November 2014 Issue #59  One Wonders Why   

Emerald Coast Growers Coastal Current



...was about to head south to determine if our Florida folk were being candid about their allegedly world-class fall weather. The numbers looked, and the stories sounded, almost too good. Could reality match the plaudits? Or could it be that the searing, wringing-humid summers had warped their perspective? Read on.




Florida: The Facts

Everything the Panhandlers say about a Pensacola autumn is true. Each day was mild, sun-kissed, breeze-caressed. The jade-green sea looked Photoshopped, sunsets were downright gaudy, and we kayaked in shorts and shirtsleeves. Best of all, the tourist herd had shuffled back to Buffalo. One wonders why.

Emerald Coast Growers Coastal Current

At our Milton grass farm, I watched a nifty new planter line out liners by the acre, simultaneously installing irrigation tape. More flexible than its predecessor, it can optimize spacing for Lilliputian Miscanthus 'Gold Breeze', Brobdingnagian Arundo donax, and everything in between with equal aplomb and precision.

At Klondike Road HQ, a spacy-looking LED germination chamber, still in beta mode, is already enhancing our seed-spawned crops. Eerie looking, but young plants love it. If you could hook this thing up to your stereo, you'd have one heck of a light show. Break out the mirror ball, it's Panicum at the Disco!
John Friel Emerald Coast Growers
John Friel - "Break out the mirror ball, it's Panicum at the Disco!"


Pennsylvania: A Rakish Place

I hated to leave all that Florida sunshine. Autumn in the North hath its charms also, but short-pants season is over except for those macho guys who bare their legs all year. One wonders why. As I type, our first frost is expected any day. Long sinewy Vs of geese wedge the sky apart. It's time to plant garlic and mulch it with leaves, of which there is no shortage. The trial garden has a new irrigation system and will soon boast new shade beds. Inside, our production folks are divvying Festuca 'Elijah Blue' and 'Boulder Blue' and sowing Carex testacea for your future planting pleasure. The cordwood is stacked, the hatches battened. 
Bring it on, winter!

Festuca 'Elijah Blue'
Festuca 'Elijah Blue'

Ireland: Hands Across the Water! 

VP of Finance Al Mueller found a sly way to expense part of his Hibernian hiatus: He visited Fitzgerald Nursery in Kilkenny, source of the popular EverColor Carex collection. Pat Fitzgerald started his nursery on the family farm about the time ECG opened. He now has two growing locations and a TC lab to help ramp up numbers of new varieties. Al got a sneak preview of potential additions to 'Everdi', Everest, 'Everillo', 'Everlime', 'Everoro' and 'Eversheen', but of course, we're sworn to secrecy. Back home, Al learned to his sorrow that once you've slaked your thirst at the headwaters of the river Guinness, the stout by the same name on tap in the States is a pale impersonation of the real, fresh thing in its native habitat. Sláinte!
Emerald Coast Growers
Fitzgerald Nursery in Kilkenny, Ireland





Things you might not know about Pensacola, our home sweet home: 

 It's so far west - almost due south of Chicago -- it's in the Central Time Zone. 

 Since Don Tristan de Luna waded ashore in 1559, the flags of five nations have flown over these sugar-white sands. Can you name them? 

 Confederate forces once held what is now Naval Air Station Pensacola, home of the Blue Angels. Had the South won, would they be the Gray Angels? 

 Apache warrior Geronimo and his braves were imprisoned at nearby Fort Pickens. 

 Ornamental grasses just grow better here. Why go elsewhere? Oh... you knew that.

Emerald Coast Growers
Ornamental Grasses from Emerald Coast Growers





Cameo Appearances! 

Regular readers of our fascinating Availability know that we can do some of the plants all of the time, and all of the plants some of the time, but yada yada yada. Right now, though, some frequent AWOL items are ready to make the leap from our benches to your pots. Stuff like Bouteloua 'Blonde Ambition', a neat native. Carex 'Treasure Island' is so fickle, we don't even have it in the catalog. Carex testacea is more cooperative, but demand often outstrips supply. Get 'em while they're What's Hot!


Bouteloua 'Blonde Ambition'
Bouteloua 'Blonde Ambition'





Scorpio: It's time to conquer your over-the-top, beyond-ironic fear of scorpions. It's bad enough that they're your symbol, but you live in Pittsburgh! Get over it. 

Sagittarius: Take your bow & arrow over to Scorpio's place and offer to stand guard against the imaginary creepy-crawlies. She'll make it worth your while, Cupid.





A Bang-Up Job 

That's what breeder Darrell Probst does on Coreopsis. We've got fresh, ready-to-roll liners of six of his Big Bang™ varieties: 'Cosmic Evolution', 'Cosmic Eye', 'Full Moon', 'Mercury Rising', 'Redshift',and 'Star Cluster'. But wait! There's more! Namely, three Li'l Bang™ types: 'Enchanted Eve', 'Red Elf' and 'Starlight'. 'Daybreak', 'Starbright' and 'Starstruck' will be along in spring.

Coreopsis Li'l Bang™ 'Starlight'
Coreopsis Li'l Bang™ 'Starlight'



Panhandler Bill Delp, ECG's retired Mr. Wizard, knows greenhouse upkeep like few others in the western hemisphere. Having moved to FL from PA, he also knows his seasons. "Up north, you wait for spring," he said. "Down here, we wait for fall." Good point. Pennsylvanians hunker fireside through howling winter. Floridians become a freon-based, heliophobic society to survive steaming summer. In the pleasant interludes when not taking shelter, we take turns envying and pitying one another, with occasional spates of gloating. Perhaps those noisy nomadic geese have the right idea: Just go where the weather suits your clothes. One wonders, why not?


John Friel






John Friel  

Marketing Manager 

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