April 2016 Issue #76  
Buddleia davidii Black Knight
  Buddleia davidii 'Black Knight'

APRIL 2016
Few things are less funny than an April Fool joke on April 2nd, except perhaps your bank balance on April 16th. And since we never know exactly which day of the month this missive will reach your eyes, this CC contains only trace elements of foolery. As always, newsletter ingredients are guaranteed gluten-free, not tested on animals, and at least 90% factual. Contents may have settled in shipping.

We're in soft-launch, beta-testing mode with scheduled delivery service from our Pensacola HQ. Our most recent transfer truck to our northern location in PA made deliveries in Georgia, the Carolinas, Illinois and Michigan. As you read, our truck to Canada is servicing customers in Georgia, the Carolinas, Illinois and Michigan.

Want in? Minimum order is two cages, i.e., about 100 trays. There's no packing charge, 'cuz they're not packed - just racked & rolled into our climate-controlled trucks. That means better air circulation,  and happier plants.

For details, quotes and schedules, call Customer Service at 877-804-7277, or email sales@ecgrowers.com, and say, "Truck it to me!"

Recently-produced Helleborus trays are looking great, maturing apace for late May/early June availability. They'll look even better on your benches. Another high-demand crop, Brunnera, is ready now. Numbers are limited! Flushing out nicely, refreshed after winter naps: Campanula 'Blue Clips' and 'White Clips', Heuchera 'Palace Purple' and 'Marvelous Marble', Aquilegia Origami series, and Salvia 'Purple Knockout'.

Helleborus Winter Magic_ Candy Love
Helleborus 'Candy Love'
Aquilegia caerulea Origami_Blue-White
Aquilegia caerulea Origami 'Blue-White'
Brunnera Garden Candy_ Sea Heart
Brunnera 'Sea Heart'
Brunnera Garden Candy_ Silver Heart
Brunnera 'Silver Heart'
Fresh or refreshed, book yours ASAP before they turn up in somebody else's pots.

And hey, if you're in the MidAtlantic region, remember: You can pick up your Florida-grown liners here in Lancaster, too, with no packing or shipping charges!

Nomenclature nerds, rejoice! Here's a puzzle that's right up your allée. Unscramble the numbered Latin genus names, match them to the lettered "common" names, and win!
1. Mop dealers
2. Opium lemon
3. Radio crate
4. Emu lunch meat
5. Clean hookah
6. Revive mumps
A. Japanese forest grass
B. Shasta daisy
C. Ice plant
D. Hen and chicks
E. Jacob's ladder
F. Pampas grass

Send your answers to puzzle czarina Anna Graham by April 18th. All correct entries go into a pool. If they're not too wet to read when Anna fishes 'em out, she'll select 5 winners of nifty ECG prizes. Maybe 6, if she's in a good mood. Extra credit for italics!


April brings both Earth Day and Arbor Day, raising eco-consciousness in your customer base. Planting for pollinators and butterflies is a very big deal these days, and a great opportunity to do well while doing good. Here are a few worthy candidates for your environment-friendly offerings:

ASCLEPIAS: A. tuberosa is the must-have species for Monarch butterfly habitat. A. incarnata's pink flowers draw nectar-seekers of every ilk - moths, butterflies, even hummingbirds. Feed 'em!

Asclepias tuberosa
Asclepias tuberosa
Asclepias incarnata
Asclepias incarnata
AGASTACHE: This Southwest native is a virtual category unto itself, with new cultivars from breeders worldwide. Beloved of butterflies, shunned by deer, drought-tolerant once established - what's not to like? We have a dozen varieties ready for you to pot this very month, including Kudos, a multi-colored series from Terra Nova.

BUDDLEIA: These fragrant shrubs are butterfly magnets par excellence. The compact Buzz™ series fits into a gallon perennial program like a bee in a foxglove.

Agastache Kudos_ Silver Blue
Agastache Kudos 'Silver Blue'
Buddleia Buzz_ Hot Raspberry
Buddleia Buzz 'Hot Raspberry'
ECHINACEA: Almost goes without saying, doesn't it? Poodle-haircut types like 'Hot Papaya' and 'Raspberry Truffle' are exceptional garden plants. Pollinators prefer daisy-petaled coneheads, like 'Cheyenne Spirit' and 'Hot Summer', for nectar access.

LEUCANTHEMUM: The Shasta daisy ranks behind Luther Burbank's potatoes in historic significance, but beauty-wise, the spud's a dud. Play it safe with stalwart 'Becky' and 'Snowcap', but give 'Real Glory' and 'Real Neat' a whirl, too.

Echinacea Butterfly_ Rainbow Marcella
Echinacea 'Marcella'
Leucanthemum xsuperba Real Galaxy
Leucanthemum 'Real Galaxy'
PHLOX: Tiny, tall and in-between, there's a Phlox for every season and reason. Mt. Cuba Center in DE is trialing over 100 varieties in this lovely native genus, and here are some first-year trial results we're happy to share:

P. x 'Forever Pink': 4.6 of a possible 5 with "Lush, dense mounds... disease resistance was outstanding."

P. paniculata 'Laura': 4.3. "Vigorous... flowers lasted 2 weeks longer than average garden phlox."

Phlox paniculata Laura
Phlox paniculata 'Laura'

Aries: You're in fast company. Fellow Rams include race drivers Al Unser and Danica Patrick, and Roger Bannister, the first sub-four-minute miler. World-class creativity runs in Arians, too, a la Muddy Waters, Norah Jones and her daddy Ravi Shankar. Are you a home brewer? Keep it flowing if you want to catch up to August Anheuser Busch Jr. But if you claim kinship with the luminaries, you're also stuck with the Dark Side: Butch Cassidy, Clyde Barrow and Nikita Khrushchev.

Taurus: Don't you get cocky either, O Bullheaded one. Your sign embraces William Shakespeare, Sigmund Freud, Salvador Dali and Orson Welles, but you also rub astral elbows with Vladimir Lenin and (gulp) Adolf Hitler. We won't hold it against you.

Tauries: Those born on the cusp can legally RamBull into any bank this April 1 and demand all the money they have. Say the secret password "Swordfish," and they'll hand over the cash. Remember: It only works on the 1st, and only in leap years. If you miss it, you have to wait til 2020, when you'll see everything clearly. 

It takes more than shamrocks to make the Emerald Isle green. There are also sedges. A fine example: the EverColor series of cute, tough, colorful Carex from Fitzgerald Nurseries in Kilkenny, a charming city southwest of Dublin. Kilkenny boasts a medieval castle, a 13th century cathedral, and greenhouses full of 'Everdi', Everest, 'Everillo', 'Everlime', 'Everoro' and 'Eversheen', all selected by Pat Fitzgerald. Why go chasing rainbows and leprechauns when your pots o'gold are here for the planting?

Carex oshimensis EverColor_ Everillo
Carex EverColor 'Everillo'
Carex oshimensis EverColor_ Eversheen
Carex EverColor™ 'Eversheen'
Fitzgerald Nurseries in Kilkenny

EPILOGUE: The Ides of April
Ben Franklin said death and taxes are the only sure things in life. A century later, Mark Twain griped, "What is the difference between a taxidermist and a tax collector? The taxidermist takes only your skin." Details and decimals have changed since, but not the fundamentals. In this business especially, April is a taxing time by every definition.

May your personal and business finances survive the flaying ritual of the 15th intact and relatively un-plundered, and may your spring be full and prosperous. No fooling.
John Friel  
Marketing Manager    
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