Festuca glauca _Elijah Blue_
Hoffman Nursery GrassSolutions
In this Issue:
  • Grasses on the A-List: Top perennials for 2016 and plants of the decade
  • Connecting with Students: The National Collegiate Landscape Competition
  • Expanding the Market
    • Green infrastructure and a broader market
    • Landscape plugs for consumers
    • Getting a read on the New Perennial Movement
    • Top design trends in landscape architecture for 2016
Carex _Eversheen_
Carex 'Eversheen' was one of
Better Homes & Gardens top new perennials for 2016
Grasses on the A-List

Better Homes & Gardens 
Top New Perennials for 2016
Everybody loves lists, and browsing through this one is interesting. We're happy to see several grasses, including stand-outs Andropogon gerardii 'Red October' and Carex oshimensis EverColor® 'Eversheen'. We also spotted Sorghastrum nutans 'Thin Man', which we've been trialing here at the nursery. See the full list.

Plants of the Decade
American Nurseryman recently revisited the last ten years of the Perennial Plant Association's Perennial Plant of the Year™ program to see what the top plants have been. Two grasses made the list, Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' and Panicum virgatum 'Northwind'. Both are outstanding plants, and so are the rest on the list. Read why these are must-have perennials.
National Collegiate Landscape Competition
Connecting with Students

Spring brings one of the yearly events we always enjoy. Horticultural students from all over the country come together to compete, learn, and network. It's the National Collegiate Landscape Competition, an initiative of the National Association of Landscape Professionals. 

This year, the event was hosted by Mississippi State University, where the event was held for the first time 40 years ago. Hoffman Nursery made the trip. Take a whirlwind look at our time there.
Expanding the Market

Several recent articles address trends that are important for growers and our industry. The articles ask us to think differently about how plants are used and consider new ways to promote them
The High Line
The High Line in New York City is a popular and successful green infrastructure project.

An article by Brie Arthur in Nursery Management describes a broad view of green infrastructure. This growing trend offers many opportunities for hte nursery industry. Arthur talked with Pat Cullina of Patrick Cullina Horticultural Design + Consulting in New York City. He's worked on a number of projects that fit the new approach, and he sees more room for expansion. Cullina says,
"I know from trying to source plants for my projects there remains a considerable market opportunity for nurseries to grow more of the many plants that can thrive in these various applications." 

The article also includes thoughts from Shannon Currey, Hoffman Nursery's marketing director, and with Steven Paulsen, owner of Native Roots in Twin Falls, Idaho. It's a great read that may get you thinking about growing more plants for the green infrastructure market. 
Landscape plugs

In Greenhouse Grower, h orticulturist, plant breeder, and plantsman, Kelly Norris writes about the potential of plugs for the retail market.  According to Norris, landscape plugs "may introduce consumers to new plants and design ideas at an affordable price as the motivations for making landscape changes." 

Trends in planting design are moving toward denser plantings, a wider variety of plants, and an increased focus on the functions plants perform. Landscape designer Sabrena Schweyer of award-winning firm, Salsbury-Schweyer, Inc., says, "Clients want heavy duty, longer-lasting, longer-lived perennials. That's going to be an important shift for our industry." 

Read more in Norris' article.
Planting in Lancaster_ PA
This planting, designed by Claudia West, is featured in  Planting in a Post-Wild World , which she cowrote with Thomas Rainer. It illustrates the planting style of the New Perennial Movement. Photo provided by Thomas Rainer.

Paul Westervelt, a consummate plantsman and grower at Saunders Brothers Nursery, sees a trend in planting design that can give a boost to our industry. He writes in GPN magazine about the New Perennial Movement, which uses large numbers of perennials in dense plantings. It's gorgeous, it's ecologically sound, and it fits the trends we see in other areas of the industry.

Westervelt thinks the New Perennial design style may hit mainstream as more people  see plantings in this style. Attitudes about landscapes are changing, and he's excited about what it could mean for the nursery industry.


Each year, the American Society of Landscape Architects surveys its members about the expected popularity of outdoor design elements. The message this year: sustainability is still big. 

Native plants, native or adapted drought-tolerant plants, and low-maintenance landscapes were 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, respectively. Rain gardens were 8th.  It's no surprise that grasses fit many of the top trends.   Find out where market-setting professionals think landscapes are going.

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