Coastal Current #102 June 2018
“WHAT IS SO RARE AS A DAY IN JUNE?” – James Russell Lowell
What, indeed, is so rare about something that happens 30 times a year, every year? That hardly rates endangered species status. No, the poet’s point was that your average June day is apt to be of finer quality – warm but not stifling, sunny but not blistering, greener than the Chicago River on St. Pat’s Day – than any 24-hour span in most other months. No argument there, ‘tis a sweet time o’year.
At HQ in Pensacola, they’re gearing up for a slew of new introductions that will make their ECG debut in our upcoming catalog, which will make its debut, as usual, next month at Cultivate in Columbus, the industry’s premier trade event. Swing by our booth if you’re in town to have your eyebrows raised and your jaw dropped by over 60 newcomers! Look for upgrades in many familiar categories: New succulents, improved series of Echinacea and Heuchera , two new infertile Pennisetum cultivars, and (drum roll): three entirely new (to us, anyway) genera. Be there or be square!
MidAtlantic retailers report a pretty good spring despite several weekend washouts in one of our wettest Mays of the past century. Indoors, where we make our own weather, our Festuca offering is at full strength: Lots of Beyond Blue , ‘Boulder Blue’ , ' Elijah Blue’ and ‘Cool as Ice’ on hand. For something completely different, try the fine green foliage, red-tinged stems and showy inflorescence of Eilers Beauty™
“Television is a medium, so called because it is neither rare nor well done.” – Ernie Kovacs
“A plant is, to a landscape artist, not only a plant – rare, unusual, ordinary... it is also a color, a shape, a volume or an arabesque in itself.” – Roberto Burley Marx
Last month, you rose nobly to our challenge: Unscramble seven Latin genera and their English colloquial names. Puzzle czarina Anna Graham received some responses just a few hours after the newsletter posted, on a workday morning. Clearly, you, our loyal readers, have your priorities in order. Taking home the prizes:

  • Jacob Hueste, Hummert International
  • Deb Talip, Ball Horticultural
  • Veronica Rachel Hoover, Bondi Plant Brokerage – Again!
  • Tom Arnold, JPPA/Park Seed
  • Jen Mackan, Millcreek Gardens

And the decoded answers are:
A. Hot Rum Grass: Sorghastrum (6)
B. Mad Balance: Belamcanda (4)
C. Sour Bloops: Sporobolus (1)
D. I Saw Eli: Lewisia (7)
E. Spare Model: Delosperma (3)
F. A Nice Ache: Echinacea (5)
G. Rich Hazy Music: Schizachyrium (2)
1. Riper Diaper Dose: Prairie dropseed
2. Best Lite Mullet: Little bluestem
3. Tin Place: Ice plant
4. CB Kelly Library: Blackberry lily
5. Wool Fencer: Coneflower
6. I Snag Drains: Indian grass
7. Trite Robot: Bitterroot
To the winners we say, Noel weld! Using total acorn! Stay tuned: We’ll test your anagrammatic agility and horticultural acumen again in a future issue. Meanwhile, practice on an egg. If you can unscramble one of those, you can do anything.
Our production teams have been busy: Over three dozen items absent from recent Availability are back in stock this month.
■ In Perennials , the hot lick is Echinacea ‘PowWow Wild Berry’ that’s had short-day treatment so it flowers on your schedule! Imagine having fresh new flushes of color to offer, all summer! It may not be nice to fool Mother Nature, but it’s profitable.
■ Returning to positive numbers in Grasses , there’s sought-after Acorus ‘Ogon’ , plus natives like Andropogon ‘Red October’ , Muhlenbergia Undaunted® , Schizachyrium ‘The Blues’ , and handsome, underappreciated Sporobolus heterolepis .
■ Finally, our Succulents lineup welcomes back its own prodigals: Delosperma ‘Jewel of Desert Amethyst’ and ‘Jewel of Desert Peridot’ ; Sedum ‘Mr. Goodbud’ ; and our best-selling “Chicks Mix” assortment of Sempervivum .
Summer looms. All too soon, somebody will get way up in your perspiring face and utter that hilarious greeting, “Hot enough for ya?” If it’s a customer, first, stifle your Fist of Doom impulse. Then, sell the comedian something cool: plants whose very names and wintry hues have the power to chill down the summer border. Pry loose some cold cash with:
Festuca ‘Cool as Ice’ Nice! From Intrinsic Perennial Farm, blue as an Eskimo’s lips.
Carex ‘Ice Ballet’ Graceful as its name, dancing in the slightest whim of a breeze.
Coreopsis ‘Ice Wine’ Intoxicating! Tested in chilly New England winters by breeder Darrell Probst.
Leucanthemum ‘Snowcap’ and ‘Snow Lady’ Tried and true, cool as Mt. Shasta.
Veronica ‘Snow Candles’ Sturdy white wands illuminate the evening garden. 
Greg Soles, of Star Roses & Plants, left us last month. In an industry known for congeniality, Greg still managed to stand out as a hell of a nice guy. Ask any of the mind-boggling number of mourners, from all over America and several from Europe, who turned up at his funeral service.
Greg always kept an ear to the ground and shared what he knew, tempered by four decades in the business. We’ll miss his insights, his perspective, and most of all his unfailing good cheer. Our sincere condolences to his wife Rose and their children and grandchildren. R.I.P., Greg. 
The demand for native perennials and grasses just keeps rising. We’re here to help you go native with quick-finishing liners of Aquilegia canadensis , Boutelloua curtipendula , Carex pensylvanica , our own Muhlenbergia ‘Fast Forward’ and Panicum ‘Hot Rod’ plus 9 other switchgrass varieties , Salvia lyrata ‘Purple Knockout’ , an array of Agastache , a chorus of cheeky Chelone , a gaggle of Gaillardia , and all those lovelies listed above in “Back in Black.” 
May all the days in all your Junes be poetically rare, unless of course you prefer them more on the medium side, in which case you may have to send them back to the kitchen until they get it right. Whatever you tackle this month, we’re sure it’ll be well-done but still juicy. Until next time, we’ll make ourselves scarce now. Bon apetit !
John Friel
John Friel
Marketing Manager