Dr. A’s Day Three Picks for CAST 2017

Take a look at Dr. Allan Armitage’s top five favorites from the American Takii, Sakata, and Floricultura stops during the 2017 California Spring Trials.

Petunia ‘Evening Scentsation’ (American Takii)
These plants are pretty, to be sure. They are also full and floriferous, but there are other petunias equally pretty. However, there are none nearly as fragrant. Walking into the greenhouse, one has a sense of something sweet, and as you get closer, the lure is irresistible. Fragrance is hugely important to the consumer and to miss this opportunity would be a shame.

Petunia ‘Crazytunia Funky Pink’ (Westhoff Flowers)
I don’t know what it is about petunias. I say, “If I see another @#$ petunia I will curl into a fetal position,” yet here I am extolling the virtues of yet another one. Funky Pink is part of the Crazytunia series by Westhoff, all of which are exciting. However, I could not pull my eyes away from the flowers of this plant. I hope I can find it in garden centers soon.

Zinnia ‘Profusion Red’ (Sakata Ornamentals)
The Profusion series needs no cheerleading from me – its fans are legions. I am always ecstatic, however, when an outstanding offering gets even better. When I was told that a new color of Profusion was to be displayed, I yawned. However, when I saw Profusion Red in the flesh, I stifled that yawn and exclaimed with astonishment. It literally shines. Don’t take my word for it, give it a try.

Dahlia LaBella Maggiore Series (Beekenkamp)
I am a huge fan of dahlias, maybe because in Montreal they were so wonderful in late summer. But living in Georgia, I do not do well with them. So, I very much appreciate the beauty and vigor I saw with Beekenkamp’s new series of robust dahlias. The colors were outstanding (my favorite is ‘LaBella Maggiore Fire’), and the series was uniform and consistent throughout.

Begonia Shine Bright Series (Westhoff Flowers)
I keep hearing that we have too many cultivars in some plants but not enough in others. I am not sure we don’t enough hanging begonias, but certainly I can recommend taking a look at the Shine Bright series from Beekenkamp. The series looks good, is consistent and the colors are vibrant (my favorite is ‘Shine Bright White’). One of the most obvious benefits of the series is the obvious branching on the plants, resulting in a fuller plant with more flowers.

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