November 2015 Issue #71

Good morning. Did you remember to fall back, or are you at work wondering where everyone else is? Answer: They're still in bed - and you're not, early bird!

We've survived Halloween and are eagerly anticipating Thanksgiving, but we're already getting a tad tired of Christmas. Ho, ho, (yawn) ho.
Having recently returned to PA from our FL HQ, I can attest that autumn 2015 in the Panhandle is a remarkably lovely time - as were autumns 2013 and 2014. I hope to gather more data in 2016. Mustn't draw conclusions from too small a sample, y'know.

Our Milton grass farm is surrounded by ag of a very different sort, mainly peanut and cotton fields. Both seem sort of wasteful: Cotton wisps waft about like a dry blizzard, piling up in roadside drifts. Harvested peanut fields are littered with millions of unclaimed nuts, or maybe just shells. I don't pretend to understand the processes that yield the fabric of our lives, or the spread you spread between bread and jam; but by comparison our Miscanthus and Calamagrostis production looks downright surgical.


Farms surround our northern location, too. Many are typical PA Dutch dairies, but this atypical one milks six camels. The milk is allegedly good for everything from skin rashes to autism. Drive by (or walk the last mile) some Wednesday and see for yourself.  

We spent October sowing Digitalis, dividing Carex, dibbling Hakonechloa TCs, shipping lovely liners to fill your pots for spring 2016 sales, and welcoming MidAtlantic customers who pick up Florida-grown material here to avoid freight charges. Growers, did you know you can do that? Brokers, do your customers know they can do that?


You know about Thanksgiving and Veterans Day, but the penultimate month brings many more observances to observe, each in our own special way. For instance:
National Cashew Day: We're nuts about this one.
International Drum Month? Beat it. We prefer drumsticks.
Historic Bridge Awareness Month: Seems like a long time to dwell on George Washington's dentures, doesn't it?
Abet and Aid Punsters Day. Day? We celebrate it all year long.
Last month I mentioned the Black Sox baseball scandal, and got the year and the teams wrong. Scorekeeper and Cubs fan Susan Stephens of Express Seed charged me with an error, and the replay confirmed her call. Mea culpa. But it was the Beer Issue, so one misplay? Not bad. I'll strive for my usual perffect game this month. Thanks, Susan. Sorry about that chronic Cubs' curse. We long-suffering Phillies fans feel your pain. 
...and why it's OK.
Fuchsia: FYOOSH-yuh, right? Uh-uh. FOOKS-ee-yuh.
Heuchera: No, not HYOO-ker-uh: HOY-ker-uh.
Kniphofia: You say Ni-FO-fee-uh, we say kuh-nip-HOFF-ee-yuh... sometimes.
Stokesia: Easy: Stow-KEYS-ee-yuh, yes? Nope. STOKES-ee-yuh.

Why, you ask? Because these genera are named after real people:
Leonhart Fuchs (pictured at right), 1501-1566: Rhymes with kooks. He won't answer to Fyoosh.
Johann Heinrich von Heucher, 1677-1746: Herr und Frau HOY-ker's little boy.
Johannes Kniphof, 1704-1763: The K is not silent. In German, nothing is silent.
Jonathan Stokes, 1755-1831: Rhymes with blokes, not trochees.
When entrenched Latin pronunciation, wherein one enunciates every syllable, collides with logic, wherein one pronounces a person's name correctly, then appends a Latinized suffix, logic usually loses. It's a hit-and-run: Latin and Habit drive off without a scratch, leaving poor Logic crumpled on the berm, shaking its feeble fist. So just keep mispronouncing them. If you say them correctly, no one will know what you mean.

Once upon a time, many gardeners saw bees as scary things to flee or (worse!) exterminate. Now that we've all had our consciousness raised about the crucial role pollinators play, nothing is hotter than planting for birds, bees and butterflies.


Pot now for spring sales: Buddleia, Coreopsis, Echinacea, Phlox, Salvia 'Caradonna' & 'Pink Friesland'.
Order now for spring planting: Asclepias, Aster, Lobelia, Salvia 'Black & Blue'.

Help your customers help their customers help our buzzing, hovering, fluttering friends. It's the right thing to do for all the right reasons.   
Scorpio: Check out Bench 3, House 4. We think there's a plugged emitter.
Ha! Made you look!
Sagittarius: Stop obsessing over punctuality. The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
Red, White, Blue - and New! 

Panicum 'Hot Rod' PP26074 : We've turned the production corner (on two wheels!) and are filling orders for this red-hot, red-bladed American native grass. Rev it up!

Stokesia laevis 'Divinity'PPAF: Another ECG intro and butterfly-beloved native. The flowers are white as angels' wings, or that eponymous, dangerously sweet Southern dessert.

Festuca Beyond Blue: The newest bluest fescue is making quite a name for itself. Try it beside 'Elijah Blue' and 'Cool as Ice' and see which works best in your containers, your climate and your market.

   Panicum 'Hot Rod'   PP26074 
   Stokesia 'Divinity' PPAF 
   Festuca Beyond Blue 
The days dwindle down to a precious few hours of sunlight. Soon, work will start before dawn and end after sunset. Flurries have been reported here and there in PA, and my woodpile has begun to shrink - alarmingly, a week earlier than last winter, which was nasty. I wonder what camels think of snow.

Maybe this year the climate will just get it out of its system quickly, then throttle back to a mild, easy-on-the-heating-bill kind of winter. Whatever's coming is coming, like it or not, ready or not. Be ready - braced for the worst, hoping for the best. Like us.
John Friel

John Friel  
Marketing Manager    
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