Cape Breeze Panicum

‘Cape Breeze’ switchgrass is much shorter than most cultivars, full of flowers here at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum on July 26, 2016. It is about 30 inches in height, note the ‘Ruby Ribbons’ label to the left, and the ‘Cape Breeze’ label hidden in the foliage. There is a market and need for mid sized grasses that have good plant form. ‘Cape Breeze’ was discovered on Martha’s Vineyard, MA and is known for being a shorter plant.

Aside | Posted on by | Leave a comment

Flowers in a ‘Bee Lawn’

Thyme and self-heal (Prunella) are starting to show up now amid a lot of white clover in the flowering or ‘bee lawn’ plots that were planted at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in 2015. Mowed at 4 inches, with not much of the fine fescue showing, these 5 treatments all have some clover. The scalped (mowed to almost nothing, 1″) prior to seeding plots show the most thyme and self-heal. For more information see Planting a Bee Friendly Lawn and Flowering Bee LawnsIMG_4359 - Version 2

Aside | Posted on by | 1 Comment

Purple amid Blue


A new planting of ‘Blue Heaven’® little bluestem shows one very different plant….it’s purple! Looks great, but will it last? Will it be as healthy and vigorous? We can all watch this one…it’s in the front gatehouse bed at the Arboretum on the right as you leave the grounds….where we can watch it without getting out of the car!  Color mutations like this may or may not last through the growing season. Grasses appear to change quickly in variegation, cells that have more chlorophyll (green colored) being stronger, and more vigorous can crowd out weaker cells that have other pigments, or less chlorophyll, as this purple plant likely has.

Aside | Posted on by | 1 Comment

Rhizomatous Grasses

There is just no stopping vigorous rhizomatous grasses! Native bluejoint, Calamagrostis canadensis is a great native grass for wet, shady sites and has attractive buff flowers often found in Minnesota woods, prairie potholes, and along Lake Superior. We just had to get it in check here; show before and after cleanup. Bluejoint is the center plant, but had encroached two other kinds on each side. Faithful volunteers working in the collection are the best!

Aside | Posted on by | Leave a comment

Frost Grass lives up to Its Name

Cool, below 32F, temperatures recently damaged the new growth on the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum grass collection. Looking at Spodopogon in wonder at the discolored foliage…..then looked at the label and dah…know why the common name is Frost Grass! Yes, centers show some rodent damage and the older dead sections, but all the discolored foliage is frost damage. I expect it to grow out of this in a short amount of time. Miscanthus also showed similar damage, as did little bluestem. IMG_4080IMG_4081

Aside | Posted on by | Leave a comment

Spring Clean-up

grass clippings Leslie with a full load!

Great volunteers hand cut any remaining tops after the burn in March;  it turned out to be a big load with the long canes of giant miscanthus that did not get burned. Thank heavens we could move it off to the compost pile with a Toro cart due to Leslie’s careful driving.

Aside | Posted on by | Leave a comment

Penn sedge first to flower in spring

carex pa flowers

Yellow tufts of anthers are out now on Carex pensylvanica, one of the first graminoids to flower in Minnesota; I saw the first flowers on April 15, 2016.

Aside | Posted on by | Leave a comment