In This Issue
Green Infrastructure from Cultivate'15 in Greenhouse Grower
Greenhouse Grower magazine is profiling the green infrastructure talks from this summer's Cultivate'15. The profiles began this month with presentations from Shannon Currey of Hoffman Nursery and  Debbie Hamrick of North Carolina Farm Bureau.

Currey discussed growing plants for green infrastructure. She noted that our industry has focused more on the aesthetic appeal of plants, whereas this new approach requires a shift in thinking. She highlighted some of the considerations in selecting plants for these projects and urged growers to examine their current offerings for possiblities. Learning more about the green infrastructure movement and connecting with project designers and contractors is key, according to Currey. Read more about her presentation  in this profile .

Green infrastructure project at NC State University
This green infrastructure project at North Carolina State University manages stormwater, increases biodiversity, and provides a usable, enjoyable outdoor space for students.

In her presentation, Hamrick talked about the reasons green infrastructure is becoming more widespread. Mandated regulation in urban areas has made it cost-effective and advantageous for communities to implement. This 
creates an opening for the horticulture industry to source plant material and provide other related services like consulting, designing, and collaborating with the contractors implementing these projects. Read more about her presentation in this profile.
A Prairie for Us
Piedmont prairie at Hoffman Nursery
We're planting our own Piedmont prairie! This summer, we posted about Sarah P. Duke Gardens planting a Piedmont Prairie. Staff from the gardens collected seed from local sites, and our nursery grew out the grasses for them. Fortunately, there were more than enough plants for their project, so they graciously shared the extras with us.

We planted a number of grass species, along with a variety of forbs. We will keep an eye on changes over time and look forward to seeing the pollinators and wildlife the prairie supports.Get a sense of what we planted and see how the project is going in this post .

Exploring Stormwater
The Southeast Stormwater Association held their annual conference this year in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and our marketing director, Shannon Currey attended. You may wonder why we're interested in stormwater, but it's a natural fit. We've long emphasized the functional benefits of grasses and sedges, and we continue to see an increase in requests for   plants for green infrastructure projects. In this context, stormwater comes up a lot.
Stormwater conference
We think what's happening in the stormwater world is great news for the green industry. More plants and plant expertise will be needed. Growers are uniquely positioned to provide both, and we're working to make those connections and get involved. And we appreciate clean water, too! 

See what happened at the conference and understand more about the connection between plants, the green industry, and stormwater in our post, Exploring Stormwater in the Southeast.
Planting in a Post-Wild World
Planting in a Post-Wild World
We were thrilled this month to receive our copy of the exciting new book by Thomas Rainer and Claudia West. These gifted designers bring a fresh, compelling, and practical message about landscapes in their new book, Planting in a Post-Wild World

Rainer practices landscape architecture in the D.C. area, while West is the ecological sales manager at North Creek Nurseries in Pennsylvania. They've synthesized the latest research and new ideas from Europe and North America in developing an alternative to traditional design. They advocate for designing plantings that function like natural plant communities.

Their approach emphasizes the tendency of plant communicaties to form layers. In any natural landscape, plants usually share space, nutrients, and other resources while flourishing together. Plants in different vertical layers serve different functions, which is why it works so well. 
Layers of a designed plant community
Images courtesy of Thomas Rainer

The authors mix innovative ideas and practical steps for creating resilient landscapes. And we're happy to see the role grasses and sedges play in plant communities. We highly recommend Planting in a Post-Wild World and look forward to seeing more designs that incorporate this approach. 

Get a recent review and slideshow illustrating their design principles from Architectural Digest. And follow Thomas Rainer's blog, Grounded Design, which outlines the process of writing the book and his collaboration with West.
Native Grasses for Golf Courses
Native grasses for golf courses
Golf courses in our area have been looking for ways to reduce resource use. We  see it happening here and in other parts of the country.  One approach is to change the way they plant and maintain out-of-play areas. Rather than using highly manicured, ornamental plantings, these areas can be planted with alternative grasses that are easier to maintain and give a more natural look. 

We've worked with several courses in the Southeast to help them take a more functional approach to their landscapes. Incorporating alternatives, especially native grasses, provides multiple services, such as increasing biodiversity and reducing resource use. They can do this while still having those areas appear neat and maintained. 

This new approach is catching on. A recent article in North Carolina Turfgrass gives course managers specific information on the performance of five native grass species. North Carolina State University graduate student Gerald Burgner and faculty member, Dr. Danesha Carley, summarize the results of studies examining performance across multiple settings. Burgner commissioned Hoffman Nursery to grow out liners for several of the reported grass trials, so we're pleased to see his work come to fruition.

Read the article, Native Grasses - Alternative to Turfgrasses in Out-of-Play Areas on Golf Courses.
A Look at Grasses in the News
This issue, we've got a quick roundup of stories that illustrate the beauty, functionality, and widespread appeal of our favorites plants, so enjoy!

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