Gifts From The Goldsmiths

While March 26 was the opening day of the California Spring Trials, it also marked the end of an era, as the Goldsmith family officially retired from half a century of breeding beautiful bedding plants.

Syngenta Flowers, which purchased Goldsmith Seeds in 2008, hosted a special tribute reception and endowed two scholarships in the family’s honor–the Glenn Goldsmith Breeding Excellence Scholarship for $7,500 annually and the Goldsmith Seeds Floriculture Business Advancement Scholarship for $7,500 annually. These are significant funds that will attract bright new professionals to advance our industry.

Goldsmith Seeds was founded in 1962 by Glenn, who had been a breeder for PanAmerican Seed and decided to set out on his own, with wife Jane and their four boys, ages four to nine. They reglazed old greenhouses that were full of weeds in Gilroy, Calif., and Glenn began his breeding programs. His first introduction was Bright Butterflies snapdragons, which were an open-faced flower form and an All-America Selections winner.

 Glenn also started what would become the California Spring Trials by inviting customers out to see his new varieties in 1967. Friendly competitors in California soon followed suit. Today, more than 35 plant introducers and breeding companies from all over the globe roll out their new introductions in California.

It was fascinating to learn how early predecessors of Syngenta Flowers had a hand in helping Goldsmith Seeds get started. One of Glenn’s first breeding projects was Sprinter geraniums for Sluis & Groot. Glenn also sold his vegetable breeding lines to Northrup King. And Vaughn Seed, a broker that is now Syngenta Horticultural Services, bought a 24.5 percent interest in Goldsmith Seeds for $2,450. All three companies are now part of Syngenta, so things have come full circle.

Glenn was known for his lifelong curiosity in breeding, trying new approaches and a drive to offer the best in each class or genus. He acknowledges achieving breakthroughs more challenging now than in the early days. “Almost everything that is worked on has to be better, thoroughly tested, proven and approved by a committee,” he says. “In the early days, the only hybrids were petunias. Everything you did was better.”

Investing In People

One common thread throughout the Goldsmith story is the difference they’ve made in the lives of their employees, customers and communities.
“Glenn has been an inspiration to several generations of plant breeders who he has helped through teaching, coaching and mentoring,” says Mitch Hanes, Syngenta Flowers’ head of research and development in Gilroy. “If he met a person looking for a job who was a good quality individual, he would hire them, whether there was a position available or not. He knew the person would contribute to the company.”

Goldsmith Seeds was ahead of its time with wellness programs that encouraged sports and physical fitness activities on company time. In 1992, the company was the first California-licensed agricultural firm to provide on-site, company-sponsored child care.

One place Goldsmith has made a difference in the lives of thousands of people is Guatemala, where it has had seed and cutting production farms. In addition to providing education, medical care and sports facilities and programs, the Goldsmiths helped employees achieve dreams many of us in America take for granted–owning a home, buying a car or sending children to college.

Two lucky college students will be selected to get the Goldsmith scholarships from Syngenta Flowers. “We really appreciate the scholarships in our family’s name,” Jane says. “We need nice young people in this field.”

Leave a Reply

More From Varieties...
Jim Devereux, Green Fuse Botanicals

June 24, 2017

Green Fuse Botanicals New Vice President is Focused on Helping Growers Succeed

Jim Devereux, who will oversee production, sales, and marketing for Green Fuse, says he hopes to bring genetics to the market that break from traditional production methods for finished growers.

Read More
Ushio Sakazaki feature

June 22, 2017

Japanese Breeder Ushio Sakazaki Wins Medal of Excellence Award for Industry Achievement

From Supertunias to Superbells, this innovative Japanese breeder has used wild genetics to create game-changing plants that help consumers reconnect with the beauty of nature.

Read More
CallaFornia Red

June 20, 2017

Dümmen Orange Enters Calla Market With Acquisition of Golden State Bulb Growers Portfolio

Golden State will continue to supply the market through September 2018, at which time Dümmen Orange will assume supply and delivery of much of Golden State’s product line.

Read More
Latest Stories
Jim Devereux, Green Fuse Botanicals

June 24, 2017

Green Fuse Botanicals New Vice President is Focused on …

Jim Devereux, who will oversee production, sales, and marketing for Green Fuse, says he hopes to bring genetics to the market that break from traditional production methods for finished growers.

Read More
Ushio Sakazaki feature

June 22, 2017

Japanese Breeder Ushio Sakazaki Wins Medal of Excellenc…

From Supertunias to Superbells, this innovative Japanese breeder has used wild genetics to create game-changing plants that help consumers reconnect with the beauty of nature.

Read More
CallaFornia Red

June 20, 2017

Dümmen Orange Enters Calla Market With Acquisition of G…

Golden State will continue to supply the market through September 2018, at which time Dümmen Orange will assume supply and delivery of much of Golden State’s product line.

Read More
Plantpeddler Variety Day

June 14, 2017

Plantpeddler Hosting Variety Day on Aug. 4 in Cresco, I…

The free event will allow attendees to tour Plantpeddler’s trial gardens, which include more than 1,200 varieties of vegetative annuals displayed in large containers, baskets, window boxes, and beds.

Read More
Jonathan Babikow, Emerald Coast Growers

June 9, 2017

New Head Grower at Emerald Coast Growers is Excited abo…

Jonathan Babikow, Emerald Coast Growers’ new general manager/head grower for its Lancaster, PA, location, talks about his favorite perennials, the advantages of growing in Pennsylvania, and his future hopes for his career.

Read More
Petunia 'Amore Mio' (Danziger)

June 8, 2017

AmericanHort Update on Genetically Engineered Petunias

AmericanHort is actively assisting affected plant breeders, distributors, growers, and retailers as the genetically modified petunia regulatory response continues. Since the last update, there have been several changes to the list of petunias confirmed or suspected of being genetically engineered and therefore unauthorized to be imported or sold. Also, the list of recognized laboratories for petunia variety confirmation testing has expanded. Most importantly, petunia varieties on the USDA-APHIS Biotechnology Regulatory Services (BRS) list require an APHIS Form 2000 for importation. APHIS also began requiring that any Petunia spp. Shipments, not including regulated GE varieties, must be accompanied by a list of variety names. This resulted in some inspection delays at the USDA-APHIS plant inspection station in Atlanta over the past two weeks. In response, AmericanHort has negotiated a more flexible approach with APHIS, and new guidance has just been posted for importing Petunia plants, cuttings, or seed. The new guidance allows […]

Read More
Bailey Expo

June 8, 2017

Bailey Nurseries Expo to Take Place in Late July in Min…

This year’s expo will focus on bridging the gap with Millennials and non-gardeners through creative marketing, engaging in-store displays, and heightened customer service.

Read More
Scaevola Mix from Suntory

June 6, 2017

How Was Your Spring? Let Us Know by Taking Greenhouse G…

Please take a few minutes to answer Greenhouse Grower’s 2017 Spring Recap Survey. The deadline for completing the survey is June 20.

Read More
Eason Horticultural Resources Hot New Perennials Booklet

June 6, 2017

Eason Horticultural Resources Releases New Perennials B…

“Hot New Perennials for 2018” is a compilation of information shared with Eason from a broad range of perennial young plant producers, breeding companies, and breeder representatives.

Read More
Beedance Bidens Yellow (Suntory Flowers)

June 1, 2017

Recommendations for Successfully Growing BeeDance Biden…

Anne Roberts of Meadow View Growers says growers in northern states can take advantage of cooler temperatures early in the season and grow BeeDance Bidens varieties with less heat.

Read More

May 30, 2017

Danziger Launching New Interactive Marketing Programs D…

The new campaigns include a focus on Danziger’s Amore petunia series, using videos and displays to help attendees “share their love” for Amore.

Read More

May 25, 2017

Genetically Modified Petunia Update: Breeders Take Swif…

Now that the initial shock of genetically engineered petunias is wearing off, breeders continue testing for tainted stock and look toward the future. On the consumer side, uncertainties remain.  

Read More

May 23, 2017

USDA-APHIS Bulletin on Unauthorized Distribution of Gen…

On May 2, 2017, USDA-APHIS was informed that an orange petunia variety was potentially genetically engineered and had been imported and moved interstate without required authorization by APHIS. This led to testing of numerous petunia varieties, which confirmed this particular variety and several others are genetically engineered, and meet the regulatory definition of a regulated article under APHIS regulations. APHIS continues to work with the industry to ensure unauthorized GE petunias are not distributed in the United States.

Read More
Petunia F1 African Sunset from American Takii

May 22, 2017

Genetically Modified Petunia Update: Question and Answe…

AmericanHort’s key role interfacing with the USDA on the recall of genetically modified petunias has helped the horticulture industry rapidly address the problem. Senior Vice President Craig Regelbrugge talks about recent updates, the impact on the industry, and where it goes from here.

Read More
Eason 2017 spring trials report

May 16, 2017

New California Spring Trials Report Now Available From …

The report features genetics from 21 different breeding companies and information gathered from the 15 different stops on this year’s tour.

Read More
Schizachyrium scoparium The Blues

May 13, 2017

How Ornamental Grasses and Sedges Can Play a Role in Po…

Grasses and sedges provide food, shelter, and support for pollinators and the birds and mammals that keep insect populations in balance.

Read More
Asclepias with a bumblebee

May 8, 2017

How to Choose the Best Native Plants for Pollinator Gar…

The popularity of native plants is rising as gardeners become conscious of the need to plant more pollinator gardens. The challenge is to select the right plants to put in them.

Read More
Allan Armitage Of Naked Ladies and Forget Me Nots

May 2, 2017

Allan Armitage: How Growers Can Be Creative to Take Gar…

Our industry does a good job of making things convenient for our customers. It’s time to take it a step further.

Read More