The Spring Trials exhibit at Windmill Nursery in Buellton is a fairly new location as of 2014, and it continues to evolve, with a number of new suppliers presenting their wares, from the traditional breeders presenting new and tried-and-true varieties, to hard goods suppliers delivering new ideas and solutions. Kientzler, Terra Nova Nurseries and PAC-Elsner presented new varieties while McConkey, Pelemix and Dramm promoted their products.
This year was the first time Kientzler displayed genetics independently at California Spring Trials. This is notable because in the past, its genetics have been seen at other trials, like Proven Winners, and while Kientzler still has a good and productive relationship with Proven Winners, the company is looking to develop its own genetics independently and provide direct ordering for its range of plant products to growers.
Founded in 1904, the German company is still family owned and operated, now by the fourth generation of the Kientzler family, Andreas Kientzler. It has long produced young plants for the European market. As the owner of InnovaPlant in Alajuela, Costa Rica, a 22-acre mother-stock facility, where it has been a reliable source of quality cuttings and elite material for the North American market for more than 20 years, Kientzler says his company is ready to produce its genetics for growers in North America, and opened distribution in the winter of 2014-2015.
Kientzler is well-known for its vast selection of Paradise New Guinea impatiens varieties, among others. Sanitation is critically important at InnovaPlant and Kientzler, and all material is NAK-T (Naktuinbouw) certified elite, says Steve Rinehart, manager for Kientzler’s North American operations.
At California Spring Trials this year, Kientzler displayed new colors in Paradise New Guinea impatiens including Cubano White, Large Cherry Red, Light Salmon and Jaco, with more coming. Others include Babycakes nemesia, Nessie nemesia, a large-flowered bidens and more.
Terra Nova Nurseries
Based in Oregon, Terra Nova Nurseries has long been known as a producer of high-quality perennials. But the floodgates have opened and Terra Nova Nurseries is applying its talent for breeding naturally compact plants to producing stunning annuals. It debuted several new lines of coleus, three new leucanthemums and many more. Its offerings have become so extensive that its catalog has expanded by 60 pages in the past year, and there are plans to develop separate annuals and perennials catalogs in the future, according to Chuck Pavlich, new product development director.
Co-owner Ken Brown says Terra Nova makes it a point to restrict plant growth regulators (PGRs) for finished varieties, and plants are seldom treated with them. This makes it hard, he says, to find other varieties to trial Terra Nova plants against other breeders,’ because PGRs are used so extensively in some cases. He says Terra Nova’s breeding is naturally compact and makes plants behave themselves nicely.
In perennials, the new Kudos agastache is very compact, allowing consumers to add its color and sizzle to containers without it getting too tall. Several new varieties of heuchera were presented, including a large-leaf heuchera ‘Red Lighting’ and the City and Soda series of heuchera. Terra Nova is looking to promote more use of heucherella, as well, especially trailing varieties like those in the Cascade series.
Last year, some varieties of geraniums from PAC-Elsner were left at Windmill Nursery and planted outside the greenhouse. One year later, the geraniums have grown as large as shrubs, attesting to the vigor of these genetics. Long promoted under the Oglevee and then Ecke brands, PAC-Elsner is widely known in Europe for its geraniums. It presented a new series of geraniums and new colors of other series, as well as a new line of Dayzee argyranthemums.