THE IDES HAVE IT

Daylength increases by stingy increments, another precious minute per diem. Noisy skeins of geese shuttle overhead seemingly at random, never committing northward. The industry fixes its ever-hopeful eyes on the ides: February is the Beijing of months and the 14th is its sun, the lone bright spot gleaming dimly but bravely through the murk.

DOWN ON THE FARMS

Florida

Production crews have been busy making copy after copy of our new infertile Miscanthus varieties, Bandwidth™, My Fair Maiden™ and Scout™ (pictured right).  These three were the talk of the trade show floors at MANTS and GSHE last month. But a great grass program does not live by one great genus alone. Recent production includes faves Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ and C. brachytricha, Cymbopogon citratus, and Juncus ‘Big Twister’, a curious rush with curly cylindrical shafts rising 18 – 24.” Another FL-produced rave: the oh-so-chic Chick Charms® Sempervivum. This cool succulent collection collects more oohs and ahs than a cute cat video. See “What’s Hot”, below.

Pennsylvania

The MidAtlantic and the Pacific Northwest have swapped personalities. While OR and WA shivered and shoveled, PA was drippy and dark with shockingly mild interludes. During MANTS in Baltimore, we strolled to lunch in shirtsleeves. Restaurants on Pratt Street set out sidewalk tables. Yes, we had just one sunny day out of three, but still.

Meanwhile, in the greenhouses, our Hakonechloa crop is gorgeous! Possibly our best ever. Give us a call and make our trays of H. macra and H.m. ‘All Gold’ your trays.

WEAPONS OF MATH INSTRUCTION

A couple of CCs ago, we laid the following devious little equation on you:

The challenge: Read it as a limerick. Our faithful readers pounced upon that flung gauntlet and hurled it back into our mailbox. Here’s the translation: 

  A dozen, a gross and a score
  Plus three times the square root of four
  Divided by seven
  Plus five times eleven
  Is nine squared, and not a bit more. 

And the winners, who will be rewarded with cool ECG logo-emblazoned swag:

  •   Allison Edler, Hummert International
  •   Louise Murray, Park Seed
  •   Kathie Nemec, McHutchison Hort Distributors 

Once again, our brokers have proven themselves wizards at problem-solving. They know math, they know literature -- and they know where to find the best perennial and grass liners! We hereby declare them honorary leprechauns.

TRAY BON!
The holidays are over and so, probably, is your well-deserved break. Time to get set for spring and spring sales, especially early spring sales, especially early spring flowering perennial sales, because it’s absolutely positively not too early to plant Aquilegia Origami series, Phlox subulata , Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’, Brunnera ‘Sea Heart’, Iberis ’Purity’, Ajuga ‘Black Scallop’, Amsonia hubrichtii and other early-bird garden color-uppers. Shipping numbers are rising every week, so make sure your starters are on our manifest. It’s never too early to call.
HORTISCOPE:  Zodiac on wry
Chick Charms® 
Sempervivum collections : Get in on the succulent trend’s trendiest perennials. Garden Solutions’ Chris Hansen selected the coolest forms and most unusual colors to make up Collection A and Collection B, yours in mixed trays!
Panicum ‘Hot Rod’ and ‘Dewey Blue’: Switch on sales with the outer limits of the switchgrass color spectrum. Hot hot red and oh-so-cool blue make a striking contrast for bench or border, and these native favorites finish fast from our beefy 38 liners.
EPILOGUE

As I type, the sky has cleared, mostly. We’re in for a sweet, sunny day tomorrow. So far, our PA winter has been pretty easy on us... which makes us nervous. The law of averages is pretty strictly enforced. If we don’t get smacked early, winter usually has something alarming up its sleeve for later.

Keep your eye on the ball, your ear to the ground, your nose to the wind, your hands on the wheel, your fingers crossed, your shovel ready, your furnace stoked, your benches stocked -- and your other eye peeled for the bright spots in life.

If you can work in that position, you’re a grower. Happy Valentine’s Day. 

John Friel
Marketing Manager
john.friel@ecgrowers.com

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