Issue #127 July 2020
JULY 2020
OUR HAT IS IN THE RING
In just a few months, Emerald Coast Growers will have been in business for thirty years. Amazing but true. Thirty years! Three decades! Why, in just five more years, if ECG were a person, the company could legally run for President of the United States.

Come to think of it, the Supreme Court ruled a decade ago that corporations have personhood. We were definitely born, er, founded in the USA. So... why not? Who wants to start the write-in petition? ECG For POTUS! Heck, we could do a lot worse.
DOWN ON THE FARMS
Florida
Here it is July, and we’ve barely mentioned the Pantone Color of the Year. For 2020, it’s rich, deep Classic Blue – “suggestive of the sky at dusk,” say the Pantonians. We love it! Some years, the COTY is a tough fit for the green industries, but this one goes with almost everything. Pair it with pink, red, white, yellow or other blues, and you’ll find harmony easy to achieve – to Yours Truly’s untrained eye, anyway.

Exact matches are tricky: Not many perennial flowers are truly blue. Two of the best are in the genus Salvia , but more importantly they’re in our Milton greenhouses. See Tray Bon! below for more. 
Pennsylvania
We’ve got the blues in our Northern location, too: four Festuca varieties with glaucous blue foliage, Aquilegia ‘Songbird Blue Bird’, Campanula ‘Pearl Deep Blue’, and Lavandula ‘Phenomenal’, to name a few.

But as we said (pay attention!) this new COTY goes with almost anything. A real stunner would be Hakonechloa ‘All Gold’ in a Classic Blue pot. Don’t take our word for it, try it! The active ingredient is on current Availability . We’ll hook you up. 
TRAY BON!
Salvia nemorosa Blue Hill (‘Blauhugel’) Introduced by the legendary Ernst Pagels, whose criteria included ease of culture. This one’s among the truest blues of the hardy Salvia . Very cold hardy, down to Zone 3. Famously drought-tolerant once established.

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ Cobalt blue flowers erupt from jet-black calyxes. A striking, kinda tender plant that often overachieves and overwinters in Zone 6. 
Salvia nemorosa Blue Hill (‘Blauhugel’)
Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’
ROCK STARS
Our Rock Star award honors ECG employees who demonstrate a sustained high level of performance and inspire others. Let’s hear it for our latest recipient, Dina Johnson!
Dina’s main duties are to manage both the Administration office and the tag office. But despite those time-consuming gigs, she’s quick to volunteer to handle just about anything that pops up. She’s been called “wearer of 1,000 hats.”

A co-worker’s nomination described Dina as “genuinely kind-hearted, determined and hard-working.” No argument here. She even manages to keep the author of this newsletter on track with things like tag copy, trade show details and the occasional invoice. And she does it all with a smile.

Congratulations, Dina on a job – or rather, jobs -- well done!
WHAT'S HOT! 
“Stokes’ aster”
Of the many wonderful perennials native to North America, few are prettier than Stokesia laevis . The frilly flowers may appear dainty, but this is a sturdy species, hardy and easy to grow. Pollinators love it: Watch for nectaring butterflies and moths. All varieties share the species’ trademark broad, strappy leaves. The genus name honors British physician & botanist Jonathan Stokes (1755 to 1831). But Dr. Stokes never saw these two:
Our very own selection! Big fluffy blooms open with a coy hint of yellow in the center, then mature to pure, celestial white -- and they last, standing calmly above the foliage for weeks starting in early summer. Height: 12 – 14”
Fun fact: The name and the flower may conjure celestial images, but ‘Divinity’ was actually named for a dangerously sweet, pure white Southern confection, y’all.

Here’s a non-traditional take on this traditional treat:
https://thesouthernladycooks.com/easy-christmas-divinity/
Fun fact: This one’s been mislabeled (even by us) as ‘Mel’s Blue’, but there’s no apostrophe. Mels is a Dutch lad whose Dutch dad selected this variety for its large (up to 4” across) periwinkle blue blooms, spherical habit and sturdy stems. Flowers more heavily than the straight species. It stands a bit taller than ‘Divinity’, 12 – 15”. 
“THERE’S NO THERE THERE.” – Gertrude Stein
Gertrude meant her childhood home, but this year her famous quote could be about Cultivate , another industry touchstone gone virtual. Goodbye, Columbus.

But ECG is there for you even when neither of us is literally there. American Hort has made it possible to convene online. Our crack in-house interwebs team has built a booth and a New Varieties experience from fresh, crisp pixels.

You can sign up here:
And check the schedule here:

Look at the bright side: No traffic jams, flight delays or scary Uber drivers. If someone on your team is distraught, just say “There, there.” Then guide them to Emerald Coast Growers – the easy choice!
EPILOGUE
By the way, the traditional 30 th anniversary gift is pearls. But really, you shouldn’t. Oh, all right, if you insist. We like the blue Sea of Cortez types, they go well with the COTY. Ironically, Florida is famous for oysters, but they rarely produce a pearl. Shucks!

Alternatively, you could start a PAC for ECG’s 2028 POTUS campaign. It’ll be here before you know it. We’ll be there with pearls on, tanned, rested and ready. The world is our oyster!

Stay safe, fellow Americans. We want to see you back here next month – and the next month, and the next, etc.
John Friel
Marketing Manager