December 2014 Issue #60  Special Year-End Issue: With Peace and Hope   

Emerald Coast Growers



Another year shot to heck, and as usual, I'm not done with it. Even worse: winter has checked in early, before we had its room ready. 
Weather is just one big distribution problem, y'know? New England and the Midwest have snowplows in play, Buffalo is buried, my firewood pile is experiencing shrinkage, but our Florida HQ still savors the waning glory of a Panhandle autumn. This industry's

Emerald Coast Growers

shipping departments need to step up, pool resources, and form a big gift exchange. We'll send semi loads of crisp, refreshing PA air to, say, Arizona in trade for equal quantities of warm desert breezes. Eastern ski resorts languishing in lingering autumns or early thaws can swap tankers of maple syrup for excess snow from prairie states sick of shoveling. And so on. Who's in?





The latest half-acre block of new Atlas greenhouses at Pensacola is benched, covered, plumbed and awaiting crops. Grass production proceeds apace at Pace and Milton. Temperatures remain friendly for top-down-driving, golf, beach volleyball, and pitying those poor shivering Northerners. 

Emerald Coast Growers
New Greenhouse at Klondike Location


November frosts shriveled most foliage in our trial garden, but some stuff just gets prettier. Cold color is cool on Schizachyrium and Andropogon, and those amazing Heuchera just shrug off the chill. Our production crew is cranking out the familiar and the new: See "What's Hot!" for more on a cool new blue fescue.
Heuchera Palace Purple
Heuchera 'Palace Purple'




The last words from the moon were spoken in December, 1972. As he
left the surface for home, Apollo 17 astronaut Eugene Cernan said, "Klaatu barada nikto." 

Emerald Coast Growers




Emerald Coast Growers  

January: Digging out from December's snows. Some shipments delayed. Rare southern storms and icy roads baffle Dixie drivers. Lacking salt, crews spread sand, creating a slick, sloppy slurry. Hey, FL: Try pumping salt water onto those roads and bridges. It works, and you've got plenty!

February: Digging out from January's snows. More shipments delayed by single-digit temps. Valentine's Day is canceled as Cupid refuses to venture outside in a diaper. 

March: Still digging. Key weather quote: "■■■■ ■■■■ ■■■■!!!" Oops, redacted. This is a family-friendly newsletter. We eschew that kind of language. 

April: in this industry is like Woodstock: If you can remember it, you weren't really there. The snow finally stops. Liners fly outta here like swallows homesick for Capistrano. 

May: Blessed relief! New growing space opens in FL. But preseason hopes are dashed as the Phillies regain the losing touch that doomed them in 2013. 

June: We put the finishing touches on our spiffy 2014-'15 catalog, just in time for... 

July: ... Cultivate '14, formerly the Short Course, put on by AHA, formerly OFA, start of the summer trade show campaign. By any name, it's a hit. PPA in Cincinnati: Ditto. 

August: This Space descends into Grand Canyon to confirm its grandeur. Conclusion: Yep, its still Grander than the rest. The FarWest show in Portland, OR is upbeat and well-attended. 

September: Liner demand stays strong. A mild PA summer segues slowly into fall, with subdued foliage hues attributed to gradual cooling, sans cold snaps.
October: Our popular one-way wood shipping racks celebrate an anniversary. This Space samples a Panhandle autumn. Conclusion: Yep, it's grand there, too. 

November: Fall sales stay strong -- Thanks! PA Governor Tom Corbett is that rare Republican, beaten by a Democrat as the GOP paints the rest of the solar system red. 

December: C'mon, it's December 1. A tad early for a retrospective, isn't it? It'd be like Justin Bieber writing his memoirs... what? He did? Twice?
Emerald Coast Growers
Emerald Coast Growers
Emerald Coast Growers
Emerald Coast Growers
Emerald Coast Growers





Festuca glauca Beyond Blue ('Casca 11' PP23307): This cute newcomer could give our famous faves 'Boulder Blue' and ''Elijah Blue'' serious competition. So far, it's living up to its hype as the bluest, and most persistently blue, blue fescue. We're still building numbers, but small batches will be available starting in February. 

Festuca 'Beyond Blue'
Festuca 'Beyond Blue'

Nassella tenuissima: New batches of this sweet, fine-textured native grass are coming on nicely in PA. This is a once-and-done crop, so when these sowings are

gone (usually by May), they're gone til next winter's sowings. That's also true of:


Nassella tenuissima
Nassella tenuissima

Isolepis cernua, "fiber optic grass," which forms mop-top mounds of fine, green, hair-like filaments. It's one of the coolest things you can put in containers.
Isolepis cernua
Isolepis cernua



Sagittarius: You had your 15 minutes last issue. It's archery season; go get your deer license. 

Capricorn: Stay out of the woods, Billy, or at least wear some orange. Sagittarius' eyesight isn't what it was.





We'll be grippin' & grinnin' at the following industry expos. Come say Howdy!




MANTS: The premier east coast show, at Baltimore Convention Center, January 14-16. You'll find us in our new, bigger digs, Booth(s) 710-712. Ever wonder how trade shows come together? Watch! 


IPM Essen: We're heading overseas to the world's biggest hort show, in Essen, Germany - as audience, not exhibitors. Ask us all about it at New England Grows (see below) or, if you've been there, tell us all about it at MANTS (see above.) Danke! 


GSHE: Gulf States Hort Expo (a ghost town in 2014 due to weather) is held in - honest - the Outlaw Convention Center in Mobile, AL, Jan. 29-30. Check your shootin' iron at the door, podner, and mosey over to ECG's hideout in Booth(s) 628-630. 

Emerald Coast Growers




New England Grows: Boston Convention & Exhibit Center, February 4-6, Booth #3033. Bah'stn is lovely in wintah, if you like snotsicles. Be theyah or be squayah. 







Leaders among Breeders

Last issue featured Darrell Probst's copacetic Coreopsis breeding. This month the Tray Bon! spotlight shines on Terra Nova Nurseries. Over 70 TN varieties in nine genera grace our catalog. The Heuchera adorning our PA trial garden are mostly theirs. We also offer TN Agastache, Coreopsis, Echinacea, Heucherella, Kniphofia, Penstemon, Sedum and Tiarella. We know of no better Sedum genetics, and no better way to cash in on the surge in succulent plant popularity.

Sedum 'Cloud Walker'
Sedum 'Cloud Walker'
Sedum 'Crystal Pink'
Sedum 'Crystal Pink'
Emerald Coast Growers
Sedum grown at Pace location - Emerald Coast Growers

Christmas Eternalis

Retailers pull such shameless shenanigans during the ever-expanding holiday season that I blush when someone asks what I do. I mumble, "Uh, I'm in... marketing," and hasten to add that I'm not the guy who turns their offspring into brainwashed hellions mortifying them in the toy aisles. Nope, not me. Like you, I'm in the business of inspiring - and fulfilling -- plant lust in consenting adults. It's an honorable profession. So hold your head high, look the world in the eye, and tell that lovable brat that Santa has a sackful of sugar plums for Nice children, and another stuffed with Dianthus Sugar Plum (PP21398) for
Naughty ones. If the kid's OK with that,
Dianthus Sugar Plum (PP21398)
you've got a budding plantsperson on your hands. Either way, you win. Thanks for sharing 2014 with us. May your days be jolly and bright. As Eugene Cernan really said, "we leave as we came... with peace and hope for all mankind."
Merry Christmas.







John Friel  

Marketing Manager 

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