April 2015 Issue #64  Grass-Powered Drones - by John Friel 
pictured aboveStill in beta test mode, our environmentally-friendly, grass-powered drones will fly small-to-medium orders to customers within a 2,500-mile radius of our Pennsylvania location.



Spring needs a stiffer spine. Some years, she lets winter overstay its welcome; other years, summer barges in with all its baggage a month before its room is ready. Both species of boorish behavior are bad for business, breeding backlogs and angst.

This industry prefers assertive, demanding springs. We're happiest when we're barely keeping up. A masochistic streak isn't an essential trait for this gig, but you can't call it a personality defect, either.





Trending now: Herbs and succulents, very different plants utilizing very different survival strategies to arrive at the same happy place: Low water needs, ergo easy maintenance. Our Panhandle crews are grooming plenty of both for your success. 

* Lavandula xintermedia Phenomenal ('Niko') PP24193: From Lloyd Traven, bushy-bearded guru of Peace Tree Farm, this vigorous cultivar is making friends world-wide. Liners coming on line in May and again in July.

* Rosemary 'Barbeque': Don your grilling apron! Sturdy stems + upright habit = great hedges, shrubs or fragrant skewers. Ready later this month, more in June.

* Delosperma Jewel of Desert series: Ready to roll now. Fire Spinner® and the classic D. cooperi follow in May.

* Sedum and Sempervivum: Between these two genera, we offer over 40 varieties - and you'll find more in our next catalog! Either we need an intervention, or these are really great plants. We think it's the latter. Only about a dozen of those 40+ are ready immediately, but we're making more for May availability as I type.
Rosemary 'Barbeque'
Rosemary 'Barbeque'
Delosperma Fire Spinner™
Delosperma Fire Spinner®
Lavandula xintermedia Phenomenal
Lavandula xintermedia Phenomenal ('Niko') PP24193


We greeted the first day of spring not with lawnmowers but with snowblowers. Mother Nature could use a refresher course in parenting and time management. Indoors, we're pleased with the performance of two new blue Festuca varieties. See Tray Bon! below. Outdoors, we're enjoying the antics of tens of thousands of migrant snow geese and tundra swans. At Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area, huge white birds fill land, lake and sky. It's a dazzling, deafening display when a blizzard of striving wings and long outstretched necks takes flight - rising, dipping, wheeling and settling again like one enormous creature, speaking with one vast raucous voice. Mother Nature can be an exasperating hag, but she puts on a heck of a show.


A migrating goose can eat continuously for 12 hours, pooping 15 times per hour.

A baby robin will gag down 14 feet of earthworms before leaving the nest.

A slug can have up to 25,000 tiny teeth. And it never flosses.

Aphids can reproduce via parthenogenesis, i.e., asexually. No fair!






is built on the Plants of the Year


The Perennial Plant Association's "Perennial Plant of the Year" program dates to 1990. Each year's honoree has proven its worth -- in the garden, and in the marketplace. We're proud PPA members. We grow 23 of the 26 winners, including, naturally, the (drum roll, please) 2015 Perennial Plant of the Year:

Geranium xcantabrigiense 'Biokovo'


Geranium xcantabrigiense Biokovo
Geranium xcantabrigiense 'Biokovo'

'Biokovo' plays well with many of its fellow POY winners, especially:




* Heuchera 'Palace Purple', 1991:

The prime instigator of the Heuchera revolution is still a stalwart standout. Rich dark foliage makes a fine foil for sun or part shade.



* Athyrium nipponicum, 2004:

Bold burgundy/silver fronds are an elegant accent in mottled shade.



* Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola', 2009:

Japanese forest grass cascades like a variegated green/gold waterfall. Needs shade in most of the US. 




Perennial Plants of the Year sell for growers because they delight gardeners. Get award-winning performance in liners of 'Biokovo' and many more on current and near-future availability.


For more on PPA and the 2015 POY, straight from the source's mouth:






Heuchera 'Palace Purple'
Heuchera 'Palace Purple'
Athyrium nipponicum Metallicum
Athyrium nipponicum Metallicum
Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola'
Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola'


We're pleased to announce the launch of a new delivery system. Still in beta test mode, our environmentally-friendly, grass-powered drones will fly small-to-medium orders to customers within a 2,500-mile radius of our Pennsylvania location.

Click here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a53qvnIbWCI for a look at our busiest shipping day so far, on the first Wednesday of the month.





Battle of the Blue Fescues

We've bragged for years about our Festuca 'Boulder Blue' and 'Elijah Blue'. Now, along come two newcomers: Beyond Blue ('Casca11')PPAF, and 'Cool as Ice', each said to keep its cool glaucous poise when summer heat kicks in. The jury's still out, but so far both look very good. We met the breeder of Beyond Blue, the result of over 20 years of selection, in Germany, where it's sold as Intense Blue. Remember the names!

Festuca glauca Beyond Blue ('Casca11')PPAF
Festuca glauca Beyond Blue ('Casca11')PPAF


Ironically, a good spring feels a little like a fire at sea. We wish you April and May weekends crisp of dawn, warm of afternoon and teeming with commerce, lurching from crisis to crisis amid noisy gaggles of customers. In short, we wish you a spring 2015 so good, so busy, so profitable that we all barely survive it. No fooling.






John Friel  

Marketing Manager    


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