Issue #136 April 2021
April 2021
“April/Come She Will” – Paul Simon

And come she has, and not a moment too soon. We’d had our fill of bipolar March, with cheerful sunny shorts-and-sandals days bracketed by bleak freezing gloom. If March were a person, we’d prescribe some serious mood-modifying meds to mellow its mercurial mojo. But months are immune to such interventions, so we just grin and bear it. Month #3 is like that difficult relative who, luckily, visits just once a year.
DOWN ON THE FARMS
Florida
Bleak? Freezing? Must be a Yankee talking. Here on the Emerald Coast, March is for golf. In the greenhouses, more beautiful trays are coming ready in April than you can shake a 9-iron at.
Where to begin? Miscanthus Bandwidth and Alligator bring new glitter to a classic genus. But we can play the classics, too: Look for fresh batches of Salvia May Night, Scabiosa ‘Butterfly Blue’ and Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ – each a legacy Perennial Plant of the Year, and still ringing the cash register. Fore!
Miscanthus Bandwidth™
Miscanthus Alligator
Salvia May Night
Scabiosa ‘Butterfly Blue’
Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’
Pennsylvania
Yes, our spring takes longer to arrive, but patience has its rewards. Like watching as the goldfinches get more gilded every day, trading winter’s drab cloak for gaudy summer plumage. It’s as if they’re segueing between the two Pantone Colors of the Year for ’21, casting off Ultimate Gray and donning Illuminating Yellow. Our benches bear echoes of both: Chic Lavandula ‘Ellagance Purple’ and variegated Thymus ‘Hi Ho Silver’ anchor the subtler side, while Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’ and Sagina subulata ‘Aurea’ cast a low profile/high visibility golden glow on their surroundings. 
Lavandula ‘Ellagance Purple’
Thymus ‘Hi Ho Silver’
Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’
Sagina subulata ‘Aurea’
ROCK STAR 
Our Rock Star award honors ECG employees who demonstrate a sustained high level of performance and inspire others.

This month, put your hands together for Alysia Reed, who started with Emerald Coast Growers back in 2006. She’ll have been with us for 15 years this June.

Among Alysia’s fans and nominators: VP of Sales and ECG co-owner Cheri Markowitz. For her job title, Cheri rattled off “Accounts Receivable, Credits & Claims Processing, and Customer Service Support,” admitting, “That’s not really a title -- more like a list.”

Which actually fits better than a strictly defined slot on an organizational chart. Cheri explained, “I count on Alysia for many different administrative duties. She’s very smart and reliable. She’s quick to pick up on any process, and always available and willing to help others.” Cheri also praised Alysia’s “calm and kind demeanor.”
Co-workers singled out Alysia’s “major committment.” One described her as “a dedicated employee, always willing to lend a helping hand. I appreciate her concern for her coworkers and the company.”

Others cited Alysia’s “great spirit. She is a very hard worker. She recently dealt with some hard life issues but was still here immediately after to ensure her duties were taken care of.” 

Thank you, Alysia, for your versatility, perseverance and unwavering work ethic. You rock!
WHAT'S HOT! Fresh from the Oven
April showers bring May flowers.
Mayflowers bring Pilgrims.
Winter production brings April liners.
April liners bring spring and summer profits. 
Our prolific production teams kept the beat going all winter. So spring into action and reap the rewards of their efforts with ready-to-rock starters!
Delosperma (Ice plant)

Ignore the pooh-poohers who said it wouldn’t last. America’s love affair with succulents is still hot & heavy after all these years. Here are some juicy details:
Gardeners and growers love our Jewel of Desert (five varieties) and Wheels of Wonder® (six) series for their carefree culture and dazzling starry flowers. JoD varieties stand 4 – 6” tall, sporting bicolor flowers with white bullseye centers.

WoW! is an apt acronym for this slightly-taller, faster-growing group with bigger, shinier flowers, great for bigger containers or even hanging baskets. Height 6 – 8”. Both series are hardy in Zones 5 – 10.

Cosmopolitan Backstory
Our Delosperma varieties represent a sort of horticultural United Nations: Selections of an African genus, they’re chosen for North American markets by a Japanese breeder working in South America for a Dutch company.
THE GRIDDLE
And the winners are...
Puzzlemeistress Anna Graham recorded two new milestones last month. Brothers Jackson and Jett Furnas are our youngest champs ever at 14 and 9 years of age, respectively. Jonathan Mickiewicz gets the Sizzling Griddle Award for blazing speed: His completed puzzle hit Anna’s inbox just 20 minutes after the newsletter left ECG. Wow! But fear not, Kristen McDermott: Their entries aren’t any winning-er than yours. A homerun is a homerun, whether it barely clears the wall or lands in the next county.

Thanks to all who played. Tune in again May 1 for a special Mayday! Mayday! Griddle.

March Griddle answers:
IN MEMORIAM: Ray Blew
Ray Blew, patriarch and founder of Centerton Nursery in New Jersey, passed away in March at 90. Ray and son Denny founded the company in 1974. Now a third-generation family business, Centerton has blossomed from a small Rhododendron and Azalea nursery into an innovative perennial powerhouse selling to landscapers and IGCs, shipping to 32 States.

RIP, Ray. Your legacy is in good hands. 
Ray & Marlene Blew (c. 1951)
TRAY BON! See pinks? No, those are sea pinks!

Armeria is a cheerful presence in the sunny border. Starting in mid spring, tidy globular clusters of deep pink florets rise on slender stems, 6 – 8” over 4” clumps of rich green grassy foliage.

Native to both Europe and North America, it’s hardy in Zones 4 – 8. It performs best in full sun. Once established, it tolerates drought, poor soil, stony soil – anything but consistently wet feet. A good choice for edging, it also naturalizes nicely.
The Game of the Name

Armeria is also called “sea thrift.” The genus name is a Latinized form of armoires, which sounds like furniture but is actually an old French name for a double-flowered Dianthus. The beachy-keen specific epithet signals a preference for coastal areas, often in stingy, infertile soil where little else thrives. Moral: Go easy on the fertilizer, and use well-drained media. 
EPILOGUE
So ends another episode of Coastal Current, our monthly missive dedicated to keeping you informed, entertained, and – most importantly – buying our liners and growing great plants from them. To those ends, we hit Send on every issue with fingers crossed, hoping you’ll be pleased with our prose, happy with our hijinks, content with our content.

Until next time, may the wind be with you and may your spring never come unwound. 
John Friel
Marketing Manager