Coastal Current  

November 2011   Issue #23

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 Alchemilla 

A Nomenclature Fable, Part I:

How does your fairy garden grow?

To many, these glorified dollhouses are too cute for their own good. But if your clients insist, Alchemilla (Lady's mantle) is a logical plant companion. The genus is named for medieval alchemists who, perhaps inspired by the silvery foliage and gold flowers, believed the jewel-like dewdrops on the velvety leaves could transmute base metals to noble ones. The fluid was deemed medicinal, and if dripped into the eyes, it enabled one to see fairies.

 

DOWN ON THE FARMS

Florida:  Night temps have dipped below 60 - perfect for producing cool-season grasses like Calamagrostis. We're buttoning up for even colder temps (yes, in Florida!) Our new half-acre grass propagation house in Milton got an early Xmas present: 4 new high-efficiency heaters, so annual grasses like Pennisetum 'Rubrum', 'Fireworks', and 'Skyrocket' stay cozy as our divisions become your liners. That's 8 heaters total in that block, for flexibility and redundancy. Redundancy = safety. You can say that again.

 

New heaters fro annual grasses

 

Pennsylvania:  The heat is on! We've fired up the propagation greenhouses, but not (brrr!) the office, yet. Priorities, y'know. As I type, we're getting a freak early snowstorm. Our crew is diligently dibbling Achillea, Aquilegia, Polemonium and more for your future planting pleasure.

 

November is wedding season for our Amish neighbors. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, local roads are a scary giant slalom course with buggies as moving pylons. For more seasonal facts and factoids, see our R.U.F. Department. 

 

Amish buggies

 

RANDOM USELESS FACTS DEPARTMENT

Until 153 BC, November was, as its name implies, the ninth month. We still call it that because the Latin for 'eleventh' would make it (yuck!) Undecimber. By any name, the penultimate month loves a party. If you're a fan of International Drum Month, beat it. We prefer Drumstick Day, a.k.a. Thanksgiving. England has a blast on Guy Fawkes Day, a.k.a. Gunpowder Day, the 5th. Ladies, lace up your sneakers for the 13th, Sadie Hawkins Day, our only cartoon-based holiday. Free on the 15th? Consider observing Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day. Come the 24th, you'll be thankful you did. 

 

TRAY BON Slam-DŁnk.

The versatile little Beetle couldn't quite handle 7'1" Wilt. But it can accommodate folks who stand a mere 6'7" or so.

Wilt, VW's & Arundo 

Smaller gardens can't quite handle massive grasses like 14' Arundo donax 'Variegata'. But you can enhance them with our versatile little giant, 7' Arundo 'Golden Chain'. If an old Veedub is your planter, make sure it has a sunroof. Then upshift our beefy 21s for a fast finish. 
 

HORTISCOPE

Sagittarius: The surnames Archer, Arrowsmith, Bowman, Bowyer, Boyer, Butt and Fletcher all derive from your ancient but still potent weapon. Stay taut but flexible, and keep your efforts firmly targeted. All arrows point to success.

Scorpio: Didn't you just have a 'scope last month? Don't be greedy.

Sagipio: Don't dis the denizens of the Scorpio/Sagittarius cusp! Their sign may sound like an Italian appetizer, but their arrows are poisoned. Stay on their good side. 

Aquarius: Your aqua-centric pursuits will drain you if pursued too hotly. Take a break between laps and be careful in the deep end.  

WHAT'S HOT

Delosperma FireSpinnerTM It may be oxymoronic, but "hot ice plant" aptly captures this South African discovery. Brace yourself for a spring eruption of flickering, flame-orange petals around smokin' red/purple/yellow hubs. Expect sporadic summer flare-ups amid glossy apple-green foliage. Limited numbers -- book NOW for late February shipment!
 

Delosperma FireSpinner
Delosperma FireSpinnerTM 

  

A Nomenclature Fable, Part II

We now know alchemy was a scam, and if you really want to see fairies, or Yetis, you probably will. But early one moisty morn, I wandered sleepily afield to where the lady's mantle grows, plucked a bejeweled leaf and shook the dewdrops into my bleary eyes. Refreshing, nothing more. But later, I nearly ran over two fairies at a Starbucks drive-thru. Those little guys have NO street smarts! They're dumber than squirrels! They need a safe place to hang out. Someone should plant them a garden.  

 

A New Presidentiad! Countdown to Boston

Yours Truly has been President of the Perennial Plant Association for a whole month now. Past Prez John Hoffman taught me the secret handshake, and the Secret Service guys are cool, mostly. A big Thank You! to all who've offered encouragement.

 

Seriously, folks, we live in interesting times. Ours is a leaner, keener trade whose practitioners scrutinize every outlay. But challenging times are no time to stop honing your craft or supporting your industry. Yes, this is a blatant plug for the PPA, and all hort dot-orgs. My fellow President Teddy Roosevelt put it bluntly, as was his wont: "Every man owes a part of his time and money to the business or industry in which he is engaged." To paraphrase another Presidents' Club member: It's fair to ask what your Association can do for you, but it's cooler to ask what you can do for your Association.

 

Happy Undecimber. Don't forget to vote.

 

 

You want   

You Want 'Friesland' With That? 

 

 

 

John Friel  

Marketing Manager    

jfriel@ecgrowers.com  

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