One of my favorite ornamental grasses, especially at this time of year, is Northern Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium). Native to the southeast US and Northern Mexico however grows as far north as zone 3. This grass is a vigourous grower, having an almost bamboo-like quality about it and is one of the few grasses that will grow in shade! Come fall the “oats” (seeds) take on a brilliant bronze colour and last all winter.
Sea Oats are an excellent speciment plant as well as making an excellent addition to a rock garden or shade garden. Growing to 3′ in height it does prefer moist soils but will tolerate some drought. To prevent this grass from becoming invasive, remove the seedheads as they will root after falling.
I love that even in the harshest winter Northern Sea Oats will continue to stand tall throughout the season. Come spring simply cut back to a few inches above soil level and this amazing grass will grow back to its full height again during the growing season.