September 2015 Issue #69


Before those wacky, egomaniacal Caesars started naming months after themselves, this was the seventh month, hence "September." October, November and December were VIII, IX
and X, of course.
As the season winds down, fans everywhere can be glad the Romans didn't invent baseball. The Caesars would have crammed in six bases, so a grand slam would be a real crowd-pleaser. But lions would be waiting at home plate.

We've been droned! Check out our Facebook page for some way cool amazing aerial images of our Pensacola and Milton growing facilities. The greenhouse manufacturer (Atlas) wanted shots of its product, i.e., our newest growing space, for its marketing efforts, so they called in a drone strike - the good kind - and we got some of the pictures. Sharp-looking facilities, if we do say so ourselves.


Head grower Andy Babikow recently spent a week hiking the Appalachian Trail in Maine, where he met up with his through-hiking fiend, I mean friend, Pete, a lean mean trekking machine who had started over 1,100 miles south in West Virginia. Together, they tackled the infamous 100-Mile Wilderness to trail's end atop Mount Katahdin. I'm tired just writing about it. As you read this, I'll be homeward bound from the FarWest Show in Portland, Oregon. And I will most definitely not be walking.

September is a big time for our animal friends. It's AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Month, National Service Dog Month, Happy Cat Month, Save the Koala Month, Save the Tiger Month, and National Chicken Month.

It's a busy time for our species, too, what with back-to-school hoopla and, of course, Labor Day. Oregon was the first State to declare an official Labor Day, in 1887. 

This is also Subliminal Communications Month. I knew that, but I'm not sure how.

"The lion will lie down with the lamb, but the lamb won't get much sleep."  - Woody Allen

1st Annual Ornamental Grass Day
Intrinsic Perennial Gardens, Hebron IL Friday, September 11
We're proud to help sponsor this first annual event by proprietor Brent Horvath, author, grower/breeder and rising star in new plant introductions. Emerald Coast Growers is a licensed propagator of many Intrinsic introductions, with more in trials.

Andropogon gerardii Rain Dance
Andropogon gerardii 'Rain Dance'

Some favorites:

Andropogon gerardii 'Rain Dance', 'Red October', 'Blackhawks': Tough, self-sufficient big bluestem is justly famed for restoring damaged soil and compromised sites. But it was never considered pretty until Brent found multicolored beauty in the beast, while retaining its minimal-maintenance mojo.

Festuca x 'Cool as Ice' is, as advertised, keeping its cool blue demeanor through the heat of this PA summer. Tallest of our
blue fescues.

and 'Red Head': A flowing fountain of fountain grass varieties keeps things interesting in this important genus.

Sedum Thundercloud
Sedum 'Thundercloud'

Sedum 'Thundercloud': Maverick plantsman Tony Avent declares he'd grow this one for its unique, toothy grey/green foliage alone.

Andropogon gerardii Red October
Andropogon gerardii 'Red October'

Festuca x Cool as Ice
Festuca x 'Cool as Ice'
But I digress. Back to Ornamental Grass Day: Brent will lead tours, refreshments will be served, and two excellent speakers will entertain and enlighten you:
-- John Greenlee, author, designer and "Guru of Grasses."
-- Jeff Epping, Director of Horticulture at Olbrich Botanic Garden.
To register: or 815-648-2788.


SHS Griffin Grower & Retailer Expo: Lancaster, PA September 29-30
This has become an important fall event, and unlike the others listed here, it's free! There will be seminars, new varieties, pesticide news, a white elephant sale and a trade show. It's all in the Convention Center downtown, near great restaurants and historic treasures like America's oldest continuously-operated farmers' market.

Perennial Plant Conference: Swarthmore PA, Friday October 16
I've missed this event only twice in two decades. Come to lovely Scott Arboretum, a.k.a. Swarthmore College campus, for great speakers from around the globe. The audience is a lively mix of professionals and avid gardeners.


Why are we talking up everybody's favorite harbinger of early spring now, in early fall? Because it's time to get our liners into your pots and give 'em a leg up on the competition for spring sales, that's why. We've got lots, in 72s and 128s, for your planting pleasure. See Tray Bon! below for more on this theme.

Phlox subulata Emerald Pink
Phlox subulata 'Emerald Pink'

HORTISCOPE: Zodiac on wry
Virgo: You cool, disciplined, rational thing, you. Not only are you always right, you're intolerant of, and unable to forget, the errors of the rest of us mortals. Well, excuuuuuse us! Lighten up, willya?

Libra: And YOU, Mr. or Ms. Charming! Your obsession with symmetry and balance is downright unbalanced. Enough! Go crazy this month: Wear mismatched socks to work. Hang one picture, not two. It'll make you twitchy at first, but give it a chance. 
It'll pan out.

Vibra: Alas, Cuspian, influential signs are like parents: There's no drop-down menu where you pick the genes you admire and eschew the rest. You get what you get.


Spring Break - In Autumn?
Ease the pressure on your tightly-wound spring with fall-planted perennial grasses. With a pre-bulked root mass going into winter, all your plants have to do next year is (a) push out lush new top growth, and (b) ship.
This ploy works for many genera, but we particularly recommend:

Acorus: Versatile little cuties that make great edging and ground cover, and can even handle moist sites.

Festuca: Our four blue fescues love a head-start. Try the newcomers, Beyond Blue and 'Cool As Ice'. With improved heat tolerance and color retention, they'll put a good spin on your summertime blues.

Miscanthus: Benefits greatly from fall potting. It'll still need warm feet and long days to really take off, but you'll see a difference.

Pennisetum: Don't try this trick with annual types like 'Rubrum', obviously, but it's great for P. alopecuroides, messiacum and orientale.

Build a firm foundation under that crown, and give yourself a well-earned spring break. Here's a little extra incentive: Plant in fall, and the heat is free.

Acorus gramineus Minimus Aureus
Acorus gramineus Minimus Aureus

Miscanthus Cosmopolitan
Miscanthus 'Cosmopolitan'

Roman numerals are fun, but they'd get old pretty fast if you had to keep score with them. And if your uniform number were, say, 38, you'd need a pretty broad back just to fit XXXVIII.
But the Romans did a great job in providing us a language for naming and describing perennials, like the XIV examples in this newsletter alone. Until next month, Pax vobiscum. I hope your team's doing better than mine.
John Friel
John Friel  
Marketing Manager    
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