Best of the bunch: Pampas grass

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It was planted to excess in the 1970s but this lovely ornamental grass with ostrich-feather flowers has become popular again, mainly because it is extremely hardy and drought-tolerant and makes an excellent stand-alone specimen or at the back of a border with other tall grasses.

Among the largest pampas cultivars, C. selloana Sunningdale Silver can top 3m (10ft) with large white flower plumes that can withstand some of the worst weather.