“I don’t get drunk as much anymore because I don’t have as much to get drunk about.”
– Willie Nelson The New Yorker, October 7, 2002 page 57
General Creighton Abrams’ immortal Pig Rule:
“Never wrestle with pigs-you get dirty, and they enjoy it!”
– A Better War, the unexamined victories and final tragedy of America’s last years in Vietnam by Lewis Sorley page 370
Nothing much interesting has happened so far this Spring which is fine with me because instead of having interesting experiences we have shipped out a lot of plants and this is much better than last year when April was too cold and June was too hot and this caused me to have to tell stories to my banker and he only expects to be lied to every other year by us local farmers. This is a good year. Here is a listing of plants available for sale that we want to all be sold during June.
Canadian Ginger, Asarum Candense; 1,000 flats of 4″ pots, that we used to call quarts until our conscience got the better of us. These were potted up last summer and over-wintered outside and they are just leafing out and looking good. This is a high class groundcover that we like much better than its much higher class cousin, Asarum European, that dies on us during all of the important stages of the growth and production cycle, which is why we do not have it. Much more will be potted up next month in whatever sizes the customers may want.
The grass availability will be coming out separately next month as soon as we get the big spring shipments out and can see what we have left. Be advised that we produced 500,000 splits last winter and early spring. These are not in a package that we can easily market at this time. Our plan is to pot them into 3 ½” pots for sale in the late summer of this year or in early spring of next year. We will pot them in any size that someone will pay us money for and sell them the next day, if that is what the customer desires. These are the usual mix of miscanthuses, calamgrostises, panicums, and deschampsias, and pennisetums.
We have 13,000 Waldsteinia ternata, Barren Strawberry, gallons because we made them last year because one of our good customers said that he was buying that many from another nursery. He must still be buying them from the other nursery. I do not know why we expected a someone to change their long established and engrained behavioral patterns just to help us out a little and as long as this person continues to buy truck loads of pachysandra Green Carpet from us his name will not be mentioned in this publication. They are nice and heavy. Besides them we have a 500′ row 2′ wide out in the field to dig and divide or to take cuttings from as soon as someone expresses the vaguest of interest in Waldsteinia.
We will be taking dwarf fleeceflower, fallopia japonica compacta, cuttings in June and we have a lot of them. Before anyone runs out of time to read further we want to mention that the small cells and pots of Green Carpet Pachysandra and Euonymous Coloratus are in abundant supply and look real good. The pachysandra will be extra specially branched this year thanks to a late frost and my employees cutting holes in the plastic early. Once the brown leaf tips disappear they will even look good for sale. The supply for landscapers will be good all summer and fall.
There are 5,000 gallons of heavy Liriope spicata, Creeping Lilyturf, that is stoloniferous and hardy in Chicago. There is much stock of this in the field to be potted up in any size pot or cell at a moment’s notice. This looks like grass to just regular people. The supply of Carex Pensylvanica is good. This is a sedge that does not grow from seed so you have to get it from someone who does divisions, such as us. It is the grass substitute for deep shade and does not require much mowing so it is the latest in ecological correctness for those who care about such things and can afford to follow their heart.
10,000 rooted cuttings, also know as rc’s, of Lonicera japonica halliana, Hall’s honeysuckle are available because we custom grew this for a customer and produced a few extra. This is a good example of what a fine job of custom growing we usually do when given the opportunity and enough time and besides we thought that lightening might strike twice and someone else would want the plant. Because this is a noxious weed in most states we only ask that you drive over here to Michigan to pick it up as we would feel real stupid going to jail because of Halls Honeysuckle.
The next big thing is water and marginal plants. We are already proactive in that area as we have large stock beds of scirpus fluviatalis, spartinia aurea marginata, and glyceria variegata aquatica. You will need to convince the operations manager to get some of these potted up because over the years I have lost a great deal of credibility with my perennially optimistic predictions of future sales. The mantra has always been;” if you don’t have it you can’t sell it.”
By way of housekeeping; I hope that everyone has changed our area code to 269. In the spring rush we use up the 8 incoming lines so just call again soon. The Accounts Payable lady wants me to point out that the 2% net 10 early payment discount is on the plants and not on the freight. We have, for your convenience calculated this and it is the bottom line on the invoice so that you do not have to calculate it yourself and possibly make the common mistake just mentioned. Many people are so excited about paying early that they miscalculate the discount amount and these are just the kind of customers that we do not want to offend by messing up their bookkeeping. We like the money that comes in during the spring although we do not get too emotionally attached to it, we just wave as it goes by.
The open house, summer field day, customer appreciation day, or whatever will be July 25, a Friday. There are two reasons for scheduling it then instead of the end of September; we do not want it to interfere with my steam automobile meetings and secondly, we often need a good rain in mid-summer and this appears to be the best way to get it to rain. The open house has been successfully moved to the loading dock and this keeps us dry. The purpose of the open house is two-fold; we want the customers to see that we take the business seriously and secondly, it is a good opportunity to see a lot of plants in the stock beds and the fields.
Teucrium chaemydrys ‘compactum’, Wall Germander, that used to be Teucrium Canadensis until someone saw that t. Canadensis was a 3′ tall weed. This is one of the ideal groundcovers as it is small and evergreen and can be trimmed up nicely. We have a large cutting bed. Here again, the operations manager needs to know that someone is going to buy this before production is scheduled.
Ostrich ferns in 2 gallons and 3 gallons pots are well established and looking good. Our deciduous grower has good looking 3 gallon material in the following varieties: Syringa palabin, Syringa Miss Kim, Weigela Wine & Roses, Sambucus Black Beauty, Spiraea betulifolia, Spriaea Gumball, Sorbaria sorbifolia, and Euonymous Blondy.
Keep thinking hyper-tufa. We will drop off samples at any time for you to test. We prefer to sell these as a hard goods because when we pot them up ourselves there is too much of a temptation to pot up any old overgrown junk and sedums that we have left over as it all looks good in a hyper-tufa pot. My conscience is almost starting to bother me. We need information as to what sizes and shapes are needed so that we can develop the manufacturing techniques to support their production.
For the second year now we have a delivery/sales person driving around in a one ton truck making sales calls and showing samples all within an hour and a half radius of the nursery. The management consultant taught us that we have geographic and demographic customers and we want to saturate the geographic customers in this local area. And this reminds me that the ideal demographic customer is the landscaper who takes delivery all summer and fall and buys truck loads of coloratus.
Every so often the stars get all lined up in a row and the moon gets its cusps headed in the right direction and this causes some landscape architect in California to design 25,000 quarts of green aegopodium into a landscape design in Ohio. If I did something like this I would want several states in between me and the customer also. We got this job after someone had already started to produce the job in the regular variegated aegopodium, not having read the print closely or imagining that someone would actually want to use green aegopodium. This means that we are going to pick up the already produced aegopodium and for once in our life have a good supply.
And speaking of no taste, we have acquired a lot of the variegated pachysandra, Silver Edge pachysandra, that is a very weak grower and needs deep shade just to stay alive. It does brighten up a dark corner of the lawn and it is one groundcover that is not invasive.
Please try out our www.twixwood.com website. The availability is updated weekly for you to check, and also we list the “Bud and Bloom” list and the “Fun Pack Rack” of the week special. Sales manager Dan Hutton has supervised this work and we thank him as the website languished for years in obscurity and outdated information.
When reading carefully and committing to memory the names and numbers of all of the daylilies, Keep in mind that they were all potted up last summer and over-wintered outside without any protection. They all look good now. In some past years a late frost has contorted the leaves. We do not have that problem this year. If you are able to decipher all of the information in the catalog about the daylilies you are a better person than I am. The attempt to get all of the information into one line about height, bloom color, bloom size, throat color, season of bloom, length of bloom, and the tetraploid-diploid-miniature trichotomy is just too much for me to process. It is a good thing that I am able to hire optimistic and ambitious people because if it were up to me I would just list the Walters’ toll free number, 888 925-8377, and tell the customers to get them a real catalog with color photos and a full paragraph describing each plant.
If you add up all of the numbers you will note that we have a surfeit, and besides that, an unduly large amount of Armeria maritime, Sea Pink or Thrift, both the white and pink blooming varieties Long story. These will be all bloomed out by the time this is read; thus looking exactly like a plastic pot full of a clump of green grass-like material with a bunch of dead flower stalks sticking up in the middle. The casual observer may think that trying to sell these is a hopeless task. I view the world much more optimistically and, by using post hoc ergo propter hoc reasoning, I reason that the expense and effort of sending out this newsletter will produce commensurate and beneficial results. Somewhere there must be a place for acres of little green clumps of something that looks like grass and that grows good in the full sun in well drained soil and does not spread too much.
Matteuccia struthiopteris var. pennsylvanica is the legal name for Ostrich Fern and this we have well established and in 3 gallon pots. It is a native plant and is a good thing to plant in peoples’ yards who specify that they want native plants instead of those exotic foreign plants that get big and coarse leafed and that spread a lot and are invasive and that would take up their whole garden; and then be sure to leave town the next year. We have not figured out how to grow the other ferns so that they are established and look good. You will want to buy them from Hortech 800 875-1392. The Hortech people have come to expect a free plug every so often and we know what happens when expectations are raised.
Extra herbs for sale: there are heavy 3 ½” pots 18 per tray of: Rosemary, 600 flats, Rex Rosemary, 300 flats, and Chives, 200 flats. You can buy these and make Rosemary trees and topiaries and get rich.