Michel Le Damany and John Hoffman pose in front of
Michel's award-winning Miscanthus.
Grasses garnered major attention this month in Europe. The Internationale Stauden-Union (ISU), known as The International Hardy Plant Union, announced their 2014 award winners. The union, which is similar to our Perennial Plant Association, evaluates newly introduced perennials on a two-year cycle.

This year ten plants were selected as award winners from seventy that were evaluated. Of the ten, three were grasses: a variegated Miscanthus, a Molinia, and a blue-green Panicum

John and Jill hoffman were in attendance at the ISU Congress ("Summerdays") and had a chance to look at the award winners. Learn more about the winners.
We got to know folks at the North Carolina Coastal Federation when we helped sponsor the NC Low Impact Development Summit. Since then, we've been following the federation. They are very active in promoting stewardship of North Carolina's coastal waters, and recently sponsored a two-day workshop on "blue carbon."

Not familiar with blue carbon? Neither were we. Fortunately, in an article on the workshop, they explain what blue carbon is and outline the role of coastal marshes and ecosystems. 

As part of the workshop, participants visited one of the federation's restoration projects. It's taken roughly seven years to restore former farmland into tidal wetlands, and now the federation wants to know whether it's storing more greenhouse gasses than it's emitting. Over the last three years, N.C. State University has been doing that groundbreaking research with funding from the U.S. Geological Survey. It turns out that more carbon is coming into the system and being trapped than is leaving. That makes this site and others like it powerful tools for addressing climate change.
This restored marsh was once a farm growing corn and soy. With restoration, which included planting native marsh grasses, it is now a carbon sink. It is one of the North Carolina Coastal Federation's wetland restoration projects.

According to the federation, this project also helps demonstrates the economic inventives inherent in conserving and restoring coastal ecosystems. It's a fascinating read, so get the whole story here.

Interested in learning even more about blue carbon? Try the Blue Carbon Initiative. 
Grasses in the NewsGrassNews
We love finding interesting grass tidbits on the web:
Big Bluestem (Andropogon  gerardii)
Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) gets the nod from Manitoba.

Big Bluestem Named Manitoba's Official Grass
As popular as prairie grasses are in central Canada, it was only a matter of time. Manitoba has adopted this tough native grass for its own. Read more.

Native Grasses Help Tame Slope in Cemetery
Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis offers a final resting place for US veterans and their families. Most of its large acreage is covered in tightly maintained turf grass. The cemetery's staff is working with plant specialists from the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to make some chagnes.

They are returning a hilly slope overlooking the Mississippi River to its native landscape with native warm-season grasses. The grasses will provide functionality while also restoring a small plot of land to its native species. Read more about this exciting project.

Plant of the Week on the High Line
The High Line in New York City is a fantastic place to see grasses. The High Line blog spotlights a plant each week, and it's really fun for us when it's a grass. The most recent grass post highlighted Autumn Moor Grass.

To see all the grasses that have been featured, follow this link. 

Bioswales at the Nursery
Plants surrounding nursery pond.
Water collects in various ponds throughout the nursery. Each is surrounded by dense plantings that help slow and filter the flow.
Last month we told you about Josh Quinlan, our new Facilities and Water Management Coordinator. He has been working with North Carolina Cooperative Extension agents and other experts to increase the efficiency of our water management system. We'll be sharing our efforts with you each month through this newsletter.

We start with what's been a part of our system for several years. Throughout our site, water is directed into a series of channels that are planted with grasses, sedges, and other herbaceous perennials. Called bioswales or biofiltration swales, these structures slow water flow and filter out pollutants. Slowing down the water allows for greater infiltration into the ground and return of water to the atmosphere through evapotranspiration. The idea is to treat the water before it reaches a river, pond, or stream. 

Maintenance is Key
Because the bioswales are so important, they're high on Josh's list. He is making sure they're maintained and working properly. The shape of the channel, dense plant cover, and the channel's ability to remove pollutants must be maintained. 

Josh will regularly remove invasive plant species and those that are too aggressive. He'll make sure the plantings stay healthy, replace any that have declined, and add more plants when needed. Right now, we have grasses, sedges, and rushes, along with several native perennials (spp. of Lobelia, Vernonia, Solidago, Rudbeckia, Helianthus, and Eutrochium). We plan to increase the biodiversity of the plantings and build a thriving plant community in these bioswales. We love seeing the pollinators and other wild creatures in these areas.
Bioswale at the nursery
Plants in the bioswales and along the edges help slow water flow, which allows for greater infiltration and evapotranspiration.

The maintenance regimen will also include removal of debris or any blockages that occur to ensure that water flows freely. Josh will also make sure there aren't any ruts or holes--these must be repaired if they're found. In addition, sediment from runoff accumulates, so it has to be removed. It's a big job, but keeping these channels in good working condition is critical for our system. 

If you'd like to learn more about bioswales and similar structures, try these resources:
  • EPA's website on green infrastructure has lots of info. Start here for bioswales, but there are more links available on that same page.
  • SD1 in northern Kentucky has a 2-page info sheet on bioswales
New PlantsCorSelBB
Cortaderia selloana 'Blue Bayou' Cortaderia selloana
'Blue Bayou' PPAF 
Dwarf Blue Pampas Grass

Quick Facts:
  • Warm season
  • Blue foliage and a heavy flower set
  • 5 feet, 6 feet with flower
  • Sun, dry, flowers late summer
  • Zones 6-10
This dwarf pampas grass is outstanding as a container plant, in mixed plantings, and anywhere small stature is needed. Few gardens these days can handle the full glory of the species. This diminuitive cultivar is a better fit, and it still stops the show. 

Its habit is arching and uniform, and the blue foliage adds an extra zing. Coupled with a heavy bloom set, it's worth adding this new selection to your grass lineup.

For more information, go to our Plant Profile.


Magan Agee, our new Sales Director
Magan Agee,
Hoffman Nursery's new Director of Sales
We Have a New Sales Director!
Great news at Hoffman Nursery--Magan Agee has taken the position of Director of Sales. Having served as our Sales and Customer Service Coordinator since late 2011, she now oversees the sales team and all customer services. 

Most of you already know Magan. If so, you'll understand why this was a natural choice. Read more about Magan and her new role.

Progress Report on a Favorite Star
We've been excited about carrying the showy cultivar of
Bouteloua gracilis called 'Blonde Ambition.' As with any newer plant, we really appreciate updates on how it's doing after it leaves our nursery. 

Bill Ruppert of National Nursery Products - St. Louis office sent us photos of plantings at a new sculpture park in Webster Groves, Missouri. Quart containers of 'Blonde Ambition' were installed in late April of this year, and here they are in late August--looking great!

If you're not familiar with this wonderful, native cultivar, find out more on our plant profile.

 Excel format Adobe PDF
Find prices for individual liners, the number of liners in stock, future availability, and our order form on these Excel� and Adobe PDF� files.


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