Coastal Current 
November 2010   Issue 10

Did somebody Tivo 2010 and edit out the boring parts? Suddenly, we're staring down the barrel of December. I can account for my whereabouts pretty much continuously, so we didn't skip any whole months, but we sure got to #11 in a hurry, didn't we? The year's nearly shot, and I'm not done with it.





Given this wobbly economy, in hort and elsewhere, we feel very fortunate to be expanding. We're not doubling or trebling, mind you; just adding a conservative 10% or so to our production/propagation area, mostly for perennial liners.

Our new XS Smith houses are configured specifically for what we do. Like many of you, we have some retrofitted, repurposed houses. They work, and we move good product through them. But nothing beats starting from scratch, from the ground up, to design a lean, green growing machine that fits the job at hand. Our growers are salivating.


New Perennial Prop Houses



PA-based VP Al Mueller and your humble scribe just returned from 5 days in sunny Pensacola (including a day of kayaking in shorts!) to our brisk, autumnal homeland. I don't know about Al, but I promptly built a fire. Those 90-degree days and 75-degree nights spoil you. Florida's fall feels and looks much like Pennsylvania's summer: a solid surround of deep, rich green wrapped in warm, humid, T-storm-prone weather.


Above the Mason-Dixon line, frosty-fingered autumn holds sway. Our prolonged drought shut a lot of trees down early so they never put on much of a show; but now, our maples and oaks are going out in their usual blaze of pied glory. Even our cool holding houses are coloring up nicely as grass and perennial liners settle down for a winter nap.


Autumn in the greenhouses

It's even autumn indoors! Remember, vernalized liners often out-perform starters that haven't had time to chill out.


Asclepias "Asleepias"

Asclepias tuberosa goes thoroughly dormant up top, hoarding its energy in the thick fleshy roots that explain its specific epithet. A visitor dubbed it "Asleepias."


Asclepias tuberosa asleep in the cell



All you Sagittarian landscapers: Sure, you're busy. But once in a while, stop and smell the kale & cabbage. How else will you know when they're rotten enough to rip out and replace with grasses and perennials?



There's so much to celebrate in November. Besides the obvious turkey-centric binge, there's Veteran's Day, Japan's Culture Day, Canada's Remembrance Day, the anniversary of the Mexican Revolution, and of course the recently-ended World Series. Like most sports, baseball has sprawled far beyond the bounds of its traditional season. Do you realize there are only two days each year when no major-league professional sport is played? Can you name those two days? (Answer below)



John Friel

John Friel

Marketing Manager

Answer: The day before and the day after baseball's All Star Game.


What's Hot


As just one example of why you should pre-book, consider the lovely, talented and wildly popular Pennisetum 'Fireworks'. You probably don't want it now anyway, since it's an annual grass; just sayin', our next salvo of 'Fireworks' comes available March 1 - but!! If you wait until then to order, guess what we'll (reluctantly) have to tell you?


Pennisetum Fireworks 

Pennisetum xadvena 'Fireworks' PP18504


Hobnobbing & Name Dropping

Last week's Independent Plant Breeders Conference at Longwood Gardens was a fascinating hybrid of science and socializing -- part seminar, part speed-dating for breeders and marketers. Many industry leaders and some of our favorite new plant gurus attended or spoke. Dan Heims of Terra Nova was on stage. Bobby Saul of Itsaul Plants, independents Darrel Probst and Brent Horvath (Intrinsic Perennials), and Marc Laviana of Sunny Border were all present. Darrel and Marc visited ECG the day after.


On Availability now from:

-- Terra Nova:

Ajuga 'Sparkler'

-- Darrel:

Miscanthus 'Super Stripe' and Coreopsis 'Galaxy'

-- Sunny Border:

Coreopsis 'Sienna Sunset' and 'Heaven's Gate', Polemonium 'Touch of Class', Carex 'Ice Ballet'

-- Itsaul:

Echinacea Sunrise and Harvest Moon, Coreopsis 'Jethro Tull'

-- Intrinsic:

Sedum Autumn Delight


128s of Pennisetum 'Hameln'. Our catalog doesn't say so, but that popular plant DOES come in that popular, economical size. Great for smaller pots, multiples in larger containers, or even lined out for mass plantings. 

Pennisetum Hameln

Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Hameln'


Lewisia 'Rainbow' mix is one of those perennials whose bloom time is hard to pin down; it seems to flower whenever it's happy, and it seems delighted right now here in PA. It never fails to stop traffic when we have it in color at a trade show.


 Lewisia Rainbow mix

Lewisia 'Rainbow' mix


It's hard to select just one from all the items either coming on or winding down in our production and holding areas. Am I allowed two? Thanks. I choose the Astilbe and Hosta flats I saw in Florida. Availability is good right now. Let them come on slowly in your cool-to-cold greenhouses for fully-flushed, well-rooted pots come spring.


















Asclepias tuberosa