Day Two of California Spring Trials saw the Greenhouse Grower team off on high adventure, with virtual reality in the greenhouse, plant pollination with drones, and a helicopter ride over the California hills. More importantly, we saw some great new plant intros for retail in 2018 and some fabulous marketing displays at Speedling, Pacific Plug & Liner, and Ernst Benary of America.
Hem Genetics showed off its new 2017 All-America Selections winner Dianthus ‘Supra Pink,’ a hardy cross between D. chinensis and a perennial. It’s quick to produce, going from sowing to flowering in 16 weeks. The company also added three new colors to its Limbo line of multiflora petunias ─ Red, Burgundy, and Rose.
A new team was on hand at Thompson and Morgan to talk about its latest intros. A pink cosmos joins the Cupcakes series, and a mass of bright-orange calendulas caught the eye. With its prominent crowns and double flowers, ‘Crown Orange’ calendula will add a spot of color and texture to the garden. Thompson and Morgan also hopes to get licensed soon for a Tall, Dark and Handsome Pelargonium Series, which is a vegetative intro with pollen-less flowers for a longer bloom period.
Pacific Plug & Liner
Seeing April Herring-Murray of Pacific Plug & Liner’s (PP&L) vision for Camp Perennial come to life was a real treat. Visitors to the site explored a new world of perennials in eight camp stops that spotlighted echibeckia, hellebores, grasses and more. The grasses stop featured nature at its best with Girl Scout cookies and a new Carex ‘Ribbon Falls.’ In hellebores, there are several new additions to the Frostkiss line, including Chery’s Shine and Dana’s Dulcet. The echibeckia display featured tent camping amid a field of the bright-yellow flowers. Newcomers to the Echibeckia Summerina line include Electra Shock and Butterscotch Biscuit.
Agapanthus ‘Ever White’ and ‘Ever Sapphire’ stood out as new additions to the Southern Living Plant Collection, while the blazing-red Autumn Fire joins the Encore Azalea line. The company, which also includes the Sunset Western Garden Collection, continues to focus on more pull-through sales of its plants, as well as garden performance and consumer success.
Bailey Nurseries has a new tag, logo, and identity for its Endless Summer hydrangeas. The company simplified versions of its old Endless Summer tags and added color coding to help consumers be clear about what variety they are getting. The tags also include Bailey’s successful text messaging campaign, with its hydrangea care tips, on the back.
Ernst Benary of America
Silicon Valley Meets Big Begonias was the theme at Benary, where visitors saw the latest drone technology used for pollination and got their first look at the new ‘Nonstop Joy Mocha White’ begonia in virtual reality. Several exciting new vegetative varieties from the partnership between Benary and Volmary, called Benary Plus, were also on display. Many of these varieties are new to the North American market but have been strong performers in the European market for a while now.
When it was all said and done, Day Two of California Spring Trials didn’t disappoint, reminding our team how lucky we are to work in an industry with great people and exciting new plants.