October 2012 Issue #34
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The Father of His Country's what?
You'd think Pennsylvania Dutch country would kick up its heels on Mule Day, but you'd be wrong. Even our Amish employees were unaware that on October 26, 1785, Virginia farmer George Washington received a Catalonian donkey from King Charles III of Spain and set about breeding America's first mules. It's impossible now to picture a mule-free Amish farm, but somehow they tilled Lancaster County's rich clay for over half a century without those vigorous hybrids, by George.
DOWN ON THE FARMS
The big news down South is new construction at our farm in Milton, FL, where we're adding growing space to accommodate your increased business. We're also revamping our shipping house layout and equipment to better handle more volume. We thank you profusely for making this necessary!
* Picking up at our Lancaster site saves you big freight $$, but please don't assume your Florida-grown starters have arrived early in the designated ship week. The delivery day varies, but it's almost never Monday. Ergo, If we haven't called to say your order is ready, call before you come! We hate to turn you away empty-handed, and we know you hate to waste the trip. So please, check first at 717-392-3387. Thanks! This is a rare but irksome problem, and we're working on it.
* The Perennial Plant Conference offers 5 great speakers at Swarthmore College (a.k.a. Scott Arboretum) Friday, October 19. Attendees get free admission to Longwood Gardens and Chanticleer that weekend. http://www.perennialplantconference.org
RANDOM USELESS FACTS DEPARTMENT: Arachnophilia
Ever wonder why Tradescantia is called spiderwort? It's not the foliage or the flower, it's the stem. When cut, it oozes a viscous fluid that dries to silky threads, not unlike a spiderweb. Ever wonder why Tradescantia is called Tradescantia? The Latin name honors the two John Tradescants, pater et fils, botanists and royal gardeners to England's King Charles I, not to be confused with the Spanish donkey donor.
Chips off the old broomstick
Dark pink Dianthus 'Wicked Witch' and cherry red 'Red Beauty' are siblings conjured up in the Carolinas. Their mom's a witch, too: they're sports of Firewitch ('Feuerhexe'), a PPA Plant of the Year. Forget eye of newt & toe of frog, stir a little sportin' Southern mojo into your selection to cast a spell on your customers.
Libra: When weighing your options, first, be as fair and unbiased as possible. Then, put your thumb on the pan of your choice and do what you were going to do all along.
Scorpio: Stinging zingers may be your forte, but remember: Words, like bullets, are impossible to recall once fired off. Know when to ease up, dummy.
Chiroptera: We hereby declare a new Zodiac sign honoring Bat Appreciation Month... a.k.a. October, unless you're a Philadelphia baseball fan. RIP, 2012 Phillies.
Thanks to recent production, we'll soon be lush with liners of Hakonechloa. There's PPA Plant of the Year H. macra 'Aureola', solid green H. macra, solid gold 'All Gold', chameleon-like 'Naomi', and minty green & white 'Fubuki'. First availability dates range from November to January. Order online or call our friendly customer service gang, and get a jump on potting this popular genus of shade-loving ornamental grasses.
Autumn announces her imminent arrival with her usual calling cards, a slow-motion cascade of colored leaves. Nights are longer and colder, top-down-driving days dwindle, but the best camping weather has begun. We've entered arguably the finest time of the whole year in the so-called Temperate Zone, where summer and winter are no such thing. If Mule Day doesn't trip your trigger, don't be stubborn. Celebrate something else, like National Pierogie Day (10/8) or that obscure little "Halloween" thingy, as we plow on into this lovely shoulder season.