Issue #98 February 2018
Welcome to February -- foul, fetid, frigid February, beloved by just about nobody except rosemongers, confectioners, skiers and groundhogs. For most civilians, i.e., non-hort types, it’s an uncomfortable, expensive season -- a passage to be endured, not enjoyed. It teaches patience, we tell ourselves; it builds character.
But in the green industries, things are getting busy. We have these time machines called greenhouses, where spring is incubating right on schedule.
DOWN ON THE FARMS
Flor ida
Like our northern cohort, we’re looking forward to spring. Unlike them, we’re expecting it next month. We try not to be smug about our relative warmth while they’re shivering, but every winter they tease us about our alleged winter wimpiness. So hey there, single-digit PA! How about a little beach volleyball? Nyah, nyah! In your frozen face!
January and February are big-time grass-production months, with tray after tray of Miscanthus , Sesleria , Panicum and more coming down the line. Watch for them on our Availability in weeks to come.
Pennsylvania
February is the unwashed armpit of the year, a time for hunkering down near the woodstove and musing: Maybe those who moved south are onto something. Then we remember their sticky, steamy, monsoon-y summers and say, Nah, bring on the blizzards, they keep the riffraff out. But north or south, we’re all grateful to the calendar crafters who made this the shortest month.
In recent weeks we’ve sown gangs of Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ and ‘Melting Fire’ , plus our favorite Achillea , the Desert Eve series . On the grass side of the equation, we’re dividing and conquering Festuca ‘Boulder Blue’ , ‘Elijah Blue’ , Beyond Blue and Eilers’ Beauty , and nurturing young Nassella , Carex testacea and Isolepis .
ECG on the Road
Many thanks to all who visited us at recent winter trade shows, one south, one north.
GSHE : Mobile, AL
Setup was delayed by a rare ice storm. Those Southerners! A touch of real winter, a non-event up North, and they’re flummoxed. Which is normal: Real winter events down South are usually brief, so they don’t invest in trucks, plows and salt. They don’t have the tires or the driving chops to deal with ice; they just wait til it goes away. Works every time -- even this year, when the poor dears actually got snow, too!
MANTS : Baltimore, MD
Our new booth design was a hit, and the show floor vibe was, as usual, upbeat and optimistic. It’s the unofficial kickoff to the growing season, so for most, nothing serious has gone wrong yet. Senecio Angel Wings (‘Senaw’) was once again the hot lick in our booth; see What’s Hot! below for more. We were chagrined to find – again -- that more than a decade after our northern location opened, some folks still don’t know we’re in Lancaster, PA. But they’re always happy to learn they can pick up orders here with no freight charge even for liners grown in Florida!
VISITATION RITES
The Professional Gardener students at Longwood Gardens know we’re here. It’s become a tradition for Professor Jeff Jabco to bring a dozen or so young folks to our Lancaster location for a look at a professional propagation facility. As usual, they were full of enthusiasm and excellent questions. Thanks for visiting, Jeff et al!
Jeff Jabco (center, rear) and his Professional Gardener students from Longwood Gardens

Finally! After saying “Sorry, sold out!” for months, we have Senecio Angel Wings back on future Availability . Book your 72s ASAP for November - December shipment. Not ideal timing if you were hoping for this spring, obviously, but it’s our best offer. This thing pulls people into our trade show booths like moths to a candle, like cats to catnip, like Homer Simpson to a donut. Its velvety silver leaves make it the most-fondled plant we’ve ever grown or shown. Go ahead, touch it! You know you want to.
HORTISCOPE
Zodiac on Wry: A Fish Tale

Vice-President Al Mueller hit the astrological Daily Double recently, evoking both Aquarius (the water bearer) and Pisces (the fish) as he took his treasured koi on a quixotic journey from his Pennsylvania pond to a new winter home in Florida. This epic migration involved a trailer, a giant cooler, a battery-powered bubbler, and an overnight motel stay. Yes, Al slept with the fishes. Cue ‘Godfather’ theme music.
Despite two traumatic days in transit, all specimens arrived as koi, not sushi. The school is happily back in session in its new pond near ECG’s HQ. Al denies rumors that he was stopped on I-81 because his trailer was fishtailing.
TRAY BON!


It’s everybody’s favorite native shade-loving sedge, and it’s often sold out. But we have good numbers ready this month, and more on the way for June shipment.
C . pensylvanica , known as “oak sedge” or “Pennsylvania sedge,” spreads to form a low-maintenance lawn alternative. Tough and reliable, it’s the go-to ground cover for areas where indigenous plants are desired or required.
Carex pensylvanica at Mount Cuba Center
– the same planting, one year apart!
EPILOGUE
Despite its truncated tenure, February feels long -- like a month of Mondays. Even our Florida folks look forward to flinging an unfond Farewell at filthy, forlorn, freezing, far-from-fabulous, flora-unfriendly, no-fun February. That’s about as far as we can go with alliterative pejoratives in a newsletter fit for family consumption.
Here’s hoping that your winter is smooth, productive, not unduly unpleasant, and most of all, short. We’ll see you back here, same time, same station, in March. Stay warm.
John Friel
Marketing Manager