The Sky Is Failing! The Sky is Failing!

Failing? No. Fading? Yes, all the way to black. On August 21, a total solar eclipse will arc across the US, Northwest to Southeast. This Space will be there in the Oregon sector of the legendary Path of Totality, watching the moon blot out the sun. Perhaps I’ll bang a gong or scream at the sky, as fearful people have always done when their world unexpectedly darkens. Rage, rage against the dying of the light!


Our rookie-year introductions aren’t just in our new catalog: They’re on our benches, ready to be called up to the big leagues, i.e., your containers. Pennisetum Etouffee™ and Hush Puppy™ come with a signing bonus: They’re infertile, so they flower heavily all season and won’t self-sow. Rudbeckia ‘American Gold Rush’, a spectacular performer in our trials, is definitely ready to play. And scout out Salvia April Night. True to its name, it blooms earlier (and longer!) than its more famous competition.


Looking great on the benches now: Imperata ‘Red Baron’, Aquilegia canadensis, Origami, Songbird, Swan, Sunshine and Winky, Festuca ‘Cool as Ice’ and much much more. We’ve got Asclepias tuberosa, the Perennial Plant of the Year, and so should you. Don’t overlook its cousin A. incarnata, another valuable pollinator-friendly species. And those short-day-treated Echinacea we’ve been telling you about, ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ and ‘PowWow Wild Berry’, are primed to break out in bloom just for you.

The ancients dreaded eclipses. In England, they were thought to be linked to a Norman invasion and a king’s death. Primitive cultures would beat drums, cry out and crank their stereos up to 11 to chase away the demons who were stealing the light. Of course, some folks just like noise, and any excuse will do.
Babylonian, Chinese and Arab myths held that a celestial dragon swallowed the sun. In Vietnam, a frog hogged it. In Norse legend a hungry wolf wolfed it down, and North American tribes blamed a bear. Let’s pause to digest the concept of the sun vanishing into a gaping celestial maw, then emerging from ... hmm, on second thought, let’s not think too hard about how the light reappears, shall we? Thanks.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Out & About with ECG!
Cultivate‘17: Our new booth design was a smash hit in Columbus. Thanks tons to all of you customers, brokers and trick-or-treaters who came by to visit. Our new infertile Pennisetum varieties, Etoufee™, Hush Puppy™ and Jambalaya™, were much admired, as was Senecio Angel Wings: see What’s Hot below. Also popular: Pennisetum Noble™, one of the big bold black Napier grasses in our Royal collection. Makes a great garden accent or big-container “thriller.”

FarWest Show, Portland, OR August 23-25

The Rose City beckons! The green industry’s most important western event takes place in one of the coolest cities anywhere. Bilingual seminars, acres of vendors, Voodoo Donuts, world-class Japanese and Chinese gardens, and more craft beers than you can sample. Trust us, we’ve tried. All this and ECG too, in Booth #17058. And if you go just a couple of days early, you can catch the eclipse!

What gleams like silver and feels like velvet? Senecio Angel Wings! Cultivate attendees couldn’t keep their hands off it. That unique visual/tactile combo drew them into our booth, arms outstretched zombie-like, to fondle its leaves. Angel Wings is tender, and not just in the touchy-feely way. It’s one of the few non-hardy, non-grass items in our plant portfolio. We couldn’t resist it either.

HORTISCOPE: Zodiac Sandwich on Wry
Leo:  The  wise lion makes haste while the sun shines. If you miss this eclipse, another will darken the US in 2024. But the next one to occur while your sign rules the sky won’t be along until 2045!

This is the Year of the Coreopsis, says the National Garden Bureau. At ECG, every year is the YoC. Our liner lineup just grew by half a dozen hot new ones from prolific breeder Darrell Probst, bringing our selection of his selections to a nice round 25 varieties. Darrell trials his progeny in New England, and he doesn’t coddle them so you won’t have to, either.

The Li’l Bang™ series welcomes ‘Orange Elf’ and ‘Enchanted Red’. The PermaThread™ string now includes ‘Blushing Pink’, ‘Cherry Blast’ and ‘Glowing Embers’, while Satin & Lace™ serves up ‘Ice Wine’. All can be had later this month or next, but numbers are limited so it’d be wise to nail yours down now.

EPILOGUE It'll shine when it shines

Omens and eclipse traditions aren’t all scary. In Togo, children are told the sun and moon are fighting, but will be friends again if people make peace with one another. Italian gardeners hold that flowers planted during an eclipse bloom brightest. Sorry, I’ll be too busy making noise and staring skyward – with eye protection, of course – to do any dibbling. But if you’ve got the time, plant a bed of Heucherella ‘Solar Eclipse’ and let us know how they come out. 

John Friel
Marketing Manager