December 2011 Issue #24
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Snow, lovely snow, is at once the best and worst of winter. It's beautiful, and it's inconvenient. It's heartswellingly lovely, and heartburstingly heavy. It's profitable, if you own ski slopes or plows, costly and destructive if you own greenhouses.
Snow is instructive and humbling. Next blizzard, gaze across the fresh crisp blanket that just buried your garden. Marvel at its ephemeral beauty. Try to calculate how many individual flakes comprise that blanket.
Now ponder the counterintuitive factoid that of all those uncountable tiny components, no two are alike. Some quantifiable difference divides THIS flake from THAT flake and each of its myriad neighbors. My brain hurts.
DOWN ON THE FARMS
Florida Sometimes, ÷ = x
Don't try this in math class, but our Milton farm is dividing to multiply Miscanthus and other hardy grasses. Early each winter, our crews turn big field-grown roots into uniform liners, so you can make 'em big again next year.
In Pennisetum pyrotechnics, we're playing with 'Fireworks', oohing and aahing over 'Skyrocket', but just getting the fuse lit on 'Cherry Sparkler'. Expect smaller numbers of that Celebration Series sibling.
We've got 'Rubrum' coming on in big numbers, too, of course, but bear in mind, it also goes away in big numbers. Don't miss the availability window on this key variety!
Appropriate technology has improved life for the flora and (human) fauna here. Most perennial and grass plugs are easily hand-plucked; others, like Aquilegia, resent handling. Our new plug dislodger efficiently evicts the tough and touchy ones. Less stem damage to fat-rooted seedlings + less soil loss on lighter ones = easier dibbling, better survival, happier crews and beaming bean counters. A sound investment.
Eragrostis elliottii 'Tallahassee Sunset'
The common name "blue love grass" doesn't do this American native justice. Spring brings an eruption of subtle Easter-egg hues. Summer inspires elegant mounds of silver-blue blades, with dainty white flowers maturing to light tan.
But that's merely the prelude. Cool fall nights launch the grand finale, painting the leaves a pastel rainbow of rose, peach and purple, colorful as sundown over Lake Jackson. 'Tallahassee Sunset' is just 2' tall, hardy in USDA Zones 7-10, and easy to finish from our sturdy 38s. Don't let the sun go down on your grass list without it!
Sagittarius: Sling yourself forward through the Zodiac and tell Aquarius you're Cupid's new archery coach. The boy's aim needs improving before his big day.
Capricorn: Quell your goatish urge to caper about capriciously on Capri in your Chevy Caprice. Make a Queen Anne table with cabriole legs instead. Grow some honeysuckle (Caprifolaceae). Here's lookin' at you, kid.
Capritarius: The Sagittarius/Capricorn cusp is a jagged seam, and ... oops. Goats & arrows are also an awkward combination. Anyone got a good chevon recipe?
Iberis sempervirens 'Little Gem'
Good things come in small containers!
Low-growing, low-maintenance "candytuft" is right up there with Phlox subulata as one of Spring's most familiar harbingers. This diminutive cutie lives up to both parts of its name, spreading to form rounded mounds just 6" high. Gleaming white flowers smother the dark-green, needle-like foliage. 'Little Gem' is ideal for troughs and perfectly at home in even the smallest urban garden. Order now for January shipment in well-rooted 72s.
Snowblind yet? Close those dazzled eyes and ponder this: Like any single entity in that googol of crystals, you, too, are multifaceted and unique - just like everyone else. Uniqueness is the commonest commonality that ever fell from the sky.
So get over yourself. Being unique doesn't necessarily make us special: Sometimes it just means we're a bunch of flakes.
From all of our flakes to all of yours, have a splendid holiday season. See you back here in a month or so.