Dr. Allan Armitage was excited to see both new and improved breeding, as well as have the chance to meet breeders and talk shop at Sakata Seed and Golden State Bulb.
At Sakata, we wandered through traditional crops like zinnias, New Guinea impatiens, calibrachoa and petunias. However, I have always been impressed with the SuperCal program, and this year’s introduction of vibrant colors of Light Yellow and Pink really caught my eye. The flowers of Light Yellow are significantly larger than other colors in the series. I believe the SuperCals are poised for major additional sales.
Everybody was talking about ‘Dragon’s Breath’ celosia, and I wanted to see what the hype was all about. It is surely hype-worthy. The plants I observed were large with obvious vigor, and the foliage was coppery with huge, bright, rose-red flowers. Apparently this is a plant that benefits from minimal inputs, such as water and fertilizer. In fact, in both the greenhouse and in the garden Sakata recommends minimal maintenance.
Golden State Bulb
It’s been many years since I visited Golden State Bulb. I had a wonderful time reacquainting myself with exciting offerings, such as pineapple lily (Eucomis) and calla lilies. These are some of the most exciting plants that we are not using in our business. Golden State has introduced four colors of pineapple lilies under the Aloha Lily banner. They work for containers and the landscape. As an industry, we tend to ignore the things we don’t know, but in a word, that is stupid. Eucomis have been around for numerous years, and it’s time we give exciting plants to consumers.
In a similar vein, Golden State has taken callas from the old, white, funeral flowers to plants with heights from mini to maxi, and colors to knock your socks off. I also saw some beautiful callas at Flamingo a few days ago, and I am sold on getting callas into the landscape and container side of the market.
Golden State has taken the long view and has hybridized material that can be seed propagated for its own production so that the plants or tubers it sends out are always clean and vigorous. This is a terrific company, and I recommend brokers and retailers take a closer look at these two products.
Takii showed off the Trilogy and Opera series of petunias, the latter being more cascading than the former. The new ‘Trilogy Red’ was a true red and the Trilogy ’76 Mix was of excellent quality.
I was impressed with the Dutch company, HilverdaKooij’s echinacea series introduction, Mooodz. The plants I saw had particularly strong branching and multiple flower stocks.