When we moved into our house four years ago there was already an established bed of fountain grass (Pennisetum, also known as Feathertop) growing close to the front porch. I planted another clump of it closer to the sidewalk because I love it so much. In late summer and into the fall it blooms, carrying spikes of fuzzy and feathery flowers that can double the size of the plant. I suppose it's called "fountain grass" because its structure is that of a fountain; the clump grows from a central area and the grass falls in a lovely curve outside of the center.
Fountain grasses are interesting for lots of reasons--they offer striking contrast to flowers and other shrubbery, they have these provocative and irresistible spikey fronds that come out in late summer/fall, and they turn a gorgeous orange/beige color in the fall. I appreciate all these qualities of fountain grass, and I especially appreciate that once they are established they need almost no care at all. Both of mine are thriving though I do nothing for them.
Mostly I like fountain grass, though, because it is a hardy grass. When I lived in the midwest, Iowa and Illinois, I fell in love with the hardy prairie grasses that dominate what is left of the prairies there, and in general I have come to appreciate hardiness in a plant over traditional beauty (more about this when I talk about the swamp rose in my front yard). There's also something almost subversive in planting a grass in your yard that you never intend to cut. OK, well, I do cut it back in Spring to give the new growth room, but there's none of this constant trimming that most people do with grass: I am in charge you will never seed or flower, not on my watch.
I live in an urban neighborhood so my lawn is very small. When we do cut the grass it's with a rusty push mower. Everywhere there is fountain grass, I don't need the mower, which pleases me. I admire how strong it is--deep rooted, almost impossible to pull up, resistant to disease, at home almost anywhere, and yet it has a graceful, arching shape that feels like a kind of sacred perfection. They are the sturdy angels of the plant world, and they are everything I would like to be as woman.