January 2015 Issue #61  Happy New Year, Happy Anniversary   

Emerald Coast Growers



This issue marks 5 (five) years since Coastal Current's debut. For half a decade, we've explored industry facets, discussed products new and old, celebrated milestones, mourned the passings of notable plantsfolk, and perpetrated numerous jokes - some good, some frankly quite bad.

This installment follows loyally in its predecessors' muddy footprints. Thank you, from the bottom of our collective heart, for your puzzlingly loyal following. As long as you keep reading it, we'll keep chucking it into the bushes beside your Inbox.

Coastal Current






Our mild (so far) winter, and typical high light levels, make year-'round production not just possible but extremely practical. And our new growing space makes it more efficient than ever. 'Tis the season, for all those reasons, when this year's field-grown grasses become next year's liners. We're divvying up masses of Miscanthus, a plethora of Panicum and cartloads of Calamagrostis. We'll have 'em when you need 'em.


Our days grow longer by miniscule increments, colder by leaps & bounds. We've had a gloomy, Pacific Northwest-style winter: Whole weeks go by with barely a hint of... of... refresh my memory: What did we call that bright light that used to appear in the sky? Indoors, where smart folk stay in this season, our production crew has been dividing our famous Festuca 'Elijah Blue' and 'Boulder Blue', transplanting Isolepis and Nassella, and dibbling Achillea Desert Eve™ (see What's Hot!).
Festuca 'Elijah Blue'
Festuca 'Elijah Blue'




January is named for our favorite Roman god, the two-faced Janus, deity of doorways, beginnings and transitions, who looks forward & back simultaneously. He's at his most godlike when parallel parking.




Achillea Desert Eve™ series: Early-blooming, vigorous and compact - great for landscape or container. Upgrade your yarrow selection with large, uniform flower heads in six perfect pastel shades: Cream, Deep Rose, Light Yellow, Red Improved, Terracotta and Yellow.


Achillea Desert Eve


Aquarius: Yay, the circus is coming to town! But beware: some clowns play rough. If you're attacked by circus performers, don't mess around. Go straight for the juggler.





Leaders among Breeders

You see it everywhere -- but not all Pennisetum 'Rubrum' is created equal. No other liners give you the richer, redder foliage and plum-perfect plumes that you get from ECG. Nobody grows, divides selects and sells more 'Rubrum' than ECG. No one offers more starter options, either. We ship four liner sizes: Economical, freight-saving 128s, standard-setting 72s, and fast-finishing 38s and 21s. Why go elsewhere? Call ECG. Tap into over two decades of 'Rubrum' expertise and see the difference yourself.


Dear Professor Gnomenclature:
Is there a connection between the grass genus Juncus, the junco (a.k.a. snowbird), the Chinese junk, and the Bahamian festival Junkanoo?
-- Juxtaposition Junkie 

Dear JJ,
Barely. 1. Linnaeus himself named the grass, using a common Latin word for "rush." 2. Rushes and juncos are both associated with marshes. 3. The boat's name is a phonetic variant of the Chinese word chuan, a sailing vessel. And 4, Junkanoo, Nassau's colorful, rum-fueled Mardi Gras/Carnival/Mummers mashup, is an obscure word of French or African derivation. Ergo, until they were all mentioned here in Coastal Current, they had no more in common than jugglers, jugulars, jungles and Jungian psychiatry. Thank you for bringing them together, probably for the first time. 
-- Professor G.
Professor G.


Mt. Cuba Center in Delaware recently released the results of a three-year Heuchera trial. Plants were scored 1 - 5 for "vigor, fullness and uniformity." We're happy to report that four varieties available from Emerald Coast scored at least 4.0. To no one's surprise, three are Terra Nova Nurseries intros.  'Cajun Fire' pulled the highest ranking of all, a stellar 4.7. 'Plum Pudding' was graded 4.0, which would get it into Harvard if it weren't a member of the vegetable kingdom. Maybe Yale. 'Southern Comfort' scored an intoxicating 4.2. 'Caramel', from French breeder Thierry Delabroye, evidently performed as well in Delaware as it does at my house, posting a 4.4. And old standard 'Palace Purple' showed why it's still a huge seller: Its respectable 3.6 is much higher than many pricey wannabes introduced since it was Perennial Plant of the Year way back in 1991.

For all the scores and judging criteria, you can download a pdf here:

From left to right: Heuchera 'Cajun Fire', 'Plum Pudding', 'Southern Comfort' and 'Caramel'


Are you old enough to recall the very first New Guinea Impatiens, the Circus Series? Released in 1974 by Longwood Gardens, they had names like 'Clown', 'Trapeze' and 'Ringmaster'. Then came the dreaded INSV. It went straight for the 'Juggler'.


For you long-timers, thanks for hangin' with us for five years. Newcomers: Thanks for joining the conversation. Here's to the next half-decade. Happy New Year!
Just FYI, the traditional fifth anniversary gift is something wooden; the modern version is silverware. Not that we're hinting, of course. We've got all the pickle forks and runcible spoons we need, and the firewood pile is holding out nicely. It's the thought that counts.






John Friel  

Marketing Manager    


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