Issue #93 September 2017
Growth Patterns: By the Numbers
Ever marvel at the precise geometric patterns in the cone of an Echinacea , or the heart of a Gaillardia ? Those hypnotic swirls are among the lovelier examples of a Fibonacci series, named for mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci (1175-1250). His eponymous numerical progression magically maps seedheads, flower petals, furled fern fiddleheads, human hairs, golf ball dimples and much, much more. 
Nightfall 10:14AM
Last month, This Space traveled to Oregon to catch the last total solar eclipse visible in the US until 2024. It was a jaw-dropper. 
Knowing when and why an eclipse will happen – advantages that, through the ages, many lacked – did not prepare me for the reality of the event, when the moon’s shadow darkened the world. The air turned cold, stars appeared and the sun became a bright fragile ring in an off-color sky. You had to be there. 
I’d elaborate, but there’s no improving on an extraordinary essay by my literary idol Annie Dillard, describing the eclipse of 1979. See for yourself here:

I was really in Oregon for the FarWest Show , so the eclipse was a welcome bonus. The biggest hort event west of the Rockies has regained size and mojo since the Great Recession, which hit the region hard. Thanks again to all the good folks who swung by the ECG booth to say Hi and place orders, with special appreciation to Patty of Garden Thyme Nursery for adopting my samples and giving them a good home. Interesting sidebar: More Canadian growers attended than in recent years, probably thanks to the current not-too-onerous currency exchange rate. O, Canada! C’mon down!
The Panhandle’s eyes are warily watching the dregs of Hurricane Harvey, still wreaking havoc in Texas and Louisiana, and drifting eastward. We know from bitter experience what Gulf Coast storms can do. Be generous to your colleagues in the crosshairs.
On a more cheerful note, our new R&D greenhouse, 11,000 square feet of Atlas gutter-connect space at our Milton grass farm, is all but ready to receive plants this fall for trials, evaluation, propagation protocol refinement and a bit of in-house breeding. 
Pennsylvania September Events: In & Out of the Industry
-- Come see us in our booth at the Griffin Expo , Lancaster (PA) Convention Center, September 27-28 . Don’t come just for the trade show: Downtown Lancaster’s a splendid, walkable place to visit. 
-- Avast, ye landlubbers and scalawags! Slap on the ol’ eyepatch, dust off the peg-leg, and talk like a pirate on International Talk Like A Pirate Day on the 19th , lest ye find yerself at the bottom of Davey Jones’ locker! Arrrrrr! Yes, TLAP Day is a thing. For the straight poop:
Need to expand your variety palette, but can’t expand your space? Meet TrayMates™ , our new split 72 tray! Now you can order just 36 of a long list of top-selling perennials and grasses. We’re producing this fall for availability starting in February.
Minimum order per variety: 36 cells. Minimum order: 72 total cells. 
When a whole tray is too much of a good thing, call ECG and try TrayMates™ . We’ll meet you halfway!
Don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that bling

September’s birthstone is Sapphire , believed by believers to inspire intuition, wisdom, meditation and good fortune. It’s mined worldwide, but can be made in a laboratory. Typically blue, it also comes in yellow, purple, orange & green. Chemically, it’s a corundum, an oxide of aluminum. 
The tradition of pairing gemstones and months has links to the Book of Exodus, the Zodiac, and – surprise! -- a 1952 Kansas jewelers’ convention. Isn’t that precious?
Helictotrichon ‘Sap hirsprudel’ (Sapphire fountain) is a gem of a grass any month, but September’s a great time to pot it, bulk it and (A) plant it out this fall, or (B) hold it for spring sales. Its blue-green spiky mounds will remind you of a Festuca’s big brother.
Hosta : Nine nifty varieties await your planting pleasure, and they all look terrific. They’re ready to make the leap from our 38s into your gallons, with time left to (A) finish for fall sales/planting, or (B) overwinter for early 2018 sales. Choose from ‘Blue Angel’ , ‘Earth Angel’ , ‘First Frost’ , ‘Fragrant Blue’ , ‘Fragrant Bouquet’ , ‘Royal Standard’ , ‘So Sweet’ , ‘Stained Glass’ and ‘Wide Brim’ . Plan A or Plan B, plan on a great start and a fast finish.
The arrangement and movements of the planets, the shape of spiral galaxies and your DNA helix embody some variant of Fibonacci numbers or their kin, the Golden Ratio, which predates the F-series (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, ad infinitum) by centuries. 
So the short list in the opening – seed heads, golf balls, your scalp – must be expanded to include orbits, eclipses and the color of your child’s eyes. Fibonacci: It’s not just for sunflowers, it’s also for the sun. And the son.
John Friel
Marketing Manager