Making Money

Todays blog is about money and not about foisting some odds and ends that are not selling upon the unsuspecting public and the reason is that I suspect that we are running out of unsuspecting. We are out here in the middle of rural Michigan and thus far from the sources of scuttlebutt and information. We have heard rumors that some of the one gallon perennial suppliers are running short of product. We have plenty and so here are some varieties and numbers. The potting crew is going full-bore with lots of liner availability, so plenty more will be coming on in a few weeks.

In grasses we have in Karl Foerster 3,000 of the 3 gallons and 19,000 of the 1 gallons. We have learned to not cut off the flower stalks this time of the year. Also 8,000 1 gallons Sesleria autumnalis and 6,000 1 gallons of Deschampsia c. ‘Goldtau’ and 3,000 1 gallons of Eragrostis spectabilis. As long as we are planning ahead, I consider Sesleria ‘Greenlee’s Hybrid’ to be a superior plant to the species, a little more compact, nice looking. I have half an acre in the field so we can do some liners next winter. Let us know how many hundred thousand you want so we can get psychologically prepared.

My next favorite new plant is Alliums. We have 14,000 ‘Summer Beauty’ and 7,000 ‘Windy City’ PP# 28,100 and 5,000 cernuum. We were told that the ‘Windy City’ would walk out the door on their own. Ours must be too well trained or well behaved or something to do that.

There are perennials all over the place but the computer says that we have 6,000 Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ and 5,000 Coreopsis ‘Zagreb’ and 3,500 Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ and 3,000 Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’.

We are not too proud to sell allium liners to our fellow perennial container growers, regardless of where they are marketing the product, in our back yard or not. As with all of the other liners, this is winter production. Give us a hint—it does not have to be a firm order—so that we can dig the clumps out of the field. I tried digging once with an inch of frozen ground on top and I have never had anything work so unsuccessfully in my life. Try to tell us before the ground freezes.

Speaking of Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’, years ago I tried to raise the level of consciousness of the landscaping public by growing improved varieties and dropping the old kinds. That is why this blog is entitled ‘making money’ and not ‘consciousness raising with better aesthetics’. I used to try to push ‘Summerblaze’ and ‘Viette’s Little Suzy’ (both not patented) as improvements over the old seed grown ‘Goldsturm’ and without success.

And speaking of really improved Black-Eyed Susans, there are the two new patented ones from Intrinsic Perennial Gardens—‘Glitters Like Gold’ (PPAF) and ‘American Gold Rush’ PP#28,498. These really are improvements in regards to size, blooming and the lack of black leaf spot. Due to a series of decisions we now have far too many mother plants and so next March we will be sticking 50 and 38 plug trays, or any other size you might prefer. These will be rooted and starting to get root bound about June 1. As mentioned in previous communications, these will not be vernalized. Vernalization does not lend itself to our production cycle which revolves around cutting and sticking 4.5 million Pachysandra ‘Green Carpet’ each summer. The reason we will be sticking so many of the new Rudbeckia liners is because I cannot help myself. I remember the golden years of the 1970’s when anything went out the door. Some days we could not even grow enough Euonymous coloratus. I am hard-wired for those kinds of times.

This reminds me that now that Indiana has outlawed E. coloratus we have 4,000 1 gallons and 2,500 flats of the 24 count 3” tray that is popular in the Chicago area and 2,400 flats of 32 count 2 ½” peat pots. We keep hearing rumors that some of the more sophisticated nurseries are dropping this plant, out of solidarity, we suppose. As mentioned earlier, we no longer have any pride, if we ever did have very much, and so we are going to keep supplying the market with whatever someone will buy.

The next blog will also be about making money—we have so much more plant material to sell and we have waited so many years for a good season like this one. I am almost getting used to it. Keep working.