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Retail Newsletter from Bluestem Nursery

Sept 2005

When people start asking when I am sending out another newsletter, I feel really good, because then I know that people like them and possibly even read them! However I also feel guilty, as I know its been a long time coming. At long last, here it is.

But first, an apology: this past spring I promised you a newletter that would be a pictorial essay on dividing grasses. The problem was in the timing. When it was the right time to divide a Miscanthus, the office was insanely busy. So next year we are going to plan for this a little better and I hope we can accomplish our mission!

Willow Plugs on Sale

Willow cuttings growing
in their
special plug-cells

The purpose of this newsletter is to announce a sale on our willow plugs. We have a few of almost every variety left. Some of them were previously listed as sold out on the website, but we have found a few of some we thought we were sold out of.

Willow Plugs - prices are in effect until the stock is sold out

  • CDN - $6 each, 4 for $20.00
  • US - $5 each, 4 for $15.00

To order: visit our Canadian or US price lists to view the varieties available.

I made a trip to our willow fields a couple of weeks ago, with the intention of taking pictures with a new camera. Some of the willows are 10' tall, after having been cut right down to the ground in late winter!! I have recorded my guesstimates for the height of each of the willows and intend to put the info on the website this winter.

The willow stems are not yet colored to any great extent, but I intend to put pics of their summer look on the site as well.

Ornamental Grasses

Pennisetum orientale
'Tall Tales"

We have field clumps and flats of plugs of most of our cool season grasses ready for fall planting.

However, before ordering you need to take into account the likelihood of the plants surviving your winter after a fall planting, as the roots need time to establish in the soil before freeze-up. A good guide is that the plants should be in the ground before the killing frost date in your area.

Unfortunately most warm season grasses are not suitable for transplanting at this time of the year.

I have just updated the price lists to reflect what is currently available.

On the left is a picture of a row of Pennisetem orientale 'Tall Tales'. These plants were plugs that were planted earlier this year. The fact that they are blooming already sets them apart from most, if not all ornamental grasses. The straight species, Pennisetum orientale also blooms the first year.

Growing Pains

To those of you who felt you had to wait an abnormally long time for your shipments this past spring, we are so very sorry. Sometimes it was unavoidable because of weather and the peculiarities of the grasses and when they are best dug, but other times it was due to a rather inefficient shipping situation, which is already being rectified for next year. Part way through the shipping season we knew exactly what we needed to do, but changing it would have set us back even more. The shipping season for field clumps is just so short that any kind of set-back, such as the Agricultural Inspector (for the Phytosanitary Inspections) going out of town for a few days, a vehicle breakdown, an illness or power outage, etc, can really mess things up!!

New Introductions for 2006

One of our new grasses for 2006 is a most unique Fescue called Festuca punctoria. At a quick glance it looks like a small F. glauca, but upon closer inspection, it has slightly wider leaves, is slightly less blue and has very stiff leaves. If you put your hand on the top of it you will be shocked at how spikey it is. Rabbits and deer would never want to eat this plant!!

Next season we expect to have about 15 varieties of Miscanthus available in 4" pots. We are very excited about this as we know that many of you are looking for a greater number of Miscanthus varieties than what we can grow in our wind-swept fields.

More info on our 2006 Intros in the next newsletter.


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