Issue #109 January 2019
Among the many odd exhibits at the Sanderson Museum in Chadds Ford, PA is a small piece of paper bearing a single pencil line. An accompanying note explains that the museum’s founder drew that line at, or as, the “stroke” of midnight, the very second when the 19 th Century ended and the 20 th began, thereby freezing time itself and rendering it visible.
Eccentric? Sure. But did you stay up til midnight to watch the ball drop in Times Square? Isn’t that also kind of a dotty thing to do – both the dropping, and the watching?  
In Florida, home of our HQ, various communities drop oranges, pineapples, a six-foot conch shell, and a drag queen lounging in a giant ruby slipper.
At ECG, we celebrate in more practical fashion: We drop seeds into plug trays. We drop unrooted cuttings and root divisions into liners. And at your behest we drop said liners into cunningly-crafted cardboard cartons so they’re cradled in cozy comfort as they wend their way to you. 
Our New Year’s droppings are legendary. We lower or lift more stuff at midnight than any other state. We drop coal, roses, cannonballs, pickles, stuffed goats, bears and beavers, wooden cows, giant perogies and crayons. We raise pretzels, Hershey kisses, wooden cigars and bottles of Yuengling beer. Each celebration has its own colorful story, which is good: real color is scarce here in January unless you’re fond of brown. Ah, but in our greenhouses... OK, there’s some dormant brown stuff in here, too, but Festuca ‘Elijah Blue’ , Beyond Blue™ and ‘Cool as Ice’  are still blue, new batches of Nassella are fresh green, and the native Salvia lyrata ‘Purple Knockout’ is, well, you do the math. Amazingly, Festuca Eilers Beauty™ is still rich green – outdoors!  
The Champions of December, and a failure of Will
Let us laud the cunning linguists who successfully navigated the snark-infested waters of last month’s word scrambles, which were so tough, Will Shortz flew to Pensacola to beg Puzzlemeistress Anna Graham for a hint. Anna fixed him with her glittering eye, and with a harsh, hackle-raising cackle, sent him crawling back to New York with his tail between his legs. But where Will failed, our readers prevailed.
The answers:
Acid Queen Aligns Asia: Aquilegia canadensis   
Host Some Cubic Sushi: Hibiscus moscheutos   
Intense Polite Manure: Pennisetum orientale   
Unruly Sea Armies: Leymus arenarius
Open Air Sluices: Isolepis cernua
Satanic Ice Vapor: Veronica spicata
The winners:
Janice Dunn, Hinsdale Nurseries, IL; Magan Ellixson, Hoffman Nursery, NC; Jude Groninger, Santa Rosa Gardens, FL; *Kristin Long and Louise Murray, Park Seed, SC
*Charles McInery, Neshkoro, WI; Hope Sterling, Sylvan Nursery, MA
*Repeat winners.
Anna says you guys are getting too good at this. Next month: No tip-offs. All she’ll let me tell you is that the theme will be one of the following: Latin plant names, common plant names, or plant characteristics. You have a month to prepare. Good luck.
Describing a color is like naming shapes in the clouds: No two viewers see exactly the same thing. A beautiful example: Living Coral , the Pantone Color of the Year for 2019.
Coral pink with gold undertones, Living Coral conjures a range of impressions. What do you see? Sunsets? Apricots? Umbrella drinks?
With its trademark enthusiasm, Pantone sees it as “nurturing... sociable and spirited.” It’s a “convivial” hue that “provides comfort and buoyancy.” What do we see? Flowers and foliage. We’re funny that way.
Here are a few of our favorite things that play beautifully with the Color of the Year.
Chasmanthium latifolium is an easy-to-grow native. Attractive dangling seedheads take on glowing gold/red tones in fall. Zones 5-9.
Miscanthus ‘Fire Dragon’ makes a graceful late-season segue from green through coral, ending in a flourish of reds and oranges. Zones 6-9.
Astilbe ‘Delft Lace’ : Long, apricot-pink plumes rise high on bright candy-apple red upright stems. A Dutch selection, hardy in Zones 3-9.
Heuchera ‘Southern Comfort’ : The coral bell mavens at Terra Nova created this beauty’s big, cinnamon/peach leaves. A bold foliage statement, hardy in Zones 4-9.
However YOU see Living Coral, you’ll want to grow what harmonizes with it. It’ll be everywhere, in fashion, interior and exterior decor, and more. And garden center customers will be buying plants that rhyme with it.
Give the people what they want. Grow living color that goes with Living Coral (no snorkel required) in vigorous liners from Emerald Coast Growers – the easy choice!
Capricorn and Aquarius : Born in January, your birthstone is Garnet. Your soulmate in the Kingdom Plantae is Delosperma ‘Jewel of Desert Garnet’ . This interesting member of the family Aizoaceae hangs out on the Tree of Life in the Caryophyllales order, Eudicots clade. You should get in touch. Forget Tinder, see Tray Bon! below for clear instructions on why and how to get this juicy gem into your life.
This succulent, drought-tolerant quixotically-titled group of “ice plants” showcases many splendid flower colors, all named for precious stones. ‘Jewel of Desert Garnet’ features rich red outer petals surrounding a magenta center and yellow stamens. Its namesake stone, usually red, also comes in yellow, purple and pink. So the breeder could have named most of the series ‘Garnet’, which would be accurate, sort of, but very confusing. 
Swipe right and cash in on the ongoing succulent surge. Collect the whole precious set in our easy-planting, fast-finishing 72s. 
Seeing in the New Year is but one of many milestones we observe, but we haven’t always done so on January 1. Early American colonists rang in the new year on March 25. Other cultures marked the start of the annum novum in September.
Time itself is perhaps mankind’s most successful invention. It’s marked, measured and recorded worldwide. We note its passage with simple shadow-casting devices, ultra-sophisticated electronic devices, massive mechanical devices – and pencil lines on scraps of paper.
Wherever, whenever and however you mark its arrival, we hoist a champagne flute in your general direction and wish you a Happy New Year. We intend to be here, serving your needs, until it’s time to wish you another.
John Friel
Marketing Manager