May 2016 Issue #78    
Buenos dias!
A happy Cinco de Mayo to all.

May has always been a turbulent time - in, and far beyond, our industry. On history's dark side, May framed the sacking of Rome (1527), the Johnstown PA dam break that killed 2,300 (1889), the Hindenburg crash, (1937), and Four Dead in Ohio (1970).

Upside: May 1875 brought us the first Kentucky Derby and the first telegraph message, "Put $5 on Seabiscuit." Charles Lindbergh flew nonstop from New York to Paris in May 1927 with his tray table down, but there was no beverage service due to turbulence.

Year in and year out, as Julie Andrews sang, May is that lovely, lusty, lucrative month when wicked thoughts merrily appear and everyone goes blissfully astray -- to the garden center, for perennials and grasses.
Ole, May!
We're reaping the benefits of last year's investment in revamping our shipping facility for greater capacity, enhanced plant care and quicker, easier handling. It's a win-win-win. Go ahead, test us! Double that order, we can handle it!

Speaking of efficiency: We've made a small but significant change in the pack of Astilbe and ferns, which now come 38 per tray. Counterintuitively, the new tray gives each plant more soil and space, not less, than the previous 36. Must be magic.

Lots of smart customers are taking advantage of our Lancaster site by picking up orders here. That mean $0.00 freight even for Florida-grown liners. Will we see you soon?

Cool season grasses are looking marvelous. There's the popular EverColor series of Carex, and Festuca galore -- Beyond Blue, 'Boulder Blue', Elijah Blue' and 'Cool as Ice'. Over here in House 4, the new Winter Thriller series Helleborus are rooting up nicely for July availability. Numbers are limited, so please, book yours soon!

In case you missed our special Coastal Current the other day, Oliver "Buzz" Babikow died April 28 at the age of 83. He will be missed by many, especially those here at ECG who share his surname. All ye who toil in the hardy plant realm: A moment of silence, please, in honor of an industry icon.
Amen. Thank you. We now return you to your regular newsletter, already in progress.
This is THE perfect time to transplant warm-season grasses. They'll reward you with rapid growth as days become longer and nights warmer - just the way they like it.

Miscanthus: Ranging from a dainty 12 inches (M. sinensis 'Little Kitten') to a dazzling 12 feet (M. xgiganteus), there's a maiden grass made for your needs. Here's an exciting newcomer: 'Little Miss' will make her debut in our upcoming catalog. Just 2 - 3 feet tall, her blades emerge green but quickly take on rich red-purple tones.

Miscanthus variety

Panicum: See What's Hot! below. We hate to repeat ourselves.
This workhorse genus encompasses both annual and perennial species, including our #1 best-selling P. xadvena 'Rubrum' and its offspring 'Cherry Sparkler', and that perpetual fave, 'Hameln'. Seriously: Now is the time to turn our starts into your FP.

Countless intrepid readers scrambled to unscramble April's brain-busters. Puzzle czarina Anna Graham sorted all correct entries via the time-honored "Eeny-meeny-miney-mo" system that the Electoral College uses to pick Presidents.

Apologies to anyone frustrated by Anna's broken email link. Our crack IT team quickly got her groove back, and no entries were left floating in the ether. NASA checked.

Answers: Clean hookah: Hakonechloa. Emu lunch meat: Leucanthemum. Mop dealers: Delosperma. Revive mumps: Sempervivum. Opium lemon: Polemonium. Radio crate: Cortaderia.
And the Winners are:
Tom Arnold, Park Seed
Denise Rustmann, Prides Corner Farm
Mike DeRee, Ball Seed
Judith Cowles, Oriental
John Gunderson, SE Hort
Allison Edler, Hummert
Kathie Nemec, McHutchison Hort
Veronica Hoover, Bondi Brokerage
Scott Robinson, Meadowview

For successfully navigating the treacherous straits of Anna's devious mind, you will each receive a generous scoop of cool ECG logoware. You'll be celebrated in song, dance and ceremony by our tribe for generations. But if you want your bling, Anna needs a mailing address. Please tell us where to ship the swag, and thanks for playing.
We're delighted to report that this year's Panicum crop, including 'Heavy Metal', the award-winning 'Northwind', Ruby Ribbons and our own beloved intro 'Hot Rod', is our best in years. Tap into the native trend with this tough, timely and lovely native genus.

And don't stop there with the indigenous genera: As members of the Perennial Plant Association are already aware, the 2017 Perennial Plant of the Year is... also a native! What, you're not a member? Oh. Well, the pick will be announced to the general public in August at the PPA Symposium in MN. Come join us!
Cinco de Mayo celebrates Mexico's victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla, where on May 5, 1862, Ignacio Zaragoza's troops routed the forces of Napoleon III. But what if the battle had gone the other way, and Mexico were still a French territory?

Sacre bleu, hombres, the cuisine! Snail tacos and frog-leg frittatas, anyone? A dab of jalapeņo hot sauce for your coq au vin? Vive le difference! It turned out for the better: The world does not cry out for FrenchMex restaurants, and berets just don't cast as much shade as a sombrero.

May your May be merry and bright, and all your Mojitos mixed just right.

Don't mind me, amigos. I'm just having a Seņor moment.
John Friel  
Marketing Manager    
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