Doing The California Spring Trials By Bus

A bus trip for growers is again planned to this year’s California Spring Trials from March 26-29.

Mark Bridgen and Neil Mattson of Cornell University and Roberto Lopez of Purdue University have organized an intense, educational trip to several of the key Spring Trial locations. The trip is designed specifically for members of the greenhouse and floriculture industry and other horticulture professionals.

This will be the second year the trip has been offered. Last year, the group traveled from north to south. This year, the excursion begins in Los Angeles and travels north for four days visiting many different locations from the previous year.

Attendees should plan to arrive at the San Diego Airport on Friday, March 25. They will stay at the Crowne Plaza San Diego near the airport. The journey begins on Saturday morning, March 26, when the bus departs from the hotel. That first day, the group will visit the Paul Ecke Ranch in Encinitas and Proven Winners in Bonsall. During the trip north toward Ventura Beach, a visit to a California winery will break up the ride. Participants will stay at the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach on Saturday night.

Sunday, March 27, will be a busy day beginning at Fides North America. Following that stop, the group goes to Ball Horticultural Co. in Santa Paula, where displays of PanAmerican, Ball FloraPlant, Kieft Seeds and Selecta varieties will be featured. Lunch will be hosted by Ball. After lunch and a short ride, the group will visit Island View Nursery, which includes HIP Labels, PlantHaven and Westflowers. If time allows that day, the group will visit Imagination Canyon, which includes displays by Florist de Kwakel, GGG-International, Jiffy Products, The John Henry Company, Northern Innovators and Skagit Gardens. That night will be spent at the Holiday Inn Express in San Luis Obispo.

Monday, March 28, will begin with a short drive to Dümmen USA in San Luis Obispo. After this stop, participants will be able to rest on the bus for a while during the drive north to Salinas to visit both Sakata and American Takii. At the end of the day, participants will spend the night at the Courtyard Salinas.

Tuesday, March 29, begins with a short drive to Gilroy where the first stop is at Headstart Nursery, which includes Danziger and Oro Farms. Close by is Syngenta Flowers, which will host lunch. In the afternoon, the final visit of the trip will be to Pacific Plug & Liner, which includes the Agrexco companies: Cohen, Hishtil, Jaldety, Isaacson Flowers and Schwartz Nursery. Following this stop, everyone will enjoy cold beers and California wines on the bus while driving north to the Wyndham Hotel in San Jose.

On Wednesday, March 30, the hotel will provide a free shuttle to the San Jose Airport or participants may travel on their own to other locations.

This package trip includes the cost of first-class hotel accommodations for five nights from March 25-29, bus transportation from San Diego Airport on the first day to San Jose on the last day, lunches on travel days, and three experienced horticultural guides. Participants need to arrange their own transportation into San Diego on March 25 and out of San Jose on March 30. They also need to cover their own dinner costs.

A travel agency is available to assist with these reservations. The cost of the trip will be $690 per person in a double room – roommates can be found for you if needed – or $995 per person for a single room. These rates are based on 36 participants and will be adjusted slightly if minimum capacity is not met. The trip is subject to change and may be cancelled if minimum capacity is not met.

Register by February 18 to reserve a seat on this trip. For online reservation, go to and click on Event Registration at the bottom left of the site. Be sure to go to the site labeled: Greenhouse Growers Spring Trials 2011. If you have registration questions, call Denise at 203-262-6260. If you have questions about details of the trip, contact Mark Bridgen at or at 631-727-3595.

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