August 2016 Issue #80 


Our biggest trade show, Cultivate '16, is history. Hortfolk from around the country and the globe converged on Columbus for the usual clamorous combination of classes, camaraderie and commerce. It was copacetic, baby.

Sometimes it seemed all 10,000 attendees were in our booth: Six ECG folk could barely keep up with the conversations. Of course, as always, there were lulls. Day 3 of a three-day show is when you (finally!) get to walk the floor and meet your neighbors.

Speaking of trade shows: We'd love to see you at the PPA Symposium in Minneapolis (happening as you read!) and at the FarWest Show in Portland (Aug. 25-27).

Fun with succulents!
ECG at Cultivate '16.

Our Pensacolians roll their eyes when Lancastrians gripe about heat, but there's no denying the numbers: For a week in July, PA was hotter than the Panhandle. A couple of times a year, winter and summer, each location gets a temporary taste of how the other half lives for whole seasons.

We're taking advantage of typical FL weather as production crews cruise through new batches of Panicum, including our fave native son 'Hot Rod'; Pennisetum hardy and tender, i.e., the best-selling 'Hameln' and 'Fireworks'; and a smorgasbord of Miscanthus varieties like 'Pünktchen' and 'Purpurascens'

Panicum _Hot Rod_
Panicum 'Hot Rod'
Pennisetum Hameln
Pennisetum 'Hameln'
Pennisetum 'Fireworks'

Miscanthus sinensis Punktchen
Miscanthus 'Pünktchen'
Miscanthus Purpurascens
Miscanthus 'Purpurascens'

Here at our boutique one-acre+ Lancaster location, we recently hosted Karen Bunting, Perennials Business Manager at Darwin Perennials, and a group of Ball Hort sales reps and customers. Our guests got a grass primer by VP Al Mueller, trial garden tours led by trial gardener Nick DiBernardo, and refreshments including (Shhh! Don't tell our HQ, or theirs!) adult beverages. A fine time was had by all.

You don't have to be a major broker of our liners to stop by, y'know. Call if you're in the neighborhood. We're easy to find. Sorry, no guarantee on the refreshments du jour.

We've been Charmed!

Sempervivum Chick Charms_ mixed bowl
Sempervivum Chick Charms® mixed bowl

You rarely see the words "cute" and "tough" used together. It's almost oxymoronic. But Chick Charms® Sempervivum are both!

Known and loved by generations of gardeners, "hens & chicks" have a new selling point: They're succulents - a hot, trending category thanks to their carefree, self-sufficient mojo. Chick Charms® selections elevate the genus with a wide range of unique, cool colors and interesting forms.

Twelve varieties are divided into two collections, packing enough charisma to generate immediate buzz at retail, hatched out in your finished containers.
Appletini™ Bright green with deep burgundy tips.
Berry Blues™ Blue-grey summer hue segues to silvered burgundy in fall.
Cherry Berry™ Intense, bright cherry red.
Cranberry Cocktail™ Rich maroon petals with cool green tips.
Fringed Frosting™ Dense clusters of mini-cupcake-size rosettes, iced with cobwebs.
Key Lime Kiss™ Heaps of small, citrus-green, tightly balled rosettes.

Berry Blues_
Berry Blues
Cherry Berry_
Cherry Berry
Cranberry Cocktail
Cranberry Cocktail
Fringed Frosting
Fringed Frosting
Key Lime Kiss
Key Lime Kiss

Bing Cherry™ Solid burgundy-red petals, acutely pointed, with hints of green on the back.
Chocolate Kiss™ Sweet! Big (not bite-sized) rosettes of rich cocoa brown.
Cinnamon Starburst™ Green new growth surrounded by mature red for a Christmas-y bicolor look.
Cotton Candy™ Little olive-green rosettes, cobweb-topped.
Mint Marvel™ Blue-green leaves dipped at the very tip in rich maroon.
Watermelon Ripple™ Cool green outside, ripe red in - a slice of summer in a pot.
Bing Cherry
Bing Cherry
Chocolate Kiss
Chocolate Kiss
Cinnamon Starburst
Cinnamon Starburst
Cotton Candy
Cotton Candy

Chick Charms® will ship in December and January. For more, see Page 68 of our new catalog - You DO have the new one, right? -- or visit They won't last! Book 'em ASAP. There's nothing charming about an NA on a PO.

Sempervivum Chick Charms_ Collection
Sempervivum Chick Charms® Collection

"Beauty can both shout and whisper, and still it explains nothing." -- Mary Oliver
"Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today." - Mark Twain

Mary Oliver
Mark Twain


In the New Varieties display zone at Cultivate, ECG debuted our own inventions, Miscanthus 'Fat Cat' and Calamagrostis Hello Spring™, plus two new infertile Miscanthus varieties, Bandwidthand Scout. Hailing from NC State and UGA, respectively, those last two are hot topics due to that adjective, "infertile," which translates to "functionally sterile," a big deal in some areas. If that includes your market, call us for more info. Look for availability in late April/early May 2017.

Miscanthus sinensis Fat Cat_
Miscanthus 'Fat Cat'
Calamagrostis xacutiflora Hello Spring__
Calamagrostis Hello Spring
Miscanthus sinensis Bandwidth_
Miscanthus Bandwidth
Miscanthus sinensis Scout
Miscanthus Scout

HORTISCOPE Zodiac on wry
Leo: Watch what you eat. Yes, you're the apex predator, king of the jungle, but take people off your diet. Really. We're full of nitrates, preservatives, caffeine and antibiotics. We're only thinking of you, big guy. Please stop looking at us like that.

FAMINE TO FEAST: Cultivate '16 in the cracked rear-view

Credit where credit is due: After 2015's bewildering paucity of perennial-centric speakers - just one (1) presentation on hardy herbaceous goods -- AH fielded a robust roster this year: nearly a dozen talks on difficult perennials, native perennials, drought-tolerant perennials, perennials for meadows, green roofs and more. Now, that's more like it! So, kudos to Cultivate for a more realistic representation of this vital, expanding market segment. Now, if only there were a session or three on ornamental grasses... oh, sorry, is our bias showing? Ah well. We're funny that way. We're all funny that way. We've all got axes to grind, oxen to gore and nits to pick.

Back to work, folks. Go grow something.

John Friel  
Marketing Manager    
Give us your feedback