April 15, 2010

Dragone, Potunia Touched Up

In addition to its Magnum and Stardust series, Dömmen has added varieties to several existing series like Dragone begonias, Potunia petunias and Survivor pelargoniums. New in the Dragone series are ‘Champagne,’ ‘Pink Hope, ‘White Blush’ and ‘Sunset.’ These new, lighter colors contrast well with Dragone’s dark foliage. Large flowering is still a major Dömmen objective with the series. The popular Potunia series welcomes a few newcomers, as well: ‘Blackberry Ice,’ ‘Papaya’ and ‘Piccola Blue Vein’ are among this year’s introductions. The standout among the new petunias is ‘Papaya,’ which essentially covered its container with flowers and left no foliage to be seen. Survivor, meanwhile, welcomes two pelargoniums aboard in ‘White 2011’ and ‘Light Salmon.’ Salmon is also seen in Dömmen’s new Magnum series.

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April 15, 2010

Allan’s Picks From Greenheart And Dummen

Greenheart Micro Miniature roses:  Bill DeVor, the rose grower at Greenheart, showed us the new wave of roses coming down the pipe and he discussed some good ideas.  The micro miniatures were the most interesting to me in that they are being selected as an “annual” rose.  That is, a small rose that can be planted with other sun loving bedding plants, watered overhead at 2:00 am and abused like a begonia or petunia, and not get foliar diseases or otherwise fall apart.   If they can stand bedding plant abuse and the flowers and foliage remain at least as healthy and ornamental as the plants around them, then why not have a bedding rose.   Time will tell, I look forward to trying them out. Dummen Magnum New Guinea impatiens:  It is hard to have a series of impatiens stand out from the bazillions of impatiens already out there.  The Magnum […]

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April 15, 2010

New Decade For Knock Out Roses

Just a week before the California Spring Trials, an announcement shook the rose landscape. Brokers and growers who had sold and produced the revolutionary Knock Out roses for 10 years would no longer have access at the young plant stage. When we visited Greenheart Farms on Wednesday during the trials, General Manager and Chief Operations Officer Bill DeVor explained why Conard-Pyle went to a more exclusive arrangement to control production and marketing and rescue the roses from becoming devalued and commoditized in the marketplace. “The market is saturated now. I’ve seen a gallon pot being sold for three bucks,” DeVor says. “That’s why Conard-Pyle had to get its arms around the product.” As a young plant producer, Greenheart Farms is more focused on small to medium growers and Northwest Horticulture serves larger operations. Changes go into effect in July. Also new is packaging requirements for the product. All Knock Outs […]

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April 14, 2010

Coloropsis Additions Stand Out For Skagit

The Coloropsis coreopsis series from Skagit Gardens has been a success for the Washington-based propagator so far, and the addition of three varieties for 2011 should enhance the series’ value to growers. Coloropsis varieties produce masses of flowers from early summer into fall, thrive in hot sun and were originally introduced by Sunny Border Nurseries and hybridized by Darrell Probst. The series offers hot and spicy color combinations that give a burst of bloom color. The three Coloropsis newcomers are: -‘Jive’ -‘Mambo’; and -‘Salsa’ ‘Jive’ is white with single blooms and a burgundy eye with an orange center; ‘Mambo’ is pale pink with a raspberry eye; and my favorite newbie, ‘Salsa,’ is golden yellow with a wide burgundy eye. The burgundy color against the flower’s yellow perimeter bursts right at you. And multiple buds means lots of bursting color throughout summer. The series is compact in habit, too. Pamela Youngsman, […]

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April 14, 2010

AllRecipes.com Program Offers Big-Time Edibles Enhancement

Among the most exciting developments Tuesday at Imagination Canyon in Santa Barbara was John Henry Company’s partnership with AllRecipes.com. John Henry is now designing packaging and tags for AllRecipes.com, and all tags can be scanned by the consumer’s phone for instant recipe downloads. Programs like this should continue to tighten the gap between our industry and Generations X and Y. “AllRecipes.com is the most widely-used recipe site in the world,” says Brenda Vaughn, John Henry Company. “And they’re now offering consumers opportunities to grow vegetables.” Vaughn says she simply wrote AllRecipes.com a letter urging the company to partner with John Henry on edibles. Now, recipes are among the information John Henry is putting on tags, and a unique bar code on tags allows consumers to scan them and retrieve recipes for meals they otherwise might not think about if vegetables weren’t appropriately merchandised. Tags are still the bread and butter of […]

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April 14, 2010

Allan’s Choices At Imagination Canyon

Skagit Gardens Helleborus Gold Collection: You have already heard a good deal about this new series of hellebores (from me at GGTV, and others) and one can’t help but be impressed.  The breakthroughs are in upward facing flowers, handsome foliage and good colors. They flower early, look wonderful in a pot and can open up an entire early season of winter and early spring sales at the retailer.  ‘Pink Frost’ and ‘Cinnamon Snow’ are among my favorites. Coreopsis Coloropsis series: That Skagit is making a push with annual color shows how lines between annuals and perennials are becoming more blurred.  These annual coreopsis show very well in retail containers and should provide lots of punch in the garden. ‘Salsa’ appears to have the best habit and flower power but ‘Fuse’ and ‘Mango also looked  good–and more are not too far away.  Euphorbias:  Skagit has been a leader in bringing new landscape upright […]

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April 14, 2010

Garvinea Perennial Gerberas Touted For Disease Resistance

Among the exhibitors Tuesday at Imagination Canyon in Santa Barbara was Florist de Kwakel, which exhibited its Garvinea perennial gerbera series that company representatives say is hardy to USDA Zone 7. “We’re excited about its disease resistance to leafminer and downy mildew,” says Judy Born, a sales and marketing manager for Northern Innovators, which represents Florist de Kwakel and other breeders. “Thrips may still be a problem.” Born adds that Garvinia perennial gerberas flowered in their second years during trials in Vancouver and Holland.

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April 14, 2010

Jiffy Off & Running At Spring Trials

Jiffy is exhibiting for the first time this year at California Spring Trials, where the company unveiled its “Plant In A Jiffy” program targeting garden center retailers. Essentially, Jiffy plans to produce paper sleeves and attractive plant carriers that garden center retailers would offer as impulse items in checkout areas. Consumers would potentially buy the plugs in sleeves—or multiple plugs made available in carriers—and have the ability to plant plugs directly into the ground or in containers with sleeves because they’re biodegradable. Another component of the program is the growth media used. Jiffy has developed a bonded growth media called Preforma that growers would use to propagate plugs in the “Plant In A Jiffy” program. Growers could then work with retailers to make plugs consumer friendly. Jiffy General Manager Rick Friedrich says we could see the “Plant In A Jiffy” program in stores this fall. Jiffy is currently offering Preforma for […]

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April 14, 2010

Hort Couture Has Arrived

While Hort Couture is heading into its fourth year with plans for Spring 2011, in many ways this year marks the rebirth and relaunch of the brand. Developed by Jim and Jennifer Monroe of Greenbriar Nurseries in West Virginia, the fashion-forward brand is designed for independent garden centers and grower-retailers like themselves. The idea was to give plants and gardening a more hip or chic image. The focus is more on container plantings than landscaping. Through a joint venture with Gerry and Patty Raker of C. Raker & Sons in Michigan, the Monroes and the Rakers have created a comprehensive supply chain alliance with key breeders, young plant producers, brokers and retailers. “This is big-picture stuff,” Gerry Raker says. “We’re trying to create a strategic alliance with suppliers, vendors and sales reps. Our focus is the independent garden centers and innovative small businesses, to work with each other and become […]

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April 14, 2010

Allan’s Picks From Island View Nursery

Plant Haven Geranium ‘Crystal Rose’: With so many petunias and calibrachoas filling containers and baskets, each one more brilliant than the last, it is refreshing to see a new perennial in the lineup. I am taken with this hardy geranium, not pelargonium, because of its crisp rosy color, but mainly because I see this as a tough, compact entry into the perennial geranium market. It is obviously a hybrid and in the container it appears to be well branched and I expect it to perform well in the landscape as far north as USDA zone 5.    Abutilon Lucky Lantern series:  I believe the breeding for flowering maple will heat up big time in the very near future. There have been some excellent new abutilons in the past few years, and thye Lucky series from Plant Haven is the latest. These strong colors on the plants, ranging from deep red to a white to […]

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April 13, 2010

Allan Presents The Best From GroLink, Green Fuse And Fides

GroLink Euphorbia ‘White Manaus’:  In the trials at the University of Georgia last year, we trialed 6 different annual euphorbs and without doubt, this one had the cleanest white color.  At the trials, it was equally white and although compact may not be an adjective I would put in front of the name, the plants fill out rapidly and are worth trying if looking for white filler. Interesting “out there” plants:  Gro Link does many things, growing stock for URCs to selecting plants.  I have always been impressed with the variety of unusual plants GL puts on the table.  Plants like Bulbine, Centratherum, Alternanthera and Acalypha are just a few that allow the grower, retailer and consumer enjoy these off the common path plants.  With Pedilanthus, Pereskia and climbing Senecio being displayed this year, it is obvious that Grow Link will be one of the places where unusual will be […]

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April 13, 2010

California Spring Trials Are Underway

Visit our California Spring Trials 2010 page for all our coverage of the event—photo slideshows of the new varieties introduced, video interviews with the breeders and with varieties guru Allan Armitage on his top picks from the trials. Editor Delilah Onofrey and Associate Editor Kevin Yanik are on the road to bring you the latest. We want to make you feel like you’re there! See it all now at our Spring Trials Coverage page.  

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