GCA's Fashion In Bloom was a festival for the eyes with creative concepts and high-class displays.
June 16, 2008
Outdoor Living With A Twist
The giant star-shaped shade structure at Conard-Pyle was the first stop on our trip. A wide range of plants were exhibited through different types of displays, including a full formal garden with a fountain; contemporary gardens with funky features like gazing orbs and mirrors, and a heat-loving, beach-themed display, complete with a beach and outdoor shower.
"The designs can easily be used by independent garden centers, rather than using a police lineup of plants," Conard-Pyle's Steve Hutton said. "It's all about bringing the fun back to hort."
Fischer USA displayed a whole slew of 2006/2007 introductions. In 2007, look out for Silhouette Salmon impatiens, which are a beautiful coral-pink color. And you've all already noticed 'Callie Deep Yellow' calibrachoa. They've been flying off the shelves as a 2006 introduction.
The Biltmore Estates program is a lifestyle branding program, building a brand around not only plants, but also in furniture and accessories, home building products and outdoor living. All are considered the best of the day, the same standards George Biltmore had for his estate 100 years ago. Plant highlights for 2007 will include 'Kaleidoscope' abelia, which has yellow foliage with a green center and late-summer pink buds that unfurl as white flowers. 'Kaleidoscope' is produced by Greenleaf Nursery.
Novalis' displays incorporated some retail benching, but also gave visitors an idea of what plants would look like in the garden. Standouts were the Lemon Daddy hydrangea, which has lemon-yellow foliage, and the Plants That Work In The Shade and Bring On The Heat lines.
Come Sail Away
A greenhouse at Homestead Growers was transformed into a nautical-themed garden, complete with soaring sails and fishing boats used as containers. A stone walkway guided visitors through displays.
Homestead featured the Chef Jeff line, a vegetable and herb line with color coordinated pots and tags. Herbs are in purple and vegetables are in spring green. Other standouts were Benary's astilbe, rudbeckia and begonia plantings, American Takii's All-America Selections Winner 'Opera Supreme Pink Morn,' and Suntory's 'Astoria Blue' phlox, bold 'Surfinia Patio Hot Pink' and soft 'Surfinia Patio Chiffon' petunias. Selecta exhibited its new 'Angelina White' angelonia, along with Begonia boliviensis 'Bonfire' and its bright-red, bell-shaped flowers. Hines Horticulture featured three collections: Bahama Bay Hibiscus, Raymond Evison Clematis Collection and Halo Hydrangeas.
Decorating Inside Out
"America's Garden Celebration: Decorating Inside Out" was the theme at the American Horticultural Society (AHS), and the participants brought the reds, whites and blues. AHS provided the green in its Green Garage, a display and program promoting sustainable and earth-friendly gardening. Tools, equipment, materials and plant varieties were featured.
"It's a good way to integrate earth-friendly design with products and technologies that allow people to garden successfully," says David Ellis, AHS' director of communications and editor of the American Gardener magazine.
A Proven Winners display greeted visitors as they arrived. Many of the Proven Winners Color Choice specimens that were planted for last year's event were thriving this year. A fluffy cloud of 'Diamond Frost' euphorbia filled one bed, while the new Spirit cleome line and combination planters added color.
Goldsmith displayed Family Gathering vignettes and plantings with plenty of color. Centerton Nurseries had two 2007 introductions on display. 'Indy Inca's Gold' is a beautiful yellow daylily that blooms once in the summer and again in the fall. 'Bridgeton Celebrity' daylily is a crushed apricot color with a burgundy throat and a diamond dusting that makes petals sparkle.
From Sea To Shining Sea
The design at Virginia Growers was wide and spacious, with in-ground plantings showing how annuals, perennials and woodies work together in the garden. The months of preparation added up to beautiful gardens, along with some examples of retail benching giving tips on merchandising. Bailey Nurseries displayed its 'Blushing Bride' hydrangea, the latest in the Endless Summer line. The company's Easy Elegance groundcover rose was also featured, with new colors, 'Snowdrift,' 'Mystic Fairy' and 'Sunrise Sunset.'
Dömmen USA showed off new sales concepts under its Color Festival umbrella. The Potunia day-length neutral vegetative petunia is potted in a neon green container and blooms from the center out in a round habit, perfect for early season sales. Party In Pink is a quick gift idea for retail - a pink basket with carrying handle and room for three small pots.
Ball's display at Fashion In Bloom centered around its programs - the consumer Simply Beautiful branded plants line, Wave petunias and Snow Angels, the cold- and frost-tolerant line available to independent garden centers. Prides Corner Farms gave a hand to cold-climate growers with its Hardy New American Garden line, which features distinctive, colorful and easy-to-grow plants.
Recognizing Great Retail
White's Nursery and Greenhouses welcomed Fashion In Bloom attendees to its new retail location, which was completely redesigned and rebuilt after a fire in 2005. The sleek new garden center has a beautiful outdoor area with plenty of room for great displays. Plug Connection was there promoting its line of Certified Organic herb and vegetable lines for retail. The company plans to stay in the finished organic market until it catches on with more growers. The line comes in a biodegradable pot, some with a sophisticated and modern look.
The buzz among men at Fashion In Bloom was the Wollemi Pine. The prehistoric plant is making a comeback, with help from National Geographic. The pine will be available in limited supply to select independent garden centers in spring 2007.
Alfresco Style Living
Outdoor living with style was the order of the day at McDonald Garden Center, with fashionable displays. Monrovia showed its Costal Collection of big, bold tropicals with high salt tolerance. The company also promoted its Courtyard Collection of pre-made mixed containers, each named after a European city.
Kraft Gardens displayed current and future offerings that catch the eye with color and size. The huge King Maya palm is tolerant of low light and little watering. 'Green/Orange' is a colorful cousin of the spider plant with neon orange stems and dark green foliage.
Valleybrook Gardens also garnered some attention with its Rock Stars rock garden plant line. Including succulents and alpine bedding plants, the line includes merchandising and point-of-purchase materials with a fun sunglass-wearing mascot.
To read and see more on GCA's Fashion in Bloom, visit www.todaysgardencenter.com/blog and click on Fashion In Bloom.
Sara Tambascio is senior online editor of Greenhouse Grower. You can eMail her at email@example.com or follower her on Twitter @Sara_GG_TGC.