Medal Of Excellence: The Panel And Their Nominees

For more than 20 years, Greenhouse Grower has recognized outstanding contributions in advancing flower varieties, and the industry as a whole, through our Medal of Excellence awards program. We will present three breeding awards on July 11 during our Evening of Excellence reception at the OFA Short Course in Columbus, Ohio:

– Industry’s Choice determined by our well-rounded panel
–Editor’s Choice by Editor Delilah Onofrey
–Reader’s Choice determined by you, our readers.

We’ve opened up Reader’s Choice to be more competitive, with breeders and plant introducers submitting their best new varieties for consideration. Entries will compete in categories with winners advancing to face off to win Reader’s Choice.

In addition to recognizing the best new introductions, we recognize long-term contributions. We are pleased to present Adrian Bloom of Blooms of Bressingham with our Industry Achievement award for his life’s work introducing premium perennials and showing how they can be used in landscapes in his famous demonstration gardens. Our Marketer of the Year is Ball Horticultural Co./Burpee for the Burpee Home Gardens program. Congratulations to our finalists and honorees!

Dr. Allan Armitage, University of Georgia
1. Floranova’s Vegetalis program–These new vegetables are part of the change in product mix.
2. Hellebores ‘Pink Frost’ and ‘Cinnamon Snow,’ Skagit Gardens–Definitely breakthrough plants with upright flowers and excellent, handsome foliage.
3. Lady Slippers streptocarpus, Green Fuse Botanicals–Colors were stunning and an improvement, to be sure, on what is presently available.
4. Ornamental corn ‘Field of Dreams,’ Floranova–Great fun and potentially quite profitable. The corn was obviously ornamental, assuming it holds its colors.
5. 3D osteospermums, Selecta–Different enough to be considered in the mix, good colors and lots of buzz.

Vaughn Fletcher, McHutchison
1. 3D osteospermums, Selecta–This is a genetic breakthrough in the osteospermum class. The three colors are unique. Flowers remain open under low light conditions and the flower position is upright.
2. Paparazzi phlox, Pacific Plug & Liner–A genetic breakthrough in interspecific phlox breeding, a very floriferous series, impressive flower presentation above the foliage, long blooming and self branching.
3. Verbena ‘Lanai Twister Pink,’ Syngenta Flowers–This unique color will appeal to consumers and generate impulse sales. It’s a dramatic flower with great potential in mixed containers and baskets. Last but not least, the retail shelf life will be outstanding.
4. Calibrachoa ‘Superbells Cherry Star,’ Proven Winners–We have so much choice in colors, growth habit and specific series, a new color must be so unique and different to attract the consumer. This variety has the power to make this happen!
5. Salvia ‘Summer Jewel Red,’ Takii–An All-America Selections winner for 2012, it flowers two weeks earlier than other coccinea varieties and blooms early spring through fall with great garden performance. ‘Summer Jewel Red’ also appears to be more compact and can be used in containers as an impressive centerpiece or in landscape beds.

Delilah Onofrey, Greenhouse Grower
1. 3D osteospermums, Selecta–A breakthrough as the first double-flowered osteospermums with unique flower form and colors. Love Silver!
2. Candy Drops phygelius, Skagit Gardens/David Kerley–Although they are only hardy to Zone 8, the vivid colors make them attractive as annuals, as well as tender perennials.
3. Darwin Perennials’ echinacea program–While many of the new colored echinaceas have fizzled in landscapes, Darwin Perennials is emphasizing hardiness testing. Hot colors in the Sombreros and Double Scoops should delight consumers.
4. Sunvillea bougainvilleas, Suntory–Suntory has reinvented another crop, taking bougainvillea to bonsai proportions. Sunvilleas were recognized at the Tropical Plant Industry Expo. I look forward to seeing what growers do with them.
5. Lady Slippers streptocarpus, Green Fuse Botanicals–Produced from tissue culture instead of leaf cuttings, the Lady Slippers should be a superior offering. Great assortment of colors for houseplants and shade.

Michele Radecki, Walmart
1. 3D osteospermums, Selecta–Double flower and bright colors, a breakthrough that will appeal to consumers.
2. Pot mum ‘Shanghai Red,’ Syngenta Flowers–Full flower head and deep red color, a significant improvement over others.
3. XXL dahlias, Dömmen–Beautiful blooms and a good series for color range. These should appeal to consumers.
4. Double Scoop echinaceas, Darwin Perennials–Double flower and rich color, genetic breakthrough, completely new product and a significant improvement over others on the market.
5. Euphorbia ‘Luv U Pink,’ Ecke Ranch–Completely new color, habit and timing.

Mast Young Plants, Grand Rapids, Mich.
1. Verbena ‘Lanai Twister Pink,’ Syngenta Flowers–Unique, reverse flower color.
2. 3D osteospermums, Selecta–Breakthrough in breeding.
3. Akila osteospermums, PanAmerican Seed–Improvement over current market varieties in seed osteospermums.
4. Dianthus ‘Diana Lavender Picotee,’ Hem Genetics–
Great color!
5. Lobularia ‘Silver Stream’ from Danziger–Looked great in combo baskets.

Metrolina Greenhouses, Huntersville, NC
1. 3D osteospermums, Selecta–First double-flowered osteospermum. Great early season item, nice garden height. The always-open flowers really stood out for us.
2. Calibrachoa ‘Superbells Cherry Star,’ Proven Winners–First in class color. Really unique flower pattern that catches your eye.
3. Verbena ‘Lanai Twister Pink,’ Syngenta Flowers–Unique, eyecatching color. Has the same great Lanai disease tolerance and does well in the heat.
4. Coreopsis ‘Solanna’ from Danziger–Great looking coreopsis. Profuse, bright, large double flowers.
5. Kale ‘Glamour Red,’ Takii–Finally something new in kale. Shiny foliage really stands out in the garden. Did great in our overwintering trial last year.

Raker & Sons, Litchfield, Mich.
1. Ornamental Corn ‘Field of Dreams,’ Floranova–New look and use for corn. Plants are attractive with controlled growth, making them useful in containers and bedding applications.
2. 3D osteospermums, Selecta–New flower form in osteo. The fact they will not close under dark conditions makes them that much cooler.
3. Trixi liner innovation, Selecta–For propagators, solves production problems by not having to stick three different genera in a single cell. This will open the concept to more combination ideas.
4. Dianthus ‘Diana Lavender Picotee,’ Hem Genetics–New, unique color in bedding dianthus. Plants are naturally dwarf (no PGR) and basal branched. Also features extra-large flowers.
5. Under the Sea coleus, Hort Couture–Exotic, new coleus forms and types. Proceeds support research programs at the University of Saskatchewan, where they were bred.

Welby Gardens, Denver, Colo.
1. Ornamental corn ‘Field of Dreams,’ Floranova–Novel appearance with broad application in landscapes and specialty planters. Also has appeal to popcorn lovers.
2. 3D osteospermums, Selecta–A genetic breakthrough that solves the problem of osteospermums that close up under low light. Silver is especially novel as a color.
3. Pot mums from Syngenta Flowers, especially ‘Shanghai Red’–Spectacular colors and flower forms should give a spark to a sleepy pot mum market.
4. Tomato ‘Cherry Falls,’ Vegetalis–Handsome plant and fruit presentation, loads of fruit and improved flavor.
5. Sunvillea bouganvilleas, Suntory–These tidy plants and stacked florets will be very appealing in four-inch or small pots.

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