Coastal Current #105 September 2018
Welcome to September, already underway in countries that don’t recognize the three-day weekend we just enjoyed. Don’t worry, we’ll catch up.
Labor Day is the sanest, but hardly the only, noteworthy observance of this lovely stretch. Fight Procrastination Day (6 th ) and Ask A Stupid Question Day (28 th ) are at opposite ends of the month, but some of us celebrate both all year long. We can all appreciate Elephant Appreciation Day (22 nd ), because pachyderms never forget, never procrastinate, and never ask questions, stupid or otherwise. And you’ve already missed International Bacon Day (1 st ), but so what? Every day is bacon day!
Autumn in the Panhandle is about as sweet as it gets. The days are milder, the humidity lower. Kids and crowds are gone from the beaches, but the water’s still warm and the good restaurants are still open. It’s the best of times to visit the area.
Update: As this goes to press, Tropical Storm Gordon is knocking at the door. We’ve pulled the welcome mat so it can’t blow away. Maybe you should hold off for a while until our unwelcome company departs.
A snapshot of our benches: our Hosta liners are looking marvelous. We offer 14 varieties, and a dozen of them are ready to go right now.
Also looking great: Lots of Ornamental Grasses , including some really really big ‘uns. For more, see What’s Hot! below. 
Pennsylvania: A River Runs Roughshod Through It
Late July’s downpours were but a prelude to the relentless torrents of our wettest August ever -- in a non-hurricane year! A healthy 50’ hickory toppled in my sodden riverside back yard, which was three feet underwater for the third time. I’ll welcome the BTUs next winter, but I’d rather have the tree back.
In the greenhouses, we’re preparing for fall but thinking spring: September is prime time to prime early-blooming perennials like Ajuga , Aquilegia and Phlox subulata . Bulk them now for a head-start in 2019. Your customers will be glad you thought ahead.
Last month, we challenged you to reconstruct the deconstructed names of five pests. You rose magnificently to the bait, er, challenge, correctly nailing…
August’s Answers:1. Why I left: Whitefly 2. Deep garnish: Green aphids 3. Daily owl lodge: Wooly adelgid 4. Dry pants often tell: Spotted lanternfly 5. Jane peels a beet: Japanese beetle
Winners: John Ariss, BD Goldens Wholesale Nursery, NY; Dave Dzurma, Leo Berbee Bulb Co.; Erin Kelly, North Creek Nursery, PA; Sarah Salatino, Essex, VT; and Charles McInery, McInery Services, Neshoro WI. We initially disqualified Charles on the grounds that “Neshoro” was probably a made-up place, but on further review, he was reinstated. Congratulations, all! Take a victory lap! Puzzlemeistress Anna Graham will send your prizes shortly to a mailbox near you. 
Your humble scribe will be up on his hind legs and presenting twice this month, in two widely-separated venues.
■ 09/21: The 4 th annual Ornamental Grass Day at Intrinsic Perennial Gardens, Hebron, IL. Besides my blathering, there will be tours, sneak previews of new introductions, a lecture by Richard G. Hawke of Chicago Botanic Garden, and an award-wining film about legendary designer Piet Oudolf. For more info:
■ 09/26: International Plant Propagators Society , Newark, DE. This four-day event starts Sunday, 9/23, with tours of wholesale nurseries and public gardens, plus seminars by industry leaders like Anna Ball, Ed Snodgrass, Darrell Apps and Dale Hendricks. For more:
How do you make great greater? Just add Butterscotch!
Amsonia x Butterscotch™ brings a fresh, rich, healthy glow to an award-winning perennial genus. Like A. hubrichtii , Butterscotch™ is in constant graceful motion in the slightest breeze, has starry blue flowers, and segues to a beautiful autumn color.
So how is it different? Three ways:
  Leaf Color : Butterscotch’s fine foliage takes on a deeper, delicious golden hue in fall.
  Stem Color : That deceptively-delicate foliage is borne on striking red stems.
 ■ Disease resistance : Butterscotch™ doesn’t suffer from disfiguring tip dieback.
Growers, gardeners and designers know and love A. hubrichtii , winner of the prestigious Perennial Plant of the Year award. It’s a great plant. But even greatness can be surpassed. Go greater. Pour it on with Butterscotch™, in 72-cell liners exclusively from Emerald Coast Growers
“My favorite poem is the one that starts “Thirty days hath September” because it actually tells you something.” – Groucho Marx
 “On September 5, 1774, 45 Colonial men formed the first Continental Congress at Philadelphia.” – Gore Vidal
 “We left Dayton September 23 and arrived at our camp at Kill Devil Hill on Friday the 25 th .” – Orville Wright
“Nobody should underestimate how much the world changed on September 11, 2001.” – John Howard
Land of the Giant Grasses
Sometimes, size really does matter. Some spaces just cry out for a dramatic exclamation point in the form of a bold specimen plant. Some spaces need their space, i.e., a screen to discreetly and attractively shield them from adjacent spaces. And there are grasses that can answer either call. 
A classic! “Pampas grass” is so called because it’s native to the vast grasslands of South America. Prized for its massive feathery white plumes that rise as high as 12’, it’s a staple across the Southern US. In coastal areas from North Carolina on down, there’s a stunner in every other yard. 
“Northern pampas grass” hails from northern Africa and the Mediterranean. Its look is very different, but no less striking: The flower of this beautiful beast soars to 14’ over 5’ clumps of arching glaucous blades. 
The specific epithet says it all. In a genus known for imposing cultivars, this sterile hybrid stands alone and stands tall – as in 12’ high! Truly, a plant to look up to.
The unrivaled champion of quirky September holidays is Talk Like a Pirate Day (9 th ). For proof straight from the poop deck, set yer browser’s sails for and see what Cap’n Slappy and Ol’ Chumbucket have up their puffy sleeves.
But seriously, folks: September is the gateway month, when summer’s excesses succumb to the taming, tempering, calming influence of mild, mellow autumn. We’re heading into arguably the loveliest time of the entire year to savor America’s gardens, private or public. Don’t miss it. Close this page and take a flowery stroll. 
John Friel
Marketing Manager