, variegated leaves.