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Cut up the year like pizza for 12, and no one will fight you for the March slice. It's a full plate: part-frozen, part-soggy, insanely busy. Yo-yoing between spring and winter (often in the same day), this mercurial wedgie is named for Mars, Roman god of war. Before Julius Caesar imposed the Julian calendar, Martius was the first month of the year. Which, y'know, makes perfect sense: This really is when everything starts.


Down on the Farms


It's kind to invite Pennsylvanians to Florida for a mid-winter respite, cruel to send us home. Last week: Shorts, short sleeves, sandals, shades, top-down driving. This week: Short temper, shivering, shoveling, woodshed, defroster, Yaktrax. But I'm happy to report, first-hand, that great-looking liners are shipping from Pensacola. Calamagrostis 'Karl Foerster', Pennisetum 'Fireworks' and the Royal Collection have never been better -- and you should see our new production space at Milton!


Calamagrostis Karl Foerster




As I type, crusty heaps of the S-word surround the greenhouses. But incrementally the days lengthen, and inside, sleepy chlorophyll yawns and stirs. Looking particularly spiffy are Achillea Desert Eve series, Polemonium 'Touch of Class', Gaillardia Arizona series (see What's Hot), and Isolepis. Heuchera 'Marvelous Marble' and 'Palace Purple' are, as usual, totally unfazed by winter. They just hunker down and ignore it. Must be nice to have that kind of antifreeze in one's vascular system.

Another Nor'easter looms. Another research trip South sounds like a great idea.



Polemonium 'Touch of Class'



Asides of March: Random Useless Facts Department

Nobody talks about the Ides of July, but every month has ides. They're the halfway point. And though March's proved fatal to Caesar, they're welcome around here as a sign that spring, glorious spring, draws nigh, and the eternal flame of the greenhouse furnace, like the Sochi torch, will soon be snuffed.







WhatsHotIdeas of March: What's Hot

Just saying "Arizona" makes me feel warm, but don't let the name fool you: The Gaillardia Arizona series is tough enough even for Zone 3, where they laugh in harsh, sarcastic tones at our Zone 6 winters. Go lick a flagpole, Zone 3, we're freezing down here, too.

This group impresses with vigorous, compact, uniform growth, first-year flowering and clean, silver-green foliage. Warm up sales with 'Arizona Sun', 'Arizona Red Shades' and 'Arizona Apricot'.


Arizona Series




Tides of March: Hortiscope

Pisces: When fishing for compliments, use your best bait. Bring your A game, and you'll always take home a full creel.
Aries: Have an Orange Julius, but eschew the Caesar salad. You know what happens when you eat raw ova.

Goatfish: Fact: Trendy Romans served goatfish (Mullus barbatus) live so guests could watch their dinner change color as it died. Uh, thanks, I'll have the tuna melt.


Prides of March: Tray Bon!

Scabiosa 'Pink Mist'

This pretty sibling of 'Butterfly Blue' was among our first perennial offerings. It's still a steady seller (see Availability), but now it costs you less to grow: US Plant Patent #8957 has expired. Bye-bye, 10 royalty. It's a tribute to David Tristram's breeding that 'Pink Mist' is still a viable entity 20+ years after its introduction.

Plant patents have been running out since 1947 (they were first good for 17 years) when protection elapsed on USPP#1, Henry Bosenberg's climbing rose, but this expiration is a first for us. May we all stick around to see many more come and go.


Scabiosa 'Pink Mist'




May your pizza be warm & savory, your seafood perfectly cooked, and despite its martial moniker, may your March be peaceful. Fat chance, right? March madness is synonymous with college basketball now, but we invented it. We'll get a tranquil March when New Orleans substitutes a quiet little church picnic for Mardi Gras.

Hang in there. See you in April, when things will be even weirder -- but, knock wood, warmer.




 John Friel

John Friel  

Marketing Manager

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