August 2014   Issue #56  

Monarda Jacob Cline



Hot Enough For Ya?


Think it's hot where you are? Hah! Be glad you're not trying to keep cuttings turgid where I am: Grand Canyon, where August afternoons often hit 120°F, the air is as dry as a mummy's sigh, and the relentless sun makes you feel like an ant tortured and torched by a mean little kid with a magnifying glass. But the Canyon's beauty, scale and endless improbable formations are even more breathtaking than the heat.

It's Grand.




Down on the Farms



Space: The vinyl frontier! We've added new growing space at our Milton grass farm to the tune of 11 bays of Atlas greenhouses, and we've broken ground on a new half-acre-plus at our Pensacola HQ. The latter structure converts outdoor growing space into controlled-environment space, to give your starters the best possible start - especially in atypical winters like the one we just had. If you think Florida doesn't really do winter, think again. It's not always hot hot hot down thar.
Emerald Coast Growers


Our small but invaluable trial garden here in PA is well-maintained (by Nick, our Transportation Coordinator) and watered when necessary, like a real-world garden, for real-world results and photo ops. We're happy to report that  Panicum 'Hot Rod', Stokesia 'Divinity' and new genetics from  Star Roses & Plants (Achillea Moon Dust, Nepeta Junior Walker and the Veronica Moody Blues series) handled our nasty winter with aplomb and came back looking mahvellous, as advertised. Speaking of real: All four varieties of the Real Leucanthemum series are also performing beautifully. Really.
Leucanthemum 'Real Galaxy'
'Real Galaxy'



Random Useless Facts Department


What do artificial turf and the Southwest have in common? Vicious heat. "Astroturf" surfaces can reach a blistering 170°F. Even at 120°F (about 49°C for our Canadian readers, who will never experience any such thing at home), the Canyon is not the hottest natural place in the world. That dubious distinction belongs to Death Valley, with a searing 134°F (57°C) recorded in 1913.

Death Valley in Eastern California's Mojave Desert




Agastache 'Heatwave', Arizona & Summer series; Achillea Desert Eve; Delosperma Jewel of Desert; & Gaillardia Arizona & Mesa series Do we have a theme going here, or has it crossed the line into obsession? Either way, it's a good excuse to mention the new Agastache Arizona series, coming on line in December. Can't wait? 'Heatwave' and three of the five Summer series are good to go right now. Achillea Desert Eve varieties won't rear their lovely heads again til February, but we've got enough 'Moonshine' to thrill a hillbilly.

We're showing respectable numbers of all six of the splendidly-endowed, oddly-named Delosperma Jewel of Desert series -- an ironic moniker for "ice plant," yes? - with more in October. (Coincidentally, the Colorado River has a series of six icy rapids named for gemstones.) Which brings us to the burnished hues of Gaillardia: We're amply endowed with two each of the Arizona and Mesa varieties, with the Sun and Sunset types coming on at year's end. Get 'em while they're What's Hot!
Delosperma Jewel of Desert Garnet
Delosperma 'Jewel of Desert Garnet'


Gaillardia 'Arizona Apricot'
Gaillardia 'Arizona Apricot'



Leo: If you seek your sign's most awe-inspiring avatar, look beyond the Americas. Only the mountain lion, Puma concolor, prowls this continent, and he's a pussycat compared to Africa's Panthera leo. If you meet either apex feline, tread carefully. You've just dropped a notch on the food chain, and he doesn't care what your sign is, baby.
Panthera leo




Tray Bon!

This month it's also tray nouveau: Five items debuting in our just-released catalog - did you get yours yet? -- have already popped up on current Availability. In the ornamental grass category, welcome Schizachyrium 'Prairie Munchkin', an Illinois selection of our native little bluestem. Blue-green summer foliage turns vivid red-orange in fall. Shifting to perennials, check out a tasty entree from Terra Nova. Penstemon 'Boysenberry Taffy' (also looking great in PA) launches spikes of wine-berry trumpets with white throats. New to us is Fragaria 'Lipstick', a nifty red ornamental strawberry with lots of red flowers. Finally, you really must try two new SunsparklerŪ series Sedum from breeder Chris Hansen, 'Firecracker' and 'Jade Tuffet'. They got lots of admiring comments in our booth at the recent Cultivate '14 in Columbus.
Emerald Coast growers
2014-2015 Catalog
Schizachyrium 'Prairie Munchkin'
Schizachyrium 'Prairie Munchkin'

Penstemon 'Boysenberry Taffy'
Penstemon 'Boysenberry Taffy'


About the time you're reading this, I'm hiking into the furnace, down Bright Angel Trail to Phantom Ranch, chugging water and dodging mules. Once there, I'll hop a raft and float 140 miles of the cocoa-brown Colorado for 10 days of knee-buckling scenery wrapped around stomach-churning, boat-eating rapids. The air is brutally hot, the river shockingly cold: At 50°, the Colorado can take you from hyperthermia to hypothermia in minutes. Having a Grand time. Wish you were here.




John Friel  

Marketing Manager 

Give us your feedback