Happy Birthday, Coastal Current!

Can you believe this newsletter is seven years old? Why, it seems like only yesterday we were cheering it on as it took its first wobbly steps to your computer’s welcoming arms. But math doesn’t lie: CC #1 burst upon the unsuspecting internet March 1, 2010. On that very same date, the internet overtook newspapers as America’s preferred news source. Coincidence? You decide.

DOWN ON THE FARMS

Florida

Belated Bon Voyage and happy retirement wishes for Charles Givens, who hung up his Felcos last fall after leading our grass production crew for 22 years.
Another milestone: Our climate-controlled seed room is in its third year of enhancing our propagation efforts. Featuring a spacey, LED-lit rooting chamber designed in-house by General Manager Josiah Raymer, this relatively small facility yields big results: Higher yields, more vigorous seedlings, and a wider window for germinating tricky seed that requires special conditions – all good news, for us and for you.

Pennsylvania

A recycled reminder from CC #1: “Northern customers have really warmed to the idea of picking up starters, even those grown in Florida, at our Lancaster location -- with no freight charges! Think ahead, and save serious money.” Our PA picker-uppers hail from as far away as Canada. Got a truck in our area? Come & get it!
Special thanks to Jeff Jabco, Longwood Gardens hort prof, whose Professional Gardener class toured ECG last month as they’ve done for at least five years. Always a bright, inquisitive bunch, they renew our faith in the next generation of plantsfolk.

RANDOM STUFF that all happened on March 1
1692: Three women are arrested for witchcraft in Salem, MA.
1785: The Philadelphia Society for the Promotion of Agriculture organizes.
1845: The USA annexes the Republic of Texas.
1936: Boulder Dam (now Hoover Dam) is completed.
1961: JFK establishes the Peace Corps.
1970: US commercial whaling ends.
1994: US Senate rejects a balanced budget amendment.
2002: NASA probe Odyssey detects possible water on Mars.
2010: Coastal Current launched. Internet surges past newspapers.
2011 to present: You don’t want to know, it’s all downhill after 2010
WHAT'S HOT:  The Native Renaissance
Consumer interest in native plants is at an all-time high. That’s a good thing – for the environment, pollinators, and your bottom line. Gardeners will soon be filling aisles and emptying benches in garden centers everywhere. Be ready!

NATIVE PERENNIALS

Amsonia hubrichtii: A Perennial Plant of the Year. Fine foliage, spangled with blue flowers in spring, dances in the least breeze all summer and turns gorgeous gold in fall.
Aster ‘Wood’s Pink’: Taxonomists saddled the genus with the unwieldy moniker Symphiotrichum, but gardeners don’t know that and we’re not going to tell them.
Echinacea: Single-flowered coneflowers are preferred by pollinators. Choose from compact, heavy-blooming ‘Dixie Scarlet’, early-flowering ‘Prairie Splendor’, big-flowered ‘Supreme Cantaloupe’, or the original E. purpurea, still unparalleled for reliability.
Monarda ‘Balmy Purple’: One of the prettiest members of the mint family, beloved of gardeners and pollinators alike. That’s why it’s called “bee balm.”
Tiarella ‘Jeepers Creepers’: Spread the news! Sturdy and vigorous, with great seasonal color shifts. Try it in a hanging basket, or as a non-climbing ivy alternative.

NATIVE GRASSES

Andropogon gerardii: Big bluestem is famously rugged for tough sites. New breeding makes it fit for polite company, too. ‘Dancing Wind’ and ‘Rain Dance’ enhance the border with bicolor blades and a late-season blaze of red.

Panicum virgatum ‘Cloud Nine’: Upright blue-green blades reach for the sky all summer, then turn rich, dark gold in fall.

Tap into the profitable popularity of indigenous flora.
Long live the native renaissance!

HORTISCOPE
Just after the infamous ides of March, Pisces segues into Aries. The twain also meet in the mutton snapper, a fish you might think we invented if you’ve never been to Key West. But no, Lutjanus analis is a real, big, colorful, vaguely worried-looking critter, prized for its meat. We hear it goes well atop a Caesar salad. Take a stab at it.   
TRAY BON!   JUNCUS:  WHAT A RUSH!!
When planting for ponds and other wet areas, make a rush decision – not a rash one.

■ Start with cute corkscrew rush, Juncus filiformis ‘Spiralis’. Twisty cylindrical leaves rise about a foot. If Shirley Temple were a plant, this would be her hair.
■ For a bigger rush, try Shirley’s big sister, J. effusus ‘Big Twister’, a helical Medusa of improbable curlicues spiraling up to two feet tall.
■ Not satisfied? Fantastic Foliage™ Blue Arrows (Juncus inflexus) shoots glaucous blue-green shafts from two to four feet. Bonus: It tolerates full sun and drier conditions.
■ For the biggest rush of all: Fantastic Foliage™ Javelin (Juncus pallidus) will take you higher with a dizzying, dramatic five feet of stiff, upright green spears.

Don’t get bogged down in the wetlands. Call ECG. Nobody handles a rush order better.

EPILOGUE

To recap: The very day Coastal Current #1 hit your Inbox, the internet became more popular than newspapers. Were we the tipping point? Without our periodic lode of liners and one-liners, would the ‘net wither away? Sorry, we can’t say that until next month.

To our loyal customers, brokers and readers of all stripes, thanks for being here to help us blow out the candles. Now, where’s our birthday present?

John Friel
Marketing Manager
john.friel@ecgrowers.com

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