Panicum blooms
In This Issue
Promoting the Broader Benefits of Plants
Dr. Charlie Hall, a professor at Texas A&M, is our industry's go-to guy for economic issues. In recent interviews with  three trade publications, he's delivered a strong message. Our industry must move beyond  relying on the aesthetics and beauty our products offer the consumer. 

In Grower Talks , he says,  "We've got to emphasize the economic benefits, the environmental/ecosystem service benefits, and the health and well-being benefits, not just the fact that they're pretty."

Green infrastructure project at NCSU
This green infrastructure project at NC State University uses plants and soils to manage stormwater. It also provides a pleasant green space where students can study and socialize.
When asked
about the next big "thing," he emphasized biophilic design and green infrastructure. He noted that, "Cities spend millions and millions of dollars putting in redundant stormwater catchment systems in order to handle the stormwater, where if they just add the green infrastructure, they can save a lot of dollars."

In American Nurseryman, Dr. Hall notes plants are linked to better health, better memory retention, and  faster recovery from illness. He now teaches a course on the interaction between people and plants that emphasizes the value plants bring to our quality of life and well being.

Other industries are capitalizing on the broader benefits of plants, but he says it's not something our industry is doing well yet. In American Nurseryman, he cites examples of the roofing industry capturing revenue from green roofs and the architectural industry capturing economic rent from incorporating biophilic design. According to Dr. Hall, " We need to bolster our dialog and figure out how best to capture certain opportunities that are going to be coming our way."

At Hoffman Nursery, it's been natural for us to focus on the broader benefits of grasses. They need few inputs to perform well, they hold soil and sequester carbon, they slow down run-off and promote infiltration and filtration, they support wildlife, and they create amazing green spaces. They're an integral part of the emerging market for green infrastructure.

Find out more about the economic opportunities and trends Dr. Hall sees in our industry:
A Piedmont Prairie Begins
Back in April, we told you about an exciting project at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham, North Carolina. They're creating a small, Piedmont prairie to teach visitors about the beauty, diversity, and importance of this threatened ecosystem

Housed in the  H.L. Blomquist Garden of Native Plants, the project is coordinated by Blomquist Curator Stefan Bloodworth and horticulturist Annabel Renwick. Annabel collected seed from grasses and forbs throughout the area, gathering from several sites for each species. They asked Hoffman Nursery to grow out the grass species, while Annabel handled the other plants.

Volunteers helped plant the liners.
Staff and volunteers from the Blomquist Garden planted close to 12,000 liners.

In late July the plants were ready to go. Garden staff and volunteers planted close to twelve thousand liners. The grasses include several Andropogon species, Eragrostis spectabilis, Schizachyrium scoparium, and a number of other Southeastern natives. We visited the project during planting to see how it was going, take photos, and do a little planting.

The Piedmont prairie filled with grasses and forbs grown from locally collected seed.

To get details and see more photos, go to this Piedmont prairie post on our website. You can also read more about the project in Flora, the garden's newsletter. Called "Riches in the Ditches," the article starts on page 6.
Grasses in the News
Chemicals in Sweetgrass Repel Mosquitos Mosquito
Native Americans have known about the beneficial properties of sweetgrass for generations, and science is finally catching up. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, in collaboration with researchers from two universities, isolated two chemicals in sweetgrass  ( Hierochloe odorata ) . The combination of coumarin and phytol was as effective as DEET in repelling mosquitos in their experiments. 

Sweetgrass  is not often found in the trade. But who may become a superstar now. Read more about the study.
Panicum virgatum 'Northwind'
The article highlights Panicum virgatum 'Northwind' and other top grasses.
Nearly Perfect Perennials
We couldn't agree more. Grasses are nearly perfect perennials. The Daily Herald, a surburban Chicago paper, ran a story earlier this month that sets high standards for perennials. 

The author explains, "We search for plants with attractive foliage, delightful flowers, showy seed heads, impressive fall color and winter interest. We look for plants that are nearly maintenance-free and rarely bothered by pests or diseases. We seek perennials that thrive in our ordinary garden soils, require little if any fertilizer and seldom need supplemental watering.

Grasses make the cut.  Read the article to get the full story.
Bouteloua 'Blonde Ambition'
Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition'
The Ten Best Perennials You've Never Heard Of
In the Washington Post this month, columnist Adrian Higgins lamented the limited range of plants found in most home gardens. He believes gardens would be much more interesting and enriching with a greater variety of plants. And perennials play a vital role in boosting visual and seasonal diversity.

Higgins consulted experts to come up with a list of ten lesser-known perennials to recommend. The list includes a sedge and three grasses, and we think they're smart choices. Find out which plants they selected in his column.
What's New in HNI Plants?
Panicum virgatum 'Cape Breeze' PP24895
Cape Breeze Dwarf Switchgrass

Quick Facts:  Warm season, green foliage, 2', 2.5' with blooms, sun, dry-average, flowers late summer, Zones 4-9, Origin: North America.

Panicum 'Cape Breeze'
Panicum virgatum 'Cape Breeze' PP24895
We love Switchgrasses, but we know there are times when they're just too big. That's why we're thrilled to welcome the compact cultivar, 'Cape Breeze'.  

Topping out at 2.5 feet, it fits into small spaces without blocking the view. It makes a great filler in mixed plantings, and the heavy bloomset is quite showy. Moreover, it blooms earlier and stays greener longer into the fall than other cultivars.

Introduced by our friends at North Creek Nurseries. For more info and photos, see our plant profile.

Our 2015-2016 Catalog of Grasses included several new selections. Get a look at these snazzy, summer additions to our lineup.
This Month at the Nursery
Corn hole was a favorite
G rass Games
Last week we bid farewell to several local high school students who've been working with us this summer. As a thank-you and goodbye, the nursery served up a fried chicken lunch and pulled out the games. 

We had a tournament with four teams and four events. We tossed rings, threw bean bags, pitched ladder balls, and wielded ping pong paddles. Everyone had a good time cheering on colleagues and jumping into the events. We thought you would enjoy seeing our fun lunch and friendly competition.

Join us for the grass games in this post.
Packing liners for shipping Share the Positive
It's been our busiest season ever, and we're grateful to everyone for the support. Our team works hard to ensure a great product and a great experience for our customers.
That's why it's so gratifying to get the word that we've done our job well. As one customer told us,  "I have never been so happy with a nursery as with Hoffman!" 

With summer ending, we wanted to pass along the positivity you've shared with us this season. Read more.
HNI social media
Fe eling Social?
If you're the social type, you've got many ways to connect with us. Curious about grasses and like tidbits of info? Try us on Twitter. Interested in something more visual? We've got your grasses, filters and all, in our Instagram feed.

There's something for just about everyone. So browse our social media feeds and tell us what works for you.
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