Coastal Current  

September 2011   Issue #21

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September: Summer's Going-Away Party  

Your school-age kids may scoff, but September's a big party month. Forget Cinco de Mayo, save your tequila for the 16th. "El Grito," Mexican Independence Day, marks the beginning of the end of three centuries of Spanish rule. íViva la revolucion! Just don't be gettin' so groggy ye need an eye patch to see straight on the 19th, Talk Like A Pirate Day, ye scurvy lot. By comparison, Labor Day on the 5th will have been a tame, labor-free event. But that's the point, isn't it? Autumn debuts at 5:04am on the 23rd, but even Wiccans hate rising so early for Mabon, the Solstice feast. Finally, the 28th-29th, a.k.a. 1 & 2 Tishrei, bring Rosh Hashana, Jewish New Year. L'Chayim!

 

DOWN ON THE FARMS

Florida

We're hammering out the details of our burgeoning relationship with Terra Nova Nurseries to bring you some of the world's most coveted genetics. For solid evidence of the partnership, check our current Availability, where smallish batches of a slew of new Sedum varieties are sprouting with April ready dates.

 

Having seen these newcomers in Terra Nova's trial beds, I can vouch for their virtues: uniform habits, unique flower colors and sturdy, non-flop performance. I'm especially keen on 'Pool Party' and 'Raspberry Truffle', but we're confident that you'll quickly develop your own favorites.

 

Sedum Terra Nova varieties 

 

Pennsylvania

The song of the seeder echoes through the range as Supergrower Andy Babikow and sidekick Dynamic Derek sow up a storm, creating armloads of Armeria, beaucoup bellflowers, copious Coreopsis, crowds of columbines, a deluge of Deschampsia, gangs of Gaillardia, hordes of Heuchera and all the Alchemilla you can eat. Nor have they overlooked grasses: We're stuffed with Stipa Capriccio, which you might want to try if even Nassella suffers in your sweltering summers.

 

Aquilegia Blue-White

 

 Random Useless Fact Department: Pass the wolf peach, please.

killer tomatoe

You say tomato, I say Lycopersicon esculentum - literally, "edible wolf peach." This misunderstood fruit, officially misclassified as a vegetable for tax purposes, has a long, strange history - too long and strange to recount here. One wonders if some taxonomist invented that moniker and the Bloody Mary on the same day, and not in that order.

 

 

WHAT'S HOT

Stirring, but Unshakeable: Our parch-proof grasses are licensed to thrill

stirred not shakenWhen late summer winds blow as dry as a spy's martini, drought-defying grasses are merely stirred, not shaken. From aquatic to arid, there's a grass for every reason and every region. In high-stress, low-moisture situations, informed retailers and designers deploy drought-tolerant species like Andropogon gerardii, Festuca glauca, Nassella tenuissima, Panicum virgatum, and Schizachyrium scoparium that thrive where others wilt.

 

For the inside lowdown, interrogate our crack team of customer service agents. They'll happily spill more secrets to help you complete your most critical missions.

 

HORTISCOPE

Virgo: Remember, there are only two secrets to being happy and successful. #1: Never tell everything you know.

 

Libra: Keep your thumb off the scales as you weigh your options. Take a long hard look at the situation before doing exactly as you intended all along.

 

Vibra: Good, good, good, good vibrations for those born on the Virgo/Libra cusp. September has you humming harmoniously. Next month: Learn the words.

 

Aquarius: A pint's a pound the world around. Even for the water bearer, H2O is hefty stuff. May your shoulders be broad, strong and impervious in watershed moments.

 

Panicum Frosted ExplosionTRAY BON!

Annual Grasses Here's a niche begging to be discovered and exploited: Fast-finishing, easy-growing, flowering ornamentals, the perfect small pot to sell along with annuals and perennials alike.

 

Briza maxima, big quaking grass, has seed pods up to an inch long. Lagurus ovatus is as cute as its common name, "Bunny tails". Melinis nerviglumis 'Savannah', Pennisetum villosum "Feathertop grass", Eragrostis tef 'Ruby Silk' and Panicum elegans Frosted Explosion are also great in the vase as fresh cuts.

 

Don't dawdle: Order by October 1, and we'll ship liners in early March. 

 

Notes from the Trade Show Trail

So this Texan picks a fight with an Alaskan at the FarWest Show, right in front of my booth. The Texan is boasting non-stop about his State's superiority to anywhere else - a delusion that afflicts Texans who haven't been anywhere else. The fed-up Alaskan finally says, "Now you done it, Tex. I'm gonna go home, cut Alaska in half, and make you third largest."

 

FarWest is the Alaska of hort trade shows: If you cut it in half, it'd still be bigger'n most. Like many shows, it's downsized - not by half, but noticeably. Fewer vendors, fewer attendees, and still larger than life. Like the industry, it's more diverse than ever. I've attended and/or exhibited since the 80s, when flowering plant booths were islands in an ocean of woodies. You couldn't see the florists for the trees. Now, perennials, grasses and even annuals crop up in nearly every aisle.

 

To all friends, old and new, who visited Booth #3100, thanks for stopping by. Whatever your size, wherever you are in North America, we're here to help with our industry-leading, repertoire-enhancing liner selection.

 

In case you're wondering, that argument didn't really happen. On Day 3 of a three-day show, even an excellent one, there's time to daydream.

 

EPILOGUE

This festive month is not without its somber notes: 9/11/11 is, of course, the tenth anniversary of 9/11, period, the date that needs no year attached. It behooves us to observe a moment or more of silence to honor those who have had only silent moments since that terrible day, and their loved ones; and to mourn as well our sense of security that was simultaneously destroyed, never to return entirely.

 

I'll be marking the event by (gulp) flying. I think it's fair to expect TSA to have its knickers bunched in a particularly painful twist that day. And I think few flyers will mind.

 

John Friel

 

John Friel  

Marketing Manager    

jfriel@ecgrowers.com  

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 Pictured: Briza maxima

Briza maxima