September ushers in autumn, a time for quiet reflection on life's mysteries, like: Why is the 'n' in 'autumn' silent? C'mon, Noah Webster, why attach it if we can't enunciate it? We won't waste a column on this conundrum, but we won't condemn your efforts to explain it. We'll sing you a solemn hymn of praise if you can limn a plausible exegesis.
DOWN ON THE FARMS
Florida: Remember the Alamo?
To expand our seed production facility, we razed a small glass greenhouse that we'd used since Day 1. It was the last house standing from the landscape nursery, dating to the 1950s, that occupied our Klondike Road location before the Babikows purchased the property in 1990. As ECG grew, the inefficient little old survivor became known, fondly, as The Alamo.
It served bravely to the end.
Pennsylvania: The Green, Green Grass of Home
Three consecutive wetter-than-normal months have kept PA green all summer. About now, many years, our lawns crunch like shredded wheat. But in 2013, the song of the Lawn-Boy still rings though the land. Tired of mowing? Try carefree native Carex pensylvanica, a shabby-chic informal alternative lawn/shade groundcover. Once established, it needs grooming just once or twice a year.
Random Useless Facts Department
The word 'autumn' derives from old French autompne, older even than Latin autumnus. In various languages, this sweet season is simply "harvest," e.g., German herbst (as in Sedum 'Herbstfreude', a.k.a. Autumn Joy) and Scots hairst. The etymology of 'fall' is more vague; apparently rooted in old English fiaell, it's fallen out of favor in the UK and falls far more freely from the lips here in America.
Thunderstorms prowl the horizon in PA and FL as I type. I pity you western denizens who rarely experience these wonderful celestial pyrotechnics. But you can compensate (marginally) with Sedum 'Thundercloud' and 'Cloud Walker'.
'Thundercloud': A billowing nimbus of white/pink starry flowers over hills of toothy, grey-green foliage. Electrifying in container or border.
'Cloud Walker': A perfect storm of big mauve blooms over contrasting blue-tinged succulent foliage. Compact and sturdy, with an unusual vase-shaped habit.
Put a cloud on your horizon, and brighten your sales forecast. They're great plants.
Of course, they're nothing like real thunder & lightning...but this is!
Virgo: Attention to detail is your most annoying strength. Lighten up, or go all the way and get your CPA credentials. The green industry needs more bean counters.
Libra: You crave peace and balance, but your sign is ruled by Venus, goddess of whoopee. You're doomed. Scrap the scales. Grow something that sells by the piece, not by weight. Cut flowers are always welcome. Try Sedum and Echinacea.
Vibra: Persnicketyness x passion = cusp dwellers with no accounting for taste and no taste for accounting. Average it out: Hybridize with a statistician and have 2.4 kids.
MIX IT UP! Succulent September swings smoothly on with Sedum "Triple Play Mix," an ECG exclusive SunSparkler sample: three hot new varieties in one tray. You'll get two dozen each of 'Cherry Tart', 'Dazzleberry' and 'Lime Zinger' for your planting pleasure.
Let's do the math: If you order one tray each of Sempervivum "Chicks Mix," Sedum "Triple Play Mix" and Sedum "Color Mix," you'll get 172 plants -- a lucky 13 varieties of succulents -- in a single box! We think that's a pretty juicy deal.
Epilog: The nth Degree
So now we know more about autumn, but we've failed to solve its silent 'n' conundrum. And frankly, my dears, we don't give a you-know-what. Keep reflecting - quietly, please, we're trying to meditate here, too.