Juncus inflexus, hard or blue rush

Hard or blue rush was planted at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in 2004 and has survived well. The plants are 30 inches in height and about 36 inches in width. The shiny brown flowers contrast with the blue cylindrical foliage. Hard rush is an easy to grow plant for full sun, clay soils or wet sites.

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New Arbor in Grass Collection

A beautiful new arbor and deck are completed in the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s Grass Collection. New plants have been added to showcase sedges and grasses for shade, both native and non-native plants.

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Grasses for Shade

What grasses grow in shade? Lots of sedges and a few grasses. See this new list at the Yard and Garden blog with the University of Minnesota. The tallest grass for shade is river oats, Chasmanthium latifolium, that grows to 3 1/2 feet and often self-seeds in Minnesota. IMG_5462.JPG

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Penn sedge is blooming


Last week, about May 1, I saw the first flowers on Pennsylvania sedge, Carex pensylvanica.  You can see the yellow male anthers filled with pollen above, which sit higher on the flowering stalk than the female flowers, which are the darker brown color.

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Plant for Skippers on Earth Day

black eyed susan flowerskipper on musk sedgeIMG_7809

Native skipper butterflies are threatened and endangered in many states across the U.S. The Poweshiek skipperling, Dakota and Ottoe skipper larva feed on switchgrass and their butterflies feed on black-eyed Susan. Planting these two perennials in your garden this summer can provide plants for these skipper’s complete life cycle. For more information see Benefits of Native Grasses and Gardening with Native Grasses in Cold Climates. 

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Urban green infrastructure often means grasses and sedges

Detroit is making headlines with its new green infrastructure plantings, many of which include grasses and sedges. Methodist Hospital and the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District just west of Minneapolis collaborated to make an amazing community transformation. See before and after aerial photographs of this project. Instead of a sanitary sewer and abandoned ditch, Minnehaha Creek now is a thriving wetland with a public boardwalk and 100+ acres green space.  Grasses and sedges are the workhorses for wetland restoration.
Methodist Hospital’s restoration of Minnehaha Creek is part of a trend making environmentally friendly outdoor spaces.

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Snow drifts

IMG_0757 Snow is so deep (30+inches) near the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s Grass Collection that walking is nearly impossible. Miscanthus still stands with winter interest!

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