June 2012 Issue #30
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James Russell Lowell declared June "the high tide of the year." He gushed, "Then, if ever, come perfect days." The year in question was 1848, and he's still right.
June brings Father's Day, Flag Day, the Belmont Stakes, the summer solstice and much more, but it's best known for its tide of brides. The traditional marrying month in much of Western civilization is key for florists who love the business despite the Bridezillas.
DOWN ON THE FARMS
Our Panicum and Miscanthus fields have undergone their yearly Phoenix-like rebirth. Sedum production is juicing along nicely. I'm heading down to work on our new catalog, which debuts as usual at the OFA Short Course, July 14-16. A catalog is like a three-year old. You put it to bed thinking you can relax for a year, and suddenly it's tugging at your sleeve, demanding a drink of water and a story. Plus six new descriptions, ten price changes and a photo caption.
A fresh face: Amanda Mueller, the new voice of ECG North, brings her broadcast journalism background to bear on answering our phone, calling customers to arrange pickups and deliveries, and handling paperwork for FOB PA shipments.
Helleborus: Thanks to excellent germination of last July's sowing and high production yields from recent dibbling, we're looking at probably our best hellebore crop ever. Availability
of 'Ballard Strain' and the Lady series (Blue, Pink, Red, Yellow) starts later this very month. Book this in-demand genus ASAP!
RANDOM USELESS FACTS DEPT.
* 2.4 million brides will say "I do," "I will" or "You betcha!" in the US this year.
* 9,000 people will take out a marriage license and never use it.
* In colonial Virginia, a barrel of broadleaf purchased a "tobacco bride" from Europe.
* Traditional wedding flowers include marigolds, roses, Artemisia, garlic, thyme, tulips, gardenias, hydrangeas, peonies, orange blossoms, stephanotis and ivy.
* If you're someone's best man in 2012 America, you've got it easy. Centuries ago, the groom would tap the best swordsman he knew, to protect the bride from kidnappers - or to help him kidnap her. In Greece, the best man buys all the booze.
Emerald Coast Growers parachutes into the exciting arena of plant introductions with three homegrown newcomers. They're new, they're hot, they're native, they're ours!
Muhlenbergia capillaris 'Fast Forward' PPAF sprays a fine mist of delicate purple flowers over neat foliage clumps, blooming weeks earlier than most of the genus.
Panicum virgatum 'Hot Rod' PPAF revs up into the red zone faster than any other switchgrass. Green blades start changing early and don't quit til the whole plant is deep burgundy.
Stokesia laevis 'Divinity' PPAF Large, long-lasting flowers open with a coy hint of yellow at center, then mature to celestial white. Cue the harps!
You're a stew of contradictions: Generous and devious, smart but flighty, lively but tense. If you were a mixed container, you'd contain cacti and kelp.
Cancer: OK, so your symbol is a bottom-feeding trash picker. Deal with it. Don't be discouraged from clawing your way to the top, but stay out of hot water.
Sedum 'Autumn Joy', Autumn Charm™, Autumn Delight™, 'Autumn Fire'
It's hard to think ahead to autumn when summer's still on the launch pad, but these autumnally-named plants look and sell swell in warm weather. It all started with 'Autumn Joy'; the others are later variations on the classic theme, with flowers that sprout like broccoli and ripen to various pinks & reds. Why stop at succulents? Try Autumn fern (Dryopteris), too. Go ahead, be a fall guy!
Epilogue: What is so rare?
Mathematically, a day in June is neither more nor less rare than a day in March: Each represents 1/365th of the calendar's quota. But there's no poetry in numbers and there's plenty in June. It's the pentameter of sunlight, birdsong and the last day of school, the rhythm of rapture and release. Gather ye rosebuds & profits while ye may.