In early March, Proven Winners ‘Double Take Pink’ Chaenomeles was awarded the 2018 Silver Florall Award for best new variety at the Belgian trade fair Florall, founded by the Belgian Nurseryman and Growers’ Federation and the Royal Society for Agriculture.
The competition focused on new plant cultivars from the widest possible range of the area’s horticultural sector. The submissions were evaluated by a jury committee prior to the event and the Golden, Silver, and Bronze Florall Award-winning plants were on display at the single-day event. Evaluations were based on factors such as the quality of the plants, the innovative aspect of the new variety, its added value within the existing horticultural range, and its distinguishing quality.
‘Double Take Pink’ is a flowering quince (C. speciosa ‘Pink Storm’) from Proven Winners and is propagated exclusively by Spring Meadow Nursery. ‘Double Take Pink’ quince produces a display of double, camellia-like flowers on stems that are completely thornless. All five varieties in the series are heat and drought tolerant, and develop little to no fruit. Developed by Dr. Thomas Ranney and his team at Mountain Horticultural Crops Research & Extension Center in Asheville, NC, the plants were submitted to the Florall Award competition by Willy De Nolf Nursery in Waregem, Belgium.
Proven Winners ColorChoice Crowns a Winner in Shrub Madness 2018
Shrub Madness, the world’s only plant bracket competition based on the college basketball playoffs, was populated with a wide variety of Proven Winners ColorChoice shrubs, which competed throughout the month of March for the chance to be crowned National Champion.
After a month of voting, Hydrangea paniculata ‘Zinfin Doll’ was crowned the 2018 Shrub Madness National Champion. Coming from a crowded field of 64 contenders, the competition narrowed to the Floral Four, and then the final two after multiple rounds of voting. This year’s Floral Four included Buddleia ‘Pugster Amethyst,’ Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Let’s Dance Blue Jangles,’ Weigela ‘Czechmark Trilogy,’ and champion, Hydrangea ‘Zinfin Doll.’
Introduced to garden centers in 2016, ‘Zinfin Doll’ features loads of beautiful, dense blooms that emerge pure white, and then turn bright pink from the bottom up as the season progresses. The blooms then age to a dark red-pink in the fall. Zinfin Doll’s large, unique blooms, hold up on strong stems.
Shrub Madness is the brainchild of the marketing department at Spring Meadow Nursery, developers of the Proven Winners ColorChoice brand of shrubs. Developed five years ago, Shrub Madness is one example of how Proven Winners helps bring attention to its plants, and as a result, brings garden centers more business. But that’s not the only benefit the plant bracket competition brings to the party.
“Shrub Madness is excellent market research,” says Spring Meadow Marketing Specialist Shannon Downey. “It’s an effective way to find out first-hand what customers respond to and what they’ll be looking for when planting season begins. It’s an inside look at what they want and need in their yards this season.”
This type of research is useful, Downey says, because it gives the company an opportunity to challenge internal preconceived notions about which plants might be most popular with the public. The additional information that is gained as a result of the contest helps to inform marketing decisions going forward.
The full list of Shrub Madness winners can be found at ShrubMadness.com.