September 2016 Issue #81 

Quick, what's a pirate's favorite letter? "R," ye say? Nay, ye scalawag! Even a lowly cabin boy knows a pirate's first love is the C!

Shiver me timbers, 'tis September again -- the month that harbors International Talk Like A Pirate Day! Aye, mates, September 19th is a date to treasure, fer sure. The dress code calls for eye patch and cutlass. Buckle yer swash, hoist yer Jolly Roger, grab some swag and commandeer the best seats at the bar with yer favorite crew of scurvy dogs and wanton wenches. Yar!

The pirates of Pensacola are long gone, but the PennisetumPenstemon, Perovskia and Phlox of Pensacola are thriving. If it's buried booty ye seek, look no further than the flourishin' roots under these bushy beauties.

Elsewhere in the alphabet, our Geranium 'Rozanne', all Echinacea, and Carex testacea are lookin' "better than ever," says our Gulf Coast plant health specialist and surfer dude Barry Ballard. They're as lush, flush and happy as a sailor in a school o' mermaids. 

Perovskia atriplicifolia Blue Steel
Perovskia atriplicifolia 'Blue Steel'

Poor landlocked Lancaster ne'er had any privateers to keelhaul, just a smattering of chicken thieves and bootleggers. We can fill your gallons, not your galleons, with Carex 'Gold Fountains' and Hakonechloa 'All Gold'. Don't be caught in the doldrums come spring: Book your Carex 'Evergold', Bowles' Golden and 'Everoro' now. While you're at it, haul some Calamagrostis 'Eldorado' on board as well. Ye'll be glad ye did.

Carex oshimensis Evergold
Carex oshimensis 'Evergold'


"Autumn is a second spring, when every leaf is a flower." - Albert Camus

"By all these lovely tokens September days are here,
With summer's best of weather and autumn's best of cheer."
- Helen Hunt Jackson

"Prepare to be boarded!" - Pirate pickup line

Albert Camus
Helen Hunt Jackson

The Perennial Plant Association's National Symposium convened in Bloomington, Minnesota last month. Among many tour stops, the standout to me was the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, whose 1,200 acres showcase nigh every facet of horticulture. Two faves: Dr. Mary Meyer's grass collection/trials; and the sculpture garden, where native grasses, especially Sporobolus, are used lavishly to frame the statuary. A very cool place. Put it on your list if fate finds you in the Gopher State.

Sporobolus heterolepsis
Sporobolus heterolepsis

Also at PPA, breeder Brent Horvath of Intrinsic Perennials received this year's prestigious Grower Award. Brent launched some of our coolest grasses, like Andropogon 'Blackhawks' and Pennisetum 'Ginger Love'. He's also the source of our catalog cover girl perennial, Sedum 'Thundercloud', and he's got lots more up his puffy piratical sleeve. Let's hear a YARR!! for Brent!

Andropogon _Blackhawks_
Andropogon 'Blackhawks'
Pennisetum _Ginger Love_
Pennisetum 'Ginger Love'

Brent Horvath

A planned bus tour to the garden centers of Lake Wobegon was canceled when it was discovered that Lake Wobegon is, in fact, fictional. A good thing they checked before driving us all the way out to the edge of the prairie, eh?


x marks the hybrid! Rich blue bottlebrush blooms rise over licorice-scented, sea-green leaves. Lures bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and an occasional albatross. More winter-hardy than most; we hear that's important to landlubbers.

Agastache _Black Adder_
Agastache 'Black Adder'

'Tis officially the month o' Virgo & Libra, but belay that! September be hijacked by Pisces, Cancer and Aquarius, the sea-farin' signs. Libra, leave them scales on the deck before ye walk the plank. Me & me mates'll be usin' 'em to divvy up our booty! Virgo, c'mere 'n let me show ye the ropes! Yar!

At ease, Matey! You needn't be a seasoned sea dog to cast a spell of ocean magic on your perennial and grass selection.

Sail serenely across Phlox Sweet Summer Ocean, but keep an eye out for Sedum 'Thunderhead'. If it storms, enjoy the flicker of Hosta 'St. Elmo's Fire' dancin' on the mainsail. Slip into Cortaderia 'Blue Bayou', propelled by Panicum 'Cape Breeze' and Andropogon 'Dancing Wind', navigating carefully around Sedum 'Coral Reef'. Drift past the shores of Nepeta 'Blue Lagoon' and drop anchor in Sedum 'Marina'. Get your land legs back after all that maritime majesty with a stroll along the banks of Veronica 'Tidal Pool', admiring the drifts of Leymus 'Blue Dune'.

Cortaderia Blue Bayou
Cortaderia 'Blue Bayou'
Sedum Thunderhead
Sedum 'Thunderhead'
Panicum Cape Breeze
Panicum 'Cape Breeze'
Sedum Marina
Sedum 'Marina'

It'll do your heart good - your Brunnera 'Sea Heart', that is. No ticket, tattoo, or passport required. Just book passage on the good ship ECG!

Brunnera Sea Heart
Brunnera 'Sea Heart'

Pirates have struck fear in the hearts of honest folk since man first sailed the seven seas. Famous pirates: Jean LaFitte, Sir Francis Drake, Jack Sparrow. Famous pirate captives: Julius Caesar, 75BC; Saint Patrick, 450AD; Captain Richard Phillips, 2009.

Today, buccaneering is on the upswing, with yearly losses in the tens o' billions - maybe more. Ship owners don't report all incidents for the same reason you didn't call your agent about that last dinged fender: Fear o' risin' insurance costs!

For a big slug of pirattitude, sail over to Cap'n Slappy and Ol' Chumbucket are a bottomless trove of lore, legend and laughs. Be sure to drop anchor back here next month for a fresh, warm Coastal Current. Until then, may the trade winds be always at yer back. Yo ho ho and a bottle o' 20-10-20!

John Friel  
Marketing Manager    
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