Why Plant a “Dead Sedge”?

As I’m neck deep in plant and seed catalogs (almost literally!), I’m getting most of our orders together and will always include what are termed “dead sedges” (Carex sp.) for the gardens. Featured throughout this blog is the variety ‘Toffee Twist’ which is considered a drooping sedge (Carex flagellifera).  The variety ‘Bronzita’ (also Carex flagellifera) is quite similar in appearance.  This color is normal for these grass relatives and while they are not quite hardy (I’ve seen some come back after mild winters though!), their use in the container and in seasonal arrangements is quite dramatic and effective.  The texture is quite nice and they lend themselves to many different color schemes.  We get visitors every year that ask if these “grasses” are dead….Bronze in the garden can be effective and many of these images show just a single specimen of ‘Toffee Twist’ being effective in a smaller container.  Some other dead sedges include the larger Carex buchananii (leatherleaf sedge) with varieties such as ‘Red Rooster’and ‘Red Fox’.  Both of these species are native to New Zealand and while they aren’t overpowering in terms of color, their earthy tones, combined with superior texture, maximize their “compositional potential”!