Tall Molinia

Tall Molinia, (Molinia caerulea ssp. arundinacea) mooregrass cultivars may look similar until you see the cultivars side by side.  The green plants in the background way behind the bench are Molinia ‘Windspeil’ on the left, ‘Karl Forester’ center and ‘Sky Racer’ on the right on Sept 27, 2019. The photo on the right shows the same plants on Oct 25, 2019 ‘Sky Racer’ in the center and ‘Karl Forester’ on the left in the background.

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Native Grass ebook wins Gold Award

Native Grass eBook Wins Gold and Silver at 2019 GardenComm Awards!

A guide to gardening with native grasses written by Diane Narem and Mary H. Meyer of the University of Minnesota was published in May 2018. The ebook won the Silver Medal in June 2019 and was the final gold medal winner for an ebook announced in Sept 2019 at the GardenComm Annual Conference. This eBook is available free download from the iBooks store. You can also find it by searching the full title: Gardening with Native Grasses in Cold Climates and a Guide to The Butterflies They Support.

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Benefits of Native Grass Videos

Watch these short videos on the benefits of native grasses:

Benefits of Native Grasses: big bluestem
BIG BLUESTEM: Native grasses are beautiful additions to any home landscape. And the benefits are many–particularly for the popular prairie grass big bluestem. UMN Extension Professor and Horticulturist Mary Meyer explains why big bluestem is good for the soil, supports wildlife and how to use it in your garden or landscape. One of a 3-part series on the benefits of native grasses.

Benefits of Native Grasses: blue grama
BLUE GRAMA: Native grasses like blue grama have many benefits for gardens in Minnesota. UMN Extension Professor and Horticulturist Mary Meyer explains how this grass can be used on slopes, in rain gardens and in dry locations such as street boulevard gardens. Endangered species of butterflies in Minnesota feed on blue grama.

Benefits of Native Grasses: prairie dropseed
PRAIRIE DROPSEED: Native grasses like prairie dropseed have lots of benefits for Minnesota’s yards and gardens. Prairie dropseed is good for the soil, supports wildlife and is a low-maintenance plant. UMN Extension Professor and Horticulturist Mary Meyer explains the benefits.

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Minnesota Zoo Butterfly Conservation

Erik Runquist at the Minnesota Zoo is leading a unique and important Prairie Butterfly Conservation program. Along with Cale Nordmeyer, their research is discovering the life cycle and needs of endangered and threatened butterflies that use native grasses. Watch Erik in this video collect and tag butterflies in Minnesota. Pictured below are their cages for raising native skipper butterflies, each with a prairie dropseed plant and one or more skipper larvae.

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Grass Collection worth a visit

IMG_3503Many grasses are at their peak now; it’s a great time to visit the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s Grass Collection. Shown above from left: blue, falling over “Wind Walker’ big bluestem; front center ‘Buffalo Bedtime’ sideoats grama; front right ‘Blue Lagoon’ little bluestem; right background dark purple ‘Rain Dance’ big bluestem shows the variation in new named forms of native grasses. The Grass Collection is open daily with gate admission or free to Arboretum members. Special event Walk with Mary Meyer 4-6 PM September 19, 2109 at the Arboretum.

“Buffalo Bedtime’ sideoats grama below, has dark purple flowers.




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What is your favorite native grass?

I get this question a lot…and my answer is always…”It depends on what month it is!” This week the Bouteloua’s look great….blue grama and sideoats grama are not the showiest in the formal garden…too messy for many, but their flowers are really incredible. These tough grasses favor dry sites and are larval food for at least 15 Lepidoptera species, including the endangered or threatened Poweshiek skipperling and Dakota skipper. Sideoats has red anthers that dangle from the florets and blue grama is known as the “eyelash grass” with delicate flowers the turn from purple to tan as they age. Native bees and flies are on these grass flowers now eating the pollen. Today, these are currently my favorite native grasses.

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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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