backtotopSpecial Issue on Water and Green Infrastructure

Bioretention Basin at the NC Museum of Art At Hoffman Nursery, we've been thinking a lot lately about water. Why? Because the way our communities manage water is changing,  Green infrastructure (GI) may become the new normal. GI uses natural features to manage water while providing additional benefits, such as recreation space, support for wildlife, and increased aesthetic value. 


Our customers are seeing these kinds of projects more often, and we think it's worth knowing more about them. The shift to GI presents our industry with unique opportunities. It's time to think about how your growing program or business model fits this new market.


Grasses, sedges, and rushes play a major role in green infrastructure and low impact development. Their fibrous root systems slow down water flow and increase infiltration, they help remove pollutants, and many are well-adapted to the demands of GI features. 


So, you see...we're pretty interested in water and green infrastructure these days. This month we're devoting an entire newsletter to it. If you're not familiar with green infrastructure, here's a previous post about it


Find out what's happening with these stories:

WaterSymWater Symposium Focuses on Green Infrastructure
NC Green Industry Council In late July, the North Carolina Green Industry Council (GIC) held its 4th Annual Water Symposium. This year, the focus was on green infrastructure. Hoffman Nursery Marketing Director, Shannon Currey, attended and was impressed by the breadth and depth of topics.

The speakers' slide presentations are available from the GIC website. Each takes a while to download, so here are highlights from a few:
For links to all the talks, go to this page.

StormBeautCan You Make Stormwater Beautiful?
SD1 in northern Kentucky John and Jill Hoffman returned this month from the Perennial Plant Association's annual symposium in Cincinnati, Ohio. The symposium offered tours of private gardens, nurseries, and botanical gardens. The Hoffmans found that one of the most interesting stops on the tour was not a garden or nursery. 

It was a facility that embraces plants for their functional and aesthetic value. SD1 manages northern Kentucky's wastewater and stormwater. They've created a public park that demonstrates the beauty and benefits of new techniques for controlling stormwater runoff and reducing water pollution. Several stormwater features in the park rely on plants to help perform the work.

Take a look at this amazing park and explore its innovative features.
BluemelWorking With Water at Hoffman Nursery
Josh Quinlan At Hoffman Nursery, we've been paying close attention to our water cycling. Now we're taking another step foward. Josh Quinlan has taken on the role of Facilities and Water Management Coordinator. Josh's training in environmental sciences and his experience as a landscaper and at the Jenkins Arboretum in Pennsylvania will serve him well.

His role is to help manage and protect the nursery's water supplies. We currently employ green infrastructure features such as bioswales and bioretention basins. These kinds of features mimic natural hydrological systems to slow and treat runoff. 

Josh and our mangement team will examine our current practices with an eye toward increasing infiltration and filtration. Our goal is to keep every drop of water on site and use it wisely. We're planning on adding new features to help us handle more significant stormwater events. We're also collecting data with our current practices so we can assess the efficiency of the changes we make.

Bioswale at HNI
This bioswale at the nursery uses a combination of grasses, rushes, sedges, and other perennials to help slow and treat runoff.
Josh will also look into adding water harvesting and more efficient water recycling. For example, moving from once-a-day irrigation to cyclical irrigation can reduce nitrogen runoff by up to 40%. We'll be going over our irrigation practices and equipment with a fine-toothed comb to ensure we're at peak efficiency.

Finally, Josh will promote water conservation at the nursery, conduct testing, and be responsible for maintaining our infrastructure. We're thrilled he's taken on this role and look forward to new projects!
Grass4GIGrasses for Green Infrastructure
We grow over 180 different selections of grasses, sedges, and rushes. Knowing which ones to choose for GI projects and stormwater features can be tough. But not to worry.

You can access our Quick Guides, which list grasses and grasslike plants for some of the most common GI features.

Click on the link to go to a list of plants with thumbnails and quick facts. From there, you can click on individual plants to see a full profile.

You can also find these Quick Guides on pp. 9-10 of our 2014-2015 Catalog of Grasses.


NewPlantsUpcoming Events: Water, Green Infrastructure & Low Impact Development
If you are interested in learning more, there are many opportunities to attend events. Here's a sample:

9th Annual Regional Stormwater Conference
October 8-10, 2014 / Charleston, South Carolina

Cities Alive - 12th Annual Green Roof & Wall Conference
November 12-15, 2014 / Nashville, Tennessee

January 19 - 21, 2015 / Houston, Texas


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