GrassSolutions newsletter
In this issue:
  • The Sedge That Turns Heads
  • Piet Oudolf at the Lurie Garden
  • Spotlight on Prairie Grasses
  • Upcoming Events
  • Guacamole Day at Hoffman Nursery
Inflorescences of Carex grayi
Gray's Sedge is unusual and useful.
The Sedge That Turns Heads

It's hard to walk past Gray's Sedge without pausing to look. It's a bit other-worldly, and you might wonder whether the aliens are coming back to collect their pods.

Carex grayi is actually a very down-to-earth plant. It thrives in wet conditions but can withstand drier periods as well. So it's a good choice for rain gardens and bioswales. 

If you're not familiar with this North American native sedge, take a closer look.

Find out more about Gray's Sedge.
Piet Oudolf at the Lurie Garden 

Dutch designer and plantsman Piet Oudolf is revered for his planting designs, deep understanding of plants, and love of grasses. Long before others were interested in grasses, he was using their structure, architecture, and seasonality to create landscapes that revolutionized planting design.

Oudolf returned this summer to one of his most well-known projects in the US--the Lurie Garden in Chicago's Millenium Park. The garden held a celebration that included curated tours, round-table discussions, and a preview screening of the upcoming documentary on Oudolf. G et a taste of his visit via the wonderful sources below.
The Allure of the Lurie Garden

For a first-hand look at the Lurie celebration, check out Tony Spencer's blog, The New Perennialist. His blog won the Garden Writers' Association (GWA) 2015 award for "Best Overall Eletronic Media." It chronicles the Dutch Wave, the New Perennial Movement, and naturalistic planting design. 

Spencer spent the week in Chicago and shares his insights and experience in a recent post, "The Allure of Lurie: Piet Oudolf Returns to Chicago." Find it here.

Lurie Garden

Native Plant Podcast
John Magee, Mike Berkley, and Jesse Turner are the funny and knowledgeable guys behind the Native Plant Podcast. They convened in Chicago to do a series of interviews during the Lurie Garden celebration. Magee and Berkley talked with Oudolf, as well as co-design Roy Diblik of Northwind Perennial Farm and Laura Ekasetya of Lurie Garden.

Take some time to listen these fun and entertaining podcasts. You'll laugh, you'll learn, and you'll have a greater appreciation for the role of grasses and sedges.

Access all three podcasts here.
Native Plant Podcast at Lurie Garden
Roy Diblik, Jesse Turner, Piet Oudolf, John Magee, and Mike Berkley in the Lurie Garden.
The Influence of Piet Oudolf's Perennial Gardens

Take a deep and wonderful dive into gardens with this post by Megan Wade from the Lurie Garden blog. Learn about the designers and experience the projects that bear the mark of Oudolf's ideas. 

The post describes the New Perennial Movement and how thoughts about planting design and public spaces have changed. It's a lush and beautiful post worth reading.

Spotlight on Prairie Grasses

The Big Four
Little Bluestem on the High Line
Little Bluestem brings a range of colors to the High Line.
The High Line has become a beloved destination.This New York-based, elevated garden gets people excited about gardening. Earlier this month, the High Line's Plant of the Week blog featured four grasses. 

They're designated "The Big Four" because of their dominant role in the  tallgrass prairie. According to the blog post, tallgrass prairie once covered 170 million acres in the north-central United States and Canada. Now, only 4% of the original tallgrass prairie remains.

The High Line contains plantings of all four grass species, so visitors can see what makes these grasses so appealing. Their toughness, beauty, and adaptability make them go-to plants for modern landscapes.

Read the High Line post about these toughies.

Versatility and Seasonality with Switchgrass
One of the Big Four, Panicum virgatum, is a favorite of ours. That's why we share this recent article out of South Carolina. It's a great profile of Switchgrass that helps promote it to the general public. Those of us in the industry know what a versatile and beautiful grass it is, but there's still plenty of work to be done in spreading the word.

Upcoming Events
John Hoffman
Sept. 27, 2017
Lakeland Community College, Kirtland, Ohio

This gathering includes a day-long program with guest speakers and an evening reception with tours at the Holden Arboretum.

John Hoffman is on the roster and will offer a look at sedges, with an emphasis on native species. For more info,  download this PDF .
for  Growers, Retailers, Landscape Design Professionals and Landscapers
Nov. 7, 2016
North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

This all-day event is aimed at growers, retailers, landscape design professionals, and landscapers.

Marketing Director Shannon Currey will address how grasses and sedges can help create more interesting, wildlife-friendly spaces. Register for the event here. For the full schedule of the "Saving Our Birds" series at the garden, go to this events page.
Nov. 12, 2016
Event at Cincinnati Zoo
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, Cincinnati, Ohio

The fourth annual Native Plant Symposium, hosted by the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, is an all day adventure into the beauty and joy of native plants.
Hoffman Nursery's Shannon Currey will discuss grasses and sedges and highlight example projects that illustrate their capabilities. To register, go to the zoo's horticulture events page.
Guacamole Day!
The winning guacamole on a tasty day at Hoffman Nursery.

Our team got together last week to celebrate a great month and a tasty tradition. It was National Guacamole Day, and we have some folks who make a mean guacamole. It called for a contest! 

The best part--while the contest judges got the first taste, everyone got to try all the entries. We also enjoyed a catered lunch of Mexican dishes. 

People on our team look forward to the camaraderie of nursery-wide meals. It's a chance to spend time with colleagues we don't always see in the course of our work day. As always, it was full of fun and great food.

The judges took their guacamole tasting duties very seriously.
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