LAZY CRAZY HAZY DAYS of SUMMER? HAH!

That old song lyric is just one for three: Crazy. We’re in the business of producing starter plants -- what Europeans call “young plants’ or jungpflanzen – so we expect to be insanely busy in our version of spring, roughly weeks 52 through 16 or even 18 if we’re lucky. Think of all those finished gallons at the GC, and count backwards. But life doesn’t necessarily slow down when the shipping tsunami of spring recedes. In the immortal words of Roseanne Rosannadana, “It’s always something!”

FLORIDA

As I type, the Panhandle is back to normal after Tropical Storm Cindy dropped by. She overstayed her welcome, stalling and dumping about 18” of rain (10” in a single day!) on the Pensacola area before wandering north, all the way to our PA location. When Cindy belatedly took the hint and left town, we were finally able to pour concrete for a new Research and Development greenhouse at our Milton grass farm. This 11,000 square foot facility, with adjacent outdoor growing/trialing space, will help us hone our propagation protocols and enhance our ability to bring you new, better varieties of grasses and perennials – reliably.

PENNSYLVANIA

Are you going to Penn State’s Trials Day at Landisville on July 27? Well, we’re only 20 minutes away! Since you’re so close, why not do a little multitasking? Swing by and visit our trials. Stroll through rows of great grasses and perennials in sun and shade, with no (yawn!) boring annuals. Grab a copy of our new catalog. Better yet: Pick up a liner order! We love it when you do that. For more: http://trialgardenspsu.com

PA’s taste of Cindy was nothing like FL’s, just a welcome soaking that made farmers and kayakers happy. She thoughtfully got the heaviest rains out of her system during the night and didn’t mess up any retailers’ weekend. Thanks, Florida, for taking the brunt of that blow. We owe you.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN
Part I Summer trade-show season is closer than you think! If you haven’t made plans yet, it’s time to start. Here’s where we’re planning to be. Hope to see you there, too!  
Cultivate ’17
Columbus, OH, July 16-18 The function at the junction, the be-there-or-be-nowhere event, your industry’s leading combination of exposition and education. The show floor is enlarged and reconfigured, and so is our booth! Grab your GPS and navigate over to booth #2514-18 to find your favorite ECG folk. We’ve got a whole new design with more room for you. As always, Cultivate launches our new Starter Catalog! Grab yours while it’s still warm. For more: cultivate17.org
Perennial Plant Association National Symposium
Denver, CO, July 23-30 If you grow, sell, plant, design with, write about or teach hardy plants, almost everyone you’ll meet at a PPA event is someone you can sell to, buy from or learn from. Come to the mile-high city for industry-leading speakers, eye-opening tours and peerless peer-to-peer hobnobbing. It’s the Rocky Mountain highpoint of the summer! For more: perennialplant.org

ON THE ROAD AGAIN Part II
Cheri and Shannon are singing the praises of Darwin Day at the Gardens at Ball in Chicago, where they found great weather (for a change!) and lots of interest in our new perennials, the whole Chick Charms® Sempervivum program (more below), and (hot topic!) our infertile grasses, which now comprise six varieties, three each of Miscanthus and Pennisetum . More in the catalog preview below.  

SPEAKING OF THAT NEW CATALOG
(a preview)
Succulents have been smokin’ hot for several years now, thanks to their water-wise, low-maintenance mojo, with no cooling trend in the forecast. Ergo, we’ve given the category its own chapter. Our new Succulents section spills all the juicy details on our Delosperma, Lewisia, Sedum and Sempervivum. Consumers’ love affair with Chick Charms® Sempervivum is so torrid, we wish they’d get a room. New this year: Plum Parfait™, Silver Suede™ & Sugar Shimmer™. In Grasses, we’ve expanded our infertile varieties to include a whole new genus: Pennisetum. Welcome Etouffee™, Hush Puppy™ and Jambalaya™, from University of Georgia breeding. All are P. alopecuroides varieties, hardy to Zone 5. And brace yourself for Calamagrostis Lightning Strike®, a beautifully variegated ECG exclusive! In Perennials, we’re pretty pumped about six new Coreopsis varieties from breeder Darrell Probst: two Li’l Bang™ varieties, three PermaThread™ types and one from the Satin & Lace™ series. Also exciting Echinacea news: Four selections from Darwin’s nifty Sombrero® series, two new Meadow Mama varieties, and a new Butterfly™. Want more? See below for a program we’ve been keeping undercover!

Shortening the longest days

Don’t you wish you could have blooming coneflowers in late summer and fall? Thanks to our short-day Echinacea program, you can! We have liners of ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ and ‘PowWow Wild Berry’ coming ready the week of July 17 and beyond. We’ve deliberately thwarted their normal flowering response by manipulating (shortening) the daylength for a minimum of six weeks. They’ll be making up for lost time in your pots, blooming long after untreated plants are spent. Both varieties are on our current Availability for immediate ordering. Call ASAP and nail some down!

Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit'

For those who think jung. We wish you a splendid Independence Day. Enjoy our country’s defining observance. Have a beer, a brat and a blast, and see the day out with a bang. But please, exercise a little moderation. Stay healthy and sane and come visit us – in Ohio, Colorado, Pennsylvania or Florida. Because it’s always something, y’know? And he who fêtes the Fourth with a fifth frequently fails to go forth on the fifth.

John Friel
Marketing Manager
john.friel@ecgrowers.com

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