Are You Acting Insane?

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You’ll hear it every now and again–the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over expecting different results. While you may never get rid of plant staples like marigolds and geraniums completely, I tend to agree with Tom Batt, our Q&A subject in this month’s BenchPress, on new plant introductions. Batt, Hines Horticulture’s new vice president of sales and marketing, compares plant products to pharmaceutical products. Consumers are always looking for something new, even in the medications they take. Whether the problem is restless leg syndrome or a garden bed lacking pep, new products solve old problems in new ways–sometimes in ways consumers didn’t know were possible.

How will we truly know what the best varieties are, from a sales perspective, if growers don’t take risks along with breeders and put new products out in the market? I’ve seen retailers this spring do a good job sharing new ideas and plants with consumers through interesting point-of-purchase materials, but I’ve also seen lots of the same old thing. And to be honest, where I saw the same old thing, I wasn’t seeing a lot of customers.

If I’ve convinced you and you’re looking for new varieties for 2009, you’ve picked up the right issue of Greenhouse Grower. In this issue alone, we feature Allan Armitage’s picks on coral bells and the best shrubs to grow on the bench, your feedback on our Legendary Varieties list, the resurgence of the American native penstemon, plus our 40-page Dazzling Debuts insert on everything new from California Pack Trials 2008. If you can’t find something in this issue that floats your boat, you may need a new boat.

Pick Your Favorites

It’s back again for the second year–as part of our Medal of Excellence awards for best new varieties to come from California Pack Trials, we present our Reader’s Choice Award nominees. We are asking you to choose your favorite from our esteemed panel’s top choices: Benary’s ptilotus ‘Joey,’ Goldsmith’s geranium ‘Calliope Dark Red’ and rudbeckia ‘Tiger Eye Gold,’ and Mandalay and Bellagio begonias by Kientzler for Proven Winners.

You grow varieties. Let breeders know which characteristics you value through your vote. The nominees, descriptions, photos and ballots can be found on our Web site at The winners will be announced at OFA Short Course along with the other Medal of Excellence winners for breeding, as well as Industry Achievement and Marketing.

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