This is a test of the emergency newsletter system. Had this been an actual emergency, would you be sitting there reading emails? Good thing it’s just a test, eh?
Ever wonder how “Mayday” became an international cry of distress? Simple: It’s a phonetic spelling of “M’aider!” which is French for “Help! We are out of wine!”  A British radioman coined it in 1923 to tell pilots and ground crews in England and France that the biofertilizer had impacted the air circulator. Sacre bleu!
This has been a test. We now return you to your regular Coastal Current installment, already in progress.


Shipping has been seasonably intense, thanks to your orders. We’re tired -- but grateful! Meanwhile, many of our newest offerings are available now for your planting pleasure. There are copacetic Coreopsis in the Big Bang™, Li’l Bang™, Permathread™ and Satin & Lace™ series by breeder Darrell Probst; Echinacea from the Butterfly™ and Meadow Mama™ groups; and six nifty Erysimum in the glorious Glow™ series. And that’s far from all. For many more marvels, just check our current Availability.


Our two locations are not created equal: Florida’s bigger by far and grows a much larger percentage of the items we list. But our PA site lets us offer nearly 100 items that prefer a cooler climate. Grasses currently include bodacious batches of Festuca ‘Boulder Blue’, ‘Elijah Blue’, ‘Cool as Ice’ and Beyond Blue; well-established Hakonechloa macra and H. m. ‘All Gold’; and four kinds of cool Carex. The perennial palette is even broader, ranging from Achillea and Anemone right on down to Salvia. And they’ll look even better on your benches than they do on ours.

The other May Day, the two-word version that’s feted, not dreaded, is a hybrid holiday whose genetics include the Germanic Walpurgis, named for a saint but paradoxically also called Hexennacht, witches’ night; Gaelic Beltane, a festival of fire and feasting when maidens bathed in the morning dew to remain youthful and attractive; and Roman Floralia, honoring the goddess of flowers. Throughout the Northern Hemisphere, throughout and before history, this season is one of hope, renewal and celebration. Raise high the Maypole!

Natives are hot. Succulents are hot. So, what should be hot squared? Native succulents! These  sizzling, soaring categories intersect in the genus Lewisia.
Like jazz, “bitterroot” is more celebrated overseas than here in its birthplace. In Europe, including England, it’s loved not so much as a tough rock garden denizen, which it is, but as a lovely, low-maintenance flowering pot plant
Lewisia has a fascinating footnote: Named for Captain Meriwether Lewis, it was first collected for botanical study by his famous Corps of Discovery, a.k.a. the Lewis and Clark Expedition. (There’s also a Clarkia, but it’s an obscure annual so, meh.)

Select from Lewisia ‘Little Peach’ or ‘Rainbow Mix’. Later this year we’ll add ‘Elise’, featuring big, long-lasting blooms in a nifty array of pastel hues. Try one or all. Add a favorite native son candidate to your spring/summer slate.

Taurus: Attenuating the American history vibe, your many signmates include US Presidents #5, 15, 18 and 33. We’d say “Bully for you!”, but alas, Teddy was a Scorpio.
Gemini: Oddly, your sign didn’t get around to spawning a POTUS until #35, but made up for lost time with 41 and 45. You need one more to catch up to Taurus. Don’t just sit there, throw your matching hats into the ring!

We love Lewisia (see What’s Hot! above), but it’s not our favorite eponymous native genus. No, that distinction is a tie between Stokesia and Muhlenbergia. Why? Simple: We’re the proud introducers of nativars S. laevis ‘Divinity’ and M. capillaris ‘Fast Forward’. We like to think that Jonathan Stokes and Gotthilf Heinrich Ernst Muhlenberg would’ve approved of our selections. ‘Divinity’ blooms long and prolifically with sugar-white flowers reminiscent of the dangerously sweet Southern dessert of the same name. ‘Fast Forward’ brings the bling with a blitz of dazzling purple/pink flower spikes weeks earlier than the straight species. Both can be had, and potted, even as you read.

Thank you for sharing a few moments of this insanely busy season with us. Together, we’ve made it through another episode of Coastal Current. And it wouldn’t have been the same without you. We hope you laughed a little, maybe even cried just a little, and let it become a part of you.
Failing that, here’s hoping that at least this month doesn’t cause you to dive for the storm cellar or the panic room. May all your May days contain no Maydays!

John Friel
Marketing Manager