Sweetgrass Repels Mosquitoes

New information about the chemicals (coumarin and phytol) in sweet grass, Hierochloa odorata, confirm that they may repel mosquitoes. Native Americans knew this all along and have used sweet grass for many ceremonies.  Sweetgrass is a native plant in Minnesota; flowers come in early spring and the shiny foliage is not really ornamental, but that doesn’t matter, when the fragrance and other chemicals in the foliage are what is important. Photos from the Minesota Landscape Arboretum’s Grass Collection.  hierochloe sweet grass braids IMG_2197

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Grass Collection Open House, Tuesday, Sept 29, 2015, 2:00-6:00 PM

Join us for the Open House at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s Grass Collection on Tuesday, September 29 from 2:00-6:00 PM. You will be able to see the new plantings from this year, pick your favorite grass, and ask questions about the grasses. 2015 is the third and final year of the formal 3-year evaluations of 17 switchgrass and 5 little bluestem cultivars. IMG_0965

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Red Forms of Panicum

Red grasses, especially perennial red grasses are HOT. It seems everybody wants them. Shenandoah, shown on the left in the photo below is a good standard, but is not as red or purple as some people would like. Hot Rod, is really purple, shown in the center below. It is also short, 30-36 inches. Rehbraun, (German for Redbrown) is older, vigorous and bushy, with red flowers and a few red leaf tips and is on the right in the photo. More purple and red usually means lower vigor and height. IMG_0972

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A straight edge

New edging looks great. The National Grass Trial beds get a new edge, we moved it out 12 inches. Switchgrass looks good, flowers showing at tips of some early kinds. IMG_0569

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What could be better?

Working in the Grass Collection is great, what could be better? Eating after working in the collection! Raspberry cheesecake brownies for break! The BEST! Or was it the cherry rhubarb and plum crisp the week before! So lucky to volunteers that cook AND work on the collection!! IMG_0565 IMG_0469

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First adult Japanese beetle

Just resting on miscanthus, not feeding, the first adult Japanese beetles are out for 2015. With the turf in the grass collection, their grubs live in soil nearby. Adults do not feed on grasses, but mate for the cycle of life to begin again. IMG_0571

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Grasses in New York Skyline!!

Maybe I could live in New York City if grasses surrounded the building like this!

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