“It’s when it rains that you can pee your pants with a quiet mind.”
“In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz, Living on the brink of disaster in Mobutu’s Congo”
– by Arthur Herman
The purpose of this newsletter is to sell 2 gallon grasses. You will want to note the 4,000 Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’, 1,000 Miscanthus ‘Adagio’, 1,000 Miscanthus ‘Autumn Red’, 1,000 Miscanthus ‘Puenktchen’, 2,000 Miscanthus ‘Sarabande’, 600 Panicum ‘Cloud Nine’, 700 Panicum ‘Heavy metal’, 4,000 Pennisetum alopecuroides, 1,000 Pennisetum ‘Hameln’, and 900 Sorghastrum ‘Sioux Blue’, that are all well established and looking large. There are a couple of technical issues here; first of all you are probably wondering why we did not put these in the price list and the reason is that we did not know last September when we laid out the price list that these would actually get dug and potted up and look good this time of the year. Secondly, we did not want our sales staff to be spending all of their valuable time and psychic energy during the spring rush and early summer explaining why we had things listed that were not available for shipping then. We have found that putting long notes in the price list catalogue about when during the season things would be available does little good. Maybe our customers do not have the time to memorize and mull over the price list as much as we think that they should be doing. We are just happy that you are our customers at all. Anyhow, that is the purpose of this newsletter, to apprise people of what is available for sale regardless of whether or not it was ever in the price list. We understand that you are all busy with your quotidian tasks and we just want to do what we can to make those tasks easier by providing you with good information.
Miscanthus ‘Puenktchen’ is also known as ‘Little Dot’ and this is about the same plant as ‘Zebrinus’. It had better be the same plant as Zebrinus because this is all that we have in that type of horizontally yellow striped grass. It is supposed to be more compact than Zebrinus and it may be but it looks about the same size when we plant it in the field.
As a continuation of knowledge in the grass area besides the true pampas grass, Cortaderia pumila dying of the cold last winter we also lost the two variegated hypericums: Asbury Park and Glacier. The regular green hypericums, ‘Hidcote’ and calycinum St. John’s Wort, have lived for years around here. Sometimes they do not bloom much because they got frozen to the ground.
In the grand scheme of getting topical and accurate information to the customer we have an on the road sales and small delivery person, Kimberly, who drives around in a small and air-conditioned van and makes sales calls. If you have any desire to see a specific plant for size and quality please call and we will get free samples to you directly. We have instructed our sales staff to describe honestly and accurately our plants and they do a pretty good job of it but our idea of beauty may differ from yours.
The other big item that we are pushing this time of the year is Green Carpet Pachysandra. These are overgrown and we always thought that this was good because in the groundcover business quality equals size and size equals age and this means more stolons or rhizomes or runners or roots or buds or whatever it is that these plants do to get bigger and spread. Some people think that these are a little floppy. We will trim them as they are being shipped if this is what you want or you can just plant them a little deeper or you can just try to raise the level of consciousness of the customer by explaining to them that they are getting a better deal although it looks tacky. We have tried to raise levels of consciousness over the years and have found that a person needs to inherit a lot of money before trying this because it is not a reliable way to make money. I would try to make everyone feel guilty about not buying all of the Green Carpet last year and that is why it is overgrown this year except that, here again, trying to lay guilt on the customers is another ineffective method of making money.
The daylilies and hostas are big and just right as they were planted up last summer and over-wintered outside. Please read about the many other items that we have for sale. We do not want to miss a sale in the fall and we want to make the lives of our landscaper customers as easy as possible as we understand that life is rough out there working with people with taste and trying to get the employees to do most of their drinking in the winter and not during the busy season. So, thank you for being landscapers. You are tougher than we will ever be.
The open house was a great success. More people should have come because it did not rain. One factor in the attendance was the Ball Seed open house the same day and the other factor was because the free advertising that we got from the Michigan Nurseryperson’s Association, MNLA, did not have the date anywhere in sight. This was because the date had been placed in the title and not in the text so that when they re-typed the title to fit on the line the date was lost. I have been explaining to my staff the value of redundancy and how we should do the same thing more often and then afterwards repeat ourselves again. We had an entire day’s worth of tours planned and not everyone understood that and thought that they had seen it all when driving in to the main location. Many people said that we were larger than they had thought, and this is the reason for the open houses because apparently people do not believe.
What I keep saying in these newsletters, that we are a big-time operation. I noticed, however, that no one said that we looked more organized than they had thought, and am still mulling over that over-sight on their part. That is the reason we want our customers to come and visit the place. They will then be able to visualize our stock cutting and digging beds and our capacity to produce quantities of plants for large jobs. We have many stock plants around that are not listed in the catalog so that we can custom grow what the customer wants. To repeat again, we propagate over 15 million cuttings per year, and now we want to sell them all.
If you had come to the open house you would have seen a very large collection of hypertufa pot samples. We have very small ones and very large ones: from 8″ in diameter up to nearly 4′ in diameter, that is four feet. A wise person once said that it is better to get rich slow than fast, and that is what we are doing in the hypertufa trade. Please be thinking of what uses you can put these fine pots to in your line of work and call us for samples and photos of the new styles that we have developed.