Fashion In Bloom Highlights

We’ve just posted some highlights from Garden Centers of America’s Fashion In Bloom event a few weeks ago. Fourteen plant marketers exhibited at Homestead Growers in Maryland and Conard-Pyle Co. in Pennsylvania, Sept. 20-22.

Homestead was a popular destination with 10 exhibiting companies: American Takii, Centerton Nursery, EuroAmerican Propagators, Hines Horticulture, Monrovia growers, Overdevest Nurseries, Prides Corner Farms, Selecta First Class, Suntory and Valley Brook Gardens.

The four companies exhibiting at Conard-Pyle were Bailey Nursery, Beds & Borders, Novalis, Plug Connection.

Although we could not attend this year, Eberly Public Relations was our eyes and ears at both locations an provided the following coverage of four of the exhibiting companies.

Novalis, an expanding consortium of annual, perennial and woody ornamental growers, markets exclusively to independent garden centers, rewholesalers and landscape professionals. In other words, no box stores. The new Commotion gaillardias were very popular with their top-flowerinig blooms and robust colors. Representing Novalis from the left are Tom Kegley, Jean Dooley, Kim Jackson and J Guy.

Novalis’ Nooks & Crannies line also is capturing attention. The program is a comprehensive mix of small-stature varieties for compact spaces and special applications with more than 200 varieties offered in convenient eight-packs.

Plants that Work by Color is a new expansion of the Plants that Work line in premium annuals. More than 200 varieties have been selected for beds, borders and containers.

Plug Connection of Vista, Calif., showcased its latest offering in plugs, including two Coprosma repens with shiny foliage. As one of the nation’s largest plug producers, Plug Connection integrated a full range of plants into its displays–annuals, perennials, ornamental grasses, pot crops, herbs, vegetables and a drought-tolerant collection.

Plug Connection’s Organiks division continues to make headway selling certified organic finished herb and vegetable plants to retailers. Pictured is Joe Messer, president of the Organiks division. "U.S. sales of organic foods in 2006 totaled more than $16.9 billion," he says, adding tht his company hopes to address the obvious market need for organic herbs and vegetables through its retail collection and support services.

Plants come in 3.5-inch biodegradable pots packed with earth-friendly "ship and show" display boxes. Collections include Culinary Herbs for Cooks, Kitchen Garden, Basil Lovers, Hot Stuff Peppers, Cool Climate Favorite Tomato Collection, urban patio eggplant ‘Fairy Tale,’ and patio basket strawberry ‘Seascape.’

Garden Splendor by Overdevest Nurseries in Bridgeton, N.J., is a premium plant collection spanning more than 500 varieties of perennials, ornamental grasses, patio plants, shrubs and vines. Marketing Director David Wilson shows off the aptly named coreopsis ‘Pinwheel,’ with its soft yellow, pinwheel-shaped flowers. This plant is one of nine new Garden Splendor Showcase Plants for 2008.

Echinacea ‘Pink Double Delight’ is more compact and bushy than ‘Razzmatazz.’"This variety is incredible floriferous and only grows to 24 inches tall," Wilson says. Other hot new introductions include heuchera ‘Peach Flambe,’ geum ‘Mango Lassi’ and mukdenia ‘Crimson Fans.’ Mukdenia is a Chinese cousin of heuchera.

American Takii is the U.S. division of Takii & company, one of the largest breeders and producers of vegetable and flower seeds in the world. Takii showed off its Opera Supreme petunias in hanging baskets. In the ground, they will spread up to 4 feet in a sunny location. The Opera Supremes have an improved daylength response, which allows them to flower earlier than most other petunias, and from the center of the plant out to its edges. Opera Supremes come in Blue, Coral, Lavender, Lilac Ice, Purple, Salmon, White and Pink Morn, which is an All-America Selections (AAS) winner.

Fashion In Bloom attendees were greeted by a showy display of Tropical cannas. These seed-propagated varieties flower in 90 to 120 days depending on temperature conditions. The single flowers clustered in terminal spikes are available in five colors: Red, Rose (AAS Winner), Salmon, White and Yellow. Another seed advantage is being free from diseases that can be transmitted in rhizome propagation.

For more on all the companies that participated in Fashion In Bloom this year, visit www.fashioninbloom.com.

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