Allan's Picks From Island View Nursery
What caught Allan Armitage's attention at this destination, which included PlantHaven, Hort Couture and Westhoff?
April 14, 2010
Geranium 'Crystal Rose': With so many petunias and calibrachoas filling containers and baskets, each one more brilliant than the last, it is refreshing to see a new perennial in the lineup. I am taken with this hardy geranium, not pelargonium, because of its crisp rosy color, but mainly because I see this as a tough, compact entry into the perennial geranium market. It is obviously a hybrid and in the container it appears to be well branched and I expect it to perform well in the landscape as far north as USDA zone 5.
Abutilon Lucky Lantern series: I believe the breeding for flowering maple will heat up big time in the very near future. There have been some excellent new abutilons in the past few years, and thye Lucky series from Plant Haven is the latest. These strong colors on the plants, ranging from deep red to a white to an excellent bright yellow catch your eye as soon as you turn the corner and should enjoy good lots of looks at retail. The flowers are large and even though somewhat pendulous, are not hidden by the foliage as much as some of the older large-flowered types were.
Cordyline 'Renegade': The market for cordylines is still somewhat limited due to their relatively slow production, availability and price. However, they have shown that they can be a market force in containers (as the thriller in the filler, spiller, thriller prototype) and simply as ahandsome patio plant. 'Renegade' has wide very dark leaves and a good habit and without doubt, will compete well with other cordylines out there.
Moxy and gumption: These are but a few of the adjectives I would use to describe Jim Monroe's foray into the world of plant introductions and marketing. In talking with Jim and his wife Jennifer and people, they are pumped by what they have been able to accomplish. Some things are self evident, some good plants, some excellent signage, but what Jim brings to the party is his marketing skills and belief in the independent garden centers. Take a look at the video we did and listen to hear what Jim has accomplished in a few short years. Oh, and I almost forgot, the Hort Couture party also includes Gerry Raker and his wife Patty, who I haven't heard so animated about a project in many a year. He is the kind of fellow and support all of us would like to have on our side. None of this was easy, so moxy, gumption and my hat off to the Hort Couture team.
Scaevola 'Suntastic': I have seen many a scaevola in my travels, including many of the species in Australia, but a yellow one has never been a color that caught my eye. We saw the first yellow, a creamy yellow to be sure, scaevola and I suspect the breeders at Westhoff have a few more in the back greenhouse. It will be interesting to see how the perform but according to Luise Kormann, the greenhouse production is not at all difficult. Should be interesting where the scaevola market will go next, but I suspect new colors will not be too far away.
Allan Armitage is a professor in the Department of Horticulture at the University of Georgia, Athens, Ga. You can eMail him at allan@greenhouse grower.com.