Since 1998, we’ve brought 40 growers, retailers and landscapers with us to Pack Trials through the California Dreamin’ program, where we give away two trips for two at the Southeast Greenhouse Conference in June. For most of our trip winners, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Many have never been to California or been able to see the full breadth of what is available in varieties from all over the world.
This year’s winners were Bill and Andrea Henry from Little Marrowbone Farm near Nashville, Tenn., and Susan Brown and Denise Etheridge from Homewood Nursery in Raleigh, N.C. While Little Marrowbone is a small grower-retailer focused on upscale niche items, Homewood Nursery, owned by the Stoffregen family, is one of the leading independent garden centers in the Southeast. While Brown is the perennials grower, Etheridge focuses on annuals and blooming potted plants.
One of the highlights for Etheridge was meeting Paul Ecke III because Homewood grows poinsettias for North Carolina State University and hosts a big poinsettia open house for the public. Etheridge also will be growing Suntory’s trade show plants for the Southeast Greenhouse Conference this month.
This 10th year is the final year for the California Dreamin’ program. Thank you, Sakata and Suntory, for making this opportunity possible for 40 hardworking growers and retailers in the Southeast.