Coastal Current   

April 2014   Issue #52


Dreaming of a White... Easter?

For much of March here in PA, we caught ourselves humming Christmas jingles whilst tooling along the country roads twixt home and workplace. The world was still as white & bright as a Crosby and Hope flick. Even as I type, March 30, a slick sleety slush despoils our roads.


Noel, Noel... Begone, Polar Vortex! Enough!



Don't Eat the Daisies. Eat the Fries.

April 11 marks the anniversary of the death of Luther Burbank, the visionary plant breeder who gave us, indirectly, fast-food French fries. The Russet Burbank, ca. 1875, is still the preferred spud for food processors.   


Want fries with your flats? Sorry, wrong window. But we can serve up eight delicious variations on another famous Burbank creation, Leucanthemum xsuperbum. Breeders have tinkered with the Shasta daisy ever since L.B. introduced it to the world. Our faves:      


'Alaska': Named by the master himself in 1904 after 15 years of patiently crossing and re-crossing four species. Can't beat that pedigree.

'Becky': Large of flower, sturdy of stem and tolerant of heat, this PPA Perennial Plant of the Year winner is the preferred variety for Southern gardens.

'Snowcap': A dwarf form with masses of big, clean white flowers all summer.

'Snow Lady': Even smaller, great for containers. Early-flowering, with lots of big white blooms. Also an award-winner!

Real series: A striking double-flowered group from England. Choose from fluffy 'Real Dream', fringed 'Real Galaxy', frilly 'Real Glory' and fluted 'Real Neat'.



What Does the Foxglove Say?

Digitalis purpurea 'Foxy' is a must-have semi-perennial (actually a biennial), with show-stopping towers of flowers in a mix of pastel hues.     


The Dalmatian series includes Crème, Peach, Purple, Rose & White.  

D. mertonensis
is perhaps a bit less showy than those above, but it's the truly hardy one of the bunch.     


Whichever you choose, the splendidly spotted blooms will have you yelling "Jacha-jacha-chacha-chow! Fraka-kaka-kaka-kow!"       


When you've got that out of your system, and not a moment before, call us to order. Thank you.



When the eagle flies with the dove

Quick: What perennial gets its common name from the Latin for dove, its scientific name from the Latin for eagle, and marketing names from the English for at least nine other avian species?   


Bzzzt! Time's up. It's Aquilegia, the lovely columbine. Columba = dove; Aquila = eagle. We offer 'Swan Pink-Yellow' from the Swan series, and a mix of the Songbird series. This pulchritudinous potpourri contains many of the separate colors bred in Colorado in the 1980s: 'Bluebird', 'Blue Jay', 'Bunting', 'Dove' (redundancy alert!), 'Goldfinch', 'Nightingale', 'Red Wing' and 'Robin'.    


We also grow A. canadensis, the Origami series, and Clementine® Dark Purple. They don't fit this fine feathered theme, but they're splendid specimens nonetheless.

Aquilegia Blue-White  



Aries: Happy Birthday, fellow Arians! Who's hosting the party this year? I'll bring the goat cheese and cud.

Taurus: You can come and have a snort, but tread lightly around the good china. We don't want a repeat of last year's shattering experience.  

Tauries: Tread carefully on the cusp. When the Ram and the Bull butt heads, be anywhere but in the middle.




There are two sweet sides to the pit bull winter of 2013-14:


1. Many borderline-hardy plants probably didn't survive it.
Homeowner's cloud = growers' and landscapers' silver lining.




2. In tests at Virginia Tech, sustained low temperatures caused up to 95% mortality among Halyomorpha halys, the infamous, ubiquitous, pestiferous brown marmorated stinkbug. Still 5% too low, but a good start.    


Noel, noel...


  John Friel



John Friel  

Marketing Manager 

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