Briza media Grass

posted in: Gardening | 16

One newcomer to the borders has been a really distinctive looking ornamental grass called Briza media.  Furthermore it has spent its first growing season quivering and quaking in the breeze. And that’s not just because it’s planted in my death row border. I mean …  the border where most winter casualties take place! 

Briza media flowers

Briza media
Briza media on 1st June growing alongside Astrantia rubra


Briza media flowers
June Flowers

The semi evergreen blueish green tuffs of leaves send up wiry stems with pendulous clusters of little hearts in early summer.  These  in turn break open to reveal tinsel like strands with tiny flowers.  

leavesnbloom garden in summer
 The Briza media is lost in its present location – above those white violas in the photograph and to the left of the  Astrantia rubra

Hopefully it will cope with the winter wet in situ. I’m just too cautious in moving it now that winter is well under way here.  (edit to add that it survived the 2011 winter in situ)

tassles of Briza media
Tinsel tassles

Buying one little pot of this grass didn’t give enough impact in the border. Likewise as a photographer I didn’t quite expect to become so fascinated by its little flowers in the summer.  Hopefully in spring 2012 I’ll purchase a few more plants. Then propagate from these to make a substantial drift in its new border location. (edit to add … those plans were scrapped!)

Briza media
Straw coloured  Briza media seedheads in August that look like little minature hop flowers
  • Flowers May – July.
  • Height 18-24 inches  Spread 12 inches.
  • Grows in sun or light shade.
  • Moist well drained soil.
  • UK fully hardy perennial.
  • Plant individual plants 12 inches apart.
  • Propagate in Spring by division or sow seeds in April.
  • Perfect for borders, small gardens and waterside plantings.


*Edit to add

A few years after writing this article I had to dig up the plant and it’s self seedlings. This plant was a bit too promiscuous for my garden.

It went wild!

So if you’ve got a wild patch of earth that is slightly damp I can thoroughly recommend this grass. Otherwise avoid it and grow something much less rampant!

Follow Rosie Nixon:

Photography Tutor and Gardener

Rosie is a garden photographer, writer and nature lover. She enjoys soaking up nature and is easily distracted from doing the weeding by anything that flutters, flies, buzzes, creeps or crawls! She enjoys sharing the beauty of creation through her photography. Rosie has been featured on TV on BBC2's The Beechgrove Garden and she uses the outdoors as her natural light studio. Her work can be seen at one of Scotland's only photography galleries - Close Gallery, 4b Howe Street, Edinburgh. She also writes and shares her nature images on

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16 Responses

  1. Ellie

    Ah these are lovely Rosie, takes me back to warmer times lol.
    I had hoped the weather might get a wee bit better but oh well, we will just have to cope I suppose. Take care!!

  2. Lona

    We cannot have you blowing away now.
    Your seed heads look so pretty in the garden. Lovely shots Rosey.

  3. Andrea

    Hi Rosie, that garden corner is so cheerful because dominated by yellows. That first photo is like a painting, and I think we have a weed something almost similar to that, however it is small my camera will not be able to take nicely. I love also the way you refer to your 'death row', you should show us that stretch when they are finally sentenced to their end! Happy Holidays Rosie. By the way, i posted a few remnant photos from my trip to Batanes Islands, a place we call Scotland of the Philippines. Maybe we dream too much of Scotland that we name a far group of islands to it, hahaha!

  4. Bernie

    It truly is a beautiful plant. A drift of this ornamental grass would look spectacular.

    Here's hoping the extreme bad weather doesn't continue for you through the Christmas season.

  5. Alistair

    Rosie, the Briza media lets us see the beauty in plants that have a simplicity which can only be appreciated when looked at with interest. Do you grow the tall form of Dierama, I have seen it in Aberdeen but it wont grow for us. Still no snow here as yet, but I have a feeling it may well arrive before th end of the week. Have a gret Christmas.

  6. Curbstone Valley Farm

    We have Briza maxima and Briza minor here, but both are considered weed grasses. I wouldn't have thought to cultivate it on purpose, although admittedly the grass seeds are pretty, and they're fun to photograph. Here Briza maxima can get a little out of control here though, and seems to do well enough on its own!


    Hi, lovely photos! The storm wasn't that bad down here in London, but last night we had a re-run, and all my pots were scattered around the garden today! Only a few more days now, and we will get longer days and the spring will be here before we know it 🙂


    Briza ia a very cool looking plant. Beautiful images, Rosie. As I am typing, I am hearing the wind roaring at 50 mph outside. It is a blistery evening here as a warm front smacks into a cold front, but I doubt we get the high winds you have been having.