Issue #132 December 2020
December 2020

“On the way the paper bag was on my knee/Man I had a dreadful flight.”
– Lennon & McCartney

Hasn’t this year just flown by? Oh, heck no. 2020 lost an engine early and kind of limped through the sky. It’s been a pretty dreadful flight, through dark and turbulent clouds. But there were many silver linings for the green industry because we WERE the silver lining for so many, many people. We hope your business was among the beneficiaries.

MMXX is coming in for a (hopefully safe) landing now. We’re all looking forward to slamming the hangar doors shut on its tattered tail. Be of good cheer: the season currently underway transcends it all, if we allow it. 
DOWN ON THE FARMS
Florida
In the shoulder seasons, our northern & southern locations can swap climates temporarily. On Thanksgiving Day, shirtsleeved PA enjoyed a 64º afternoon. As I type, shivering Milton, FL is buttoning up and battening down for a 29º night. Which is actually a good thing when field-digging grasses for division. A little nudge toward dormancy helps make those roots more cooperative and improves your liner quality. So a little nip in the air means good things on the ground for grasses like Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ and his variegated friends. See Tray Bon! below for more.
Milton, FL field grasses
Pennsylvania
Darkness happens early these days. Come outside with us at sunset and gaze westward. Watch the backlit trees sift blackbirds out of the sky. Pretty cool, isn’t it?
Reminder: You can pick up your liners here in PA and pay no freight charges, even if we grew them in FL. Naturally, we need advance notice to get your goodies on the next truck, which departs on the date shown on current Availability. And naturally, it’s mainly MidAtlantic region folks who take advantage of this option, but some picker-uppers come all the way from Canada. Also pretty cool, eh?
ROCK STARS 
Our Rock Star award honors ECG employees who demonstrate a sustained high level of performance and inspire others.
This month we honor Constantino Ramirez Blanco – better known to his fellow ECG folk as “Tino.”
Tino joined our work force 17 years ago. Grass production supervisor Greg Mandel confirms, “His experience shows every single day. This guy is a machine!”
Tino works mostly in grass production, but because he’s so fast and reliable, he’s frequently assigned to tasks in other areas.
“Digging field stock, dividing grasses, poly covering – the list is endless,” said Greg. And he really shines when rapid, accurate production absolutely must be done right, and done right now.
“Emergency TC shipments, sticking sensitive varieties… he can produce double and triple units to other crew members, consistently. He is the go-to production guy when you need something done properly and in a timely manner.”
In short, said Greg, “Tino is an extremely valuable asset to myself and the company.”
Congratulations, Tino, and thank you for your reliable high-volume, high-quality output. You rock!
Pictured (left to right): "Tino" Ramirez Blanco, Greg Mandel
WHAT'S HOT! But wait! There’s moor!
If you grow ornamental grasses – and if not, what are you waiting for? – you probably know Sesleria autumnalis, a.k.a. “Autumn moor grass.” But have you met its equally-pretty, equally-hardy cousin Sesleria caerulea? Let us introduce you.

“Blue moor grass” blooms in spring, with small purple panicles that mature to silvery green. The slender blades are glaucous blue on top, deep green below. And there’s a twist – literally: Those blades, arranged in neat dense tuffets, naturally take on a subtle spiral that shows both sides simultaneously for a nifty two-tone effect. A Scandinavian native, S. caerulea stands a cute, compact 8 – 12” tall. It’s hardy in Zones 4 – 7.

Don’t just get more grass, get moor grass in 38 liners from Emerald Coast Growers – the easy choice!
Sesleria caerulea
GRIDDLE ANSWERS AND WINNERS
Our in-house puzzleczarina Anna Graham had a dilemma last month. Her instructions were clear: Circle the hidden words. But some entrants -- you know who you are, you little rebels – either crossed out the words or used a highlighter. Anna, ever the curmudgeon, reached for the dreaded red card, ready to DQ you all.

But first she consulted with the Commissioner, who ruled that we can all use a few highlights in our lives these days. Henceforth, highlighting and out-crossing shall be legal plays to suss out words and score swag. Anna acquiesced. ‘Tis the season.

THE WINNERS! These three bobbed to the top of all correct entries.

Tune in again next month when Anna unleashes another red-hot Griddle and dips into her Big Bag O’Swag. Thanks, everyone, for playing!
QUOTES OF THE MONTH CLUB

“The internet has made it easy to be informed and even easier to be misinformed.”

– Janeen Wright

“Let us be grateful to those people who make us happy … to the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

– Marcel Proust
TRAY BON! Yipes! Stripes!
Beyond ‘Karl Foerster’
It’s near blasphemy to rank any grass higher than world-famous Calamagrostis xa. ‘Karl Foerster’. So we’re not saying that, because Santa’s listening. But we WILL say that there are other options in that very same species that combine Karl’s legendary reliability with a fresh new look: Stripes!
‘Eldorado’ (PP16486) has been in our lineup for years. As you’d expect from a cultivar named for the legendary city of gold, it features a bold gold stripe down the center of each blade. Height 3 – 4’. Hardy in Zones 5 – 10.
‘Avalanche’ also lives up to its name with a band of snowy white per blade. Both put up silvery plumes in mid-summer that mature to handsome bronze. Height 3’. Hardy in Zones 4 – 10.
Whether you choose to go for the gold or minty-fresh white, we’ve got you covered with ‘Eldorado’ and ‘Avalanche’ in 38s and 72s. We’ll go you one better with ‘Karl Foerster’, which also comes in our beefy depth charge 21 cell tray. We’re digging them all!
Calamagrostis xa. ‘Karl Foerster’
EPILOGUE
“Hallelujah everybody say ‘Cheese!’ / Merry Christmas from the family.”

Last December, This Space waxed euphoric about how grateful we were for time spent with loved ones. It’s sometimes hard to remember when that kind of normal was, well, normal. Now, you show someone you love them by NOT hugging them. But as Annie sang, “The sun’ll come out tomorrow!”

Here’s to a wonderful 2021. Here’s to a future that looks more like the past – bigger, bolder, brighter, with the wide-open arms and horizons of Christmases past.

May your days be merry and bright. And may Santa ship your whole list with no backorders. 
John Friel
Marketing Manager