At the top of a scenic lookout on the grounds of the Ventura Botanical Gardens, guests said they felt a little more zen when they left the Suntory Flowers and EuroAmerican Propagators Spring Trials site. It could have been the delicious meal, the panoramic ocean view or the four seasons garden trail highlighting the different uses of plants at the trials site. Or it could have been because of the buzz of all the bees attracted by Suntory Flowers’ new BeeDance bicolor bidens.
Available in two bicolors, Red Stripe and Painted Red, flowers start out yellow, and are accented with red, especially in cooler temperatures. Painted Red won the Innovation Award at IPM Essen in January for an outstanding new variety. The early-flowering series is sterile and stays in flower, so it doesn’t set seed. BeeDance varieties are selected for short days, and they look incredible in combination baskets.
Another big introduction for Suntory Flowers this year is its Soiree series of catharanthus, which includes three different types – Crown, Ka-wa-i-i and Double. The Japanese word for cute, the Ka-wa-i-i varieties offer an abundance of small, cute flowers that hold their color and bloom. The Double catharanthus is notable as the first double vinca-type, has attractive, glossy foliage and a good shape and is available in White and Pink.
Suntory is working on new mixed containers, a few of which were highlighted, and also promoted its new addition to Senetti pericallis, Sparkle Light Pink and Sparkle Sky Blue.
EuroAmerican Propagators highlighted a number of concepts with cute and clever names, including Sipsters, a selection of plants that work well in the landscape with low water; and Chilly Dippers, plants that tolerate cold. It’s trialing Savvy Succulent plants in miniature gardens called Tiny Gardens, and showcasing unique ways to use succulents in reclaimed and recycled items like wine bottles.
New basil variety ‘Basil Blooms’ was a big hit, as well, with its large flowers that make it fabulous and functional. Purple flowers make the variety positively ornamental for mixing with other bedding plants or veggies, because in addition to looking good, it also tastes good.