California Spring Trials 2013: Allan Armitage On His Favorites At Dümmen, Floranova and Skagit Gardens

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Garden Party Mix–Hot Spot Marrakesh

Dümmen
As always at Dümmen, a spectacular sight greeted my eyes. The plant material at Dümmen literally shone as if polished. One of the many things Dümmen is known for are their combination plantings.  We have seen examples of excellent combos at other stops but Dümmen keeps expanding the choices, leaving no rock uncolored.

Starting with the Confetti series, they have expanded into the Garden Party and the Hot Spot combos. The first is a group of plants designed for larger planters on patios and decks, with vigorous, yet well-behaved plants. This will stand out. The Hot Spot group is a series of combos for hot weather and should serve an ever-expanding warmer America. I am impressed with the care taken in plant selection and the diversity offered to growers. Well done. 

Floranova/Vegetalis
When I was met at the door by Jeff Colgrave and Amy Gard’ner, I immediately left Jeff behind. Amy is so obviously talented in everything she does, I knew she would tell me the real deal. Floranova has new introductions to expand their lines of pansies and marigolds, and they bring some excellent genetics into these lines.

I was also pleased to see some of my favorites from last year, like the Ikon begonias (outstanding) and the early flowering Sugar Rush series of wallflowers.  I turned the corner to poke my head into the vegetable offerings of Vegetalis, and oh my, as good as the present lines are, the future ones are even more awesome. Take a look at some of them on my video. In summary, even with all the advances Floranova/Vegetalis has made, their most brilliant advance was hiring Amy Gard’ner.

Skagit
It is always a pleasure to see perennials being displayed at the Spring Trials and Skagit always has some outstanding introductions to share. I believe that their new shorter coreopsis, ‘Li’l Bang Daybreak’ and their Helenium ‘Short ’n Sassy’ will be winners in much of the country.

Skagit has also made a major effort to provide one of the finest hellebore collections I have seen. They displayed other material, from ornamental grasses to Scabiosa ‘Mariposa,’ from primroses to false forget-me-nots. As greenhouse growers look for more perennials, shopping at Skagit is a must.

Allan Armitage (allan@greenhouse grower.com) is a professor in the Department of Horticulture at the University of Georgia, Athens, Ga.

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