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Grow with KARE: Celebrating the Arb's grass collection

The University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum started the grass collection 35 years ago, and today it's thriving.

It was 35 years ago that the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum started the grass collection, and today it's absolutely beautiful. 

One reason for its success is Dr. Mary Meyer, a UMN professor that started with the grass collection. She a was a graduate student back then, trialing which grasses would survive our harsh winters. 

What she's learned is that there are plenty of fabulous grasses that not only survive the Minnesota winters, but thrive!

Dr. Meyer's work, along with many other professors, students and volunteers have built one of the largest grass collections in the country, and one that's known around the world.

Although most of the collection is full sun, there are some varieties that grow in the shade. Grasses are low maintenance, requiring no fertilizer and no extra watering after established. They help to stabilize the soil and provide habitat for pollinators and other insects. 

And if you ask Dr. Meyer which are her favorites... Blue Heaven Little Bluestem and Golden Sunset Yellow Prairie grass. Both of which were developed by Dr. Meyer and the University. And you can find both at garden centers!

Another of her favorites, prairie dropseed and big bluestem.

But one that doesn't top her list, Karl Forester! She believes (along with Bobby and I) that this grass has become much too common. We have great native grasses in this state that all fit within the home garden.

See the grasses yourself and meet Dr. Meyer this month at a celebration for the grasses. 

Ornamental Grass Collection Open House: Celebrating 35 Years

When: 3-6 p.m. Sept. 22

Where: Arboretum, Ornamental Grass Collection off Three-Mile Walk, Three-Mile Drive 

What: Join Dr. Mary Meyer in the Ornamental Grass Collection to enjoy the grasses in their fall beauty and see which plants have been there for 35 years. The collection, which Meyer helped establish at the Arboretum in 1987, is a Plant Collections Network Nationally Accredited Plant Collection. Bring any grass questions or any grasses you want identified. Free posters and information on little bluestem, the Perennial Plant Association's perennial of the year for 2022 will be available. 

Where to meet: Meet at the Ornamental Grass Collection; parking is available off Three-Mile Drive at the parking lot near the Dahlia Trial Garden/Pine Collection or the Ornamental Grass Collection parking lot just beyond the Maze Garden. 

Cost: Included with Arboretum gate admission: free for members and ages 15 and younger. Admission is $15 for non-members. Online reservations are required to visit the Arboretum. 

Website: https://arb.umn.edu/ornamental-grass-open-house

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