Issue #140 August 2021
August 2021
WHO LET THE DOG DAYS IN?

And why are these the “Dog Days,” anyway? It’s written in the stars, specifically the “dog star.” No, that’s not Lassie or Benji. In July and August, Sirius, the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (Latin for “big dog”), appears in the morning sky. Ancient Romans theorized that it caused the seasonal temperature spike by adding its heat to that of the sun. Siriusly!
DOWN ON THE FARMS
Florida

Our new Starter Plants Catalog made its debut at Cultivate ’21. A big Thank You! to all who came and picked it up in person at our booth. If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, please call or email our crack Customer Service team. They’ll fix you up in no time.
In the greenhouses and shipping buildings, the crews are busy picking and gathering trays of perennials and grasses. Boxes, racks and cages are filling up fast. Are some of them headed your way? They should be!
Pennsylvania
Let’s hear it for Extension! PSU’s Landisville trial gardens held a modified Open House, showing off literally thousands of annuals, perennials and vegetables from breeders large and small. Many of our faves are performing beautifully. See Tray Bon! for more. Trials are open just one more day, August 4, with two timed arrivals. If you’re nearby, register at https://extension.psu.edu/flower-trials-field-day
SPEAKING OF TRIAL GARDENS & OPEN HOUSES...
The Perennial Plant Association’s “Pop-Up” mini-symposium will visit our PA trial garden on September 9. It’s one of three such pop-ups next month. For more info, and to register: perennialplant.org.
Can’t wait that long? Four pop-ups are coming in August, in MD, OR, IL and MI! 

ECG's Lancaster, PA trial garden
TRAY BON!
The PSU trials confirmed what we’ve been telling you: Bouteloua ‘Honeycomb’ (PP33101) and Pennisetum ‘Yellow Ribbons’ (PP31362), both from Intrinsic Perennial Gardens in IL, are great new grasses! ‘Honeycomb’ is like ‘Blonde Ambition’, but with denser, greener foliage and a richer honey/caramel hue to its “eyelash” blooms. Another difference: It’s available now! Both looked fantastic in their second year in the ground.
Bouteloua ‘Honeycomb’ (PP33101)
Pennisetum ‘Yellow Ribbons’ (PP31362)
‘Yellow Ribbons’ brings a new blast of brilliant sunniness to the sunny border. It’s the perfect hue for the year of Illuminating, one of the Pantone Colors of the Year.
Brent Horvath with ‘Yellow Ribbons’ in ECG's PA trial garden 
Also outstanding in the field, from a much larger international entity also based in Illinois: Echinacea Sombrero® Series and Artisan Collection, from Ball Seed. Also in their second year, their flower power and uniformity were truly striking.
Echinacea Sombrero®
Lemon Yellow Improved PP24768
Echinacea Artisan™ Soft Orange
ROCK STAR 
Our Rock Star award honors ECG employees who demonstrate a sustained high level of performance and inspire others.

This month’s honors go to Alexis Thomas, who joined the ECG team in 2016. 
In her five years with the firm, Lexi has tackled many jobs around the greenhouses. She’s experienced in plant production, picking, plant care and logistics. Currently, she’s helping out in our very busy shipping department, while still assisting with grass production. Here’s what inspired her peers and colleagues to nominate her.
 
"I believe Alexis Thomas deserves this award! She has stepped up, takes on different jobs, and doesn't complain. She puts in long hours, even on weekends if needed!!"

"Lexi works so patiently with co-workers. She is extremely organized, coordinates with each department and handles every task thrown at her with grace. She is an amazing coworker and a perfect example of what ECG stands for!"

"Alexis is a highly-motivated, fast-paced worker. She is definitely a motivator."

"Every time you turn around, Alexis is motivating her co-workers, leading by example."

"She is a key player. I’m a big fan of leading by example, and she does that to a tee."

Congratulations, Alexis, and thank you for your many contributions to our company’s success. You rock!
WHAT'S HOT
There’s no time like the Dog Days to plan for the Holidays!

Begonia? From ECG? You bet! Sure, we’re known for sterner stuff, i.e., tough-as-nails grasses and perennials. But we’ve always had a soft spot for certain tender plants, and these really trip our trigger.

Holiday® and T REX™ are perfect for fall and holiday containers. Plant our liners in August-September for finished fall/winter pots, retail-ready along with traditional seasonal enhancements -- from mums and cornstalks all the way to poinsettias!

Interest in houseplants is growing like a magic beanstalk. Stake your claim to a piece of this surging, burgeoning market with Holiday® and T REX Begonias
Begonia Holiday® Jolly Holly PPAF
Begonia T Rex™ rex-cultorum St. Nick PP26811
EPILOGUE
"Man, it’s a hot one/Like seven inches from the midday sun."
– Rob Thomas
Carlos Santana and Rob Thomas "Smooth" 1999
Mama said there’d be days like that. And she was right, as Mama usually is. Some years, August is a very long, hot, surly dog indeed. But this much-maligned season has its own kind of sundazed beauty.
The song of the cicada rings through the MidAtlantic; the howls of sunburned tourists serenade the Florida Panhandle. Tough perennials, vigorous grasses and sturdy gardeners shrug off the heat everywhere. The Perseid meteor shower lights up the night – as does my whacky cactus, Cereus “Queen of the night,” which has six buds as I type. Soon this gangly, sprawling epiphyte will remind me why I love it so: The flowers are huge, fragrant and spectacular. Cereusly!
John Friel
Marketing Manager