A Time for Baseball, Brides & Barbecue
A pretty day in June is just about as pretty as it gets in pretty much all of North America. It's a lovely interlude between the mood swings of spring and the blast-furnace heat of summer, a time to breathe as retail madness recedes, a time to count your blessings -- especially those that come in the form of cash register receipts.
DOWN ON THE FARMS
We're gearing up for the summer trade show season, starting with the OFA Short Course in Columbus, OH. New growing space is in play, and the trial gardens are filling out nicely, yielding a ripe harvest of data on future introductions - some of which you'll see very soon, in our new catalog which we'll launch, as usual, at the aforementioned OFA Short Course. Swing by Booth 1905 for your copy, and check us out in New Varieties section 102.
A slew of material has left our benches for yours, but we're filling that just-emptied space with the new cell flats you'll need before you know it. Head grower Andy and assistant Derek are playing mother hen to brave young seedlings, cuttings and divisions as they become finished trays of Aquilegia, Asclepias, Gaillardia, Imperata and Platycodon, to name just a few. In the starter plant business, 'tis always the season to gaze into the crystal ball and plan for our customers' future.
ARE YOU BOOKED FOR B.C.?
The Perennial Plant Association's National Symposium goes International this year as we convene in Vancouver, British Columbia. Regional Director Gary Lewis (Phoenix Perennials) and his merry crew have assembled a great slate of seminars and tours. If you haven't registered yet, it's time! We're talking next month, already - July 21 - 27, to be precise. Ain't it funny how time slips away?
For more info and to register: www.perennialplant.org. Seriously, if you haven't been to BC or the Pacific Northwest, don't let this (tax-deductible!) opportunity get away. If you HAVE been, I don't need to tell you how sweet it is. Either way, make sure your passport is current, and join us in Vancouver. We'll all be glad you did, eh?
RANDOM USELESS FACTS DEPARTMENT: Successful transplants
Last week, a red fox swam across the river ahead of my kayak. He (or she, I didn't ask) is descended from animals brought from England in the 18th century, to be hunted. Foxglove arrived about the same time, also from England. Coincidence? Yes. The latter's name has nought to do with bushy-tailed Reynard; foxes glofa is Old English for "finger glove," i.e., the bell-shaped flower. We don't stock Vulpes vulpes, but we're your happy hunting ground for wily Digitalis mertonensis and D. purpurea. Tally ho!
Those wild Georgia mountain boys at Itsaul Plants have gone all ZZ Top on us with the Cruizin' Series of Coreopsis hybrids. We've got a tankful of 'Route 66' and 'Sunset Strip', and will soon put the pedal to the metal on 'Broad Street', 'Main Street' and 'Electric Avenue', my nominee for best plant name for a yellow-flowering perennial.
Gemini: Quit preening in the mirror, you vain thing... oh, wait. That's not a mirror. Your signmates include author Ben Jonson and sprinter Ben Johnson, Bob Dylan, Arthur Conan Doyle, Marilyn Monroe, and the redundant Olsen twins. Alas, you also rub cosmic elbows with Jeffrey Dahmer, Donald Trump and Boy George, so don't get cocky.
Cancer: You have an ugly name and an uglier avatar. But join us for dinner anyway, and bring your twin along. Heck, bring a whole bushel of your ilk & kin. Fortunately, you're delicious with melted butter, a little Old Bay and a squeeze of lemon.
Indigenous plants, grasses included, are in demand, and we've got over a dozen genera of grasses that called North America home long before Columbus hit up Ferdinand and Isabella for those three ships. Now gardeners and designers are discovering that natives are beautiful, versatile, colorful and tough as nails. Plant your flag in our liners of Andropogon, Boutelloua, Carex, Chasmanthium, Panicum, Schizachyrium and many many more. Get 'em while they're hot.
I've left steamy PA for steamier FL as you read this, putting the finishing touches on that new catalog. A catalog is like a three-year old. Just when you think you've put it to bed, all tucked in so you can relax for a year, suddenly it's tugging at your sleeve, demanding a drink of water and a story. And three new descriptions, four price changes and two photo captions. Darn kids.