June 12, 2008

Selling Sustainability

One of the main objectives of the California Pack Trials is to help growers and retailers succeed with plants in the marketplace and capitalize on consumer trends. Many Pack Trials hosts this year demonstrated they are in tune with the desire to offer more sustainable products and strategies. We saw a wide range of biodegradable pots and environmentally responsible packaging. Some of the breeders also emphasized how variety selection fits in with conserving energy, growing more plants in less space and reducing the need for chemical inputs. The best part is all of this is being presented as a choice for growers and retailers who would like to differentiate themselves with a green message. Never before has the supply chain been more prepared to facilitate this with a wide range of offerings.

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June 12, 2008

New Varieties At Pack Trials 2008

American Takii American Takii emphasized where its varieties fit into green strategies under the theme “Garden Performance Naturally.” Even the Opera petunias were presented as an alternative to mulch by crowding out weeds as a beautiful groundcover. Varieties were grouped in solution-oriented themes for growers, gardeners and landscapers: drought tolerant, disease tolerant, deer resistant, nematode tolerant, resistant to snails and slugs, attract butterflies, energy efficient and genetically dwarf. “It’s what we’ve been saying all along but just another way to present it,” says American Takii’s Bonnie Marquardt. In other news, Takii was integrating new acquisitions, Sahin in Holland and Global Flowers in Denmark. The companies continue to do business as usual, but under the umbrella of Takii & Company, LTD. While Global Flowers specializes in potted plants, like gerbera, Sahin breeds niche products, including grasses, perennials and annuals.  Ball Horticultural Co. SEED INTRODUCTIONS: • Clear Crystal tetraploid alyssum series • […]

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June 12, 2008

Thoughts On California Pack Trials

Our esteemed magazine editor, Delilah Onofrey, wrote many a fine blog posting during the 2007 Pack Trials, and if you didn’t read those up-to-date factual accounts, you missed out on the heart and soul of the trials. I accompanied Delilah to the Northern part of the tour, but had to return to my main job of confusing students after a few days. However, many thoughts of those days still remain, and here are just a few of them. Of course, they are my thoughts and opinions only, and I am usually wrong.  Gaillardias Are Trying To Be The Next Echinacea Keep your eyes peeled with breeding from around the world on this genus. In just the few places I visited, they were a plant that everyone wanted people to see. I especially liked the dwarf forms coming from Kieft Co. (Gallo series), but the material at Syngenta (Sunburst series) was also […]

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June 11, 2008

Color Spectacular

  Ball Horticultural Co. Henna coleus is very uniform with serrated foliage and a unique chartreuse to copper color with dark burgundy undersides. Ball Horticultural Co. ‘Fiesta Pink Frost’ double impatiens is the newest variety in the Fiesta series. With striking variegated foliage and pretty pink blooms, this variety works well in shady landscapes, baskets, mixed containers and patio pots.   Benary Begonia x benariensis BIG begonia series offers big flowers (2 to 3 inches), habit and landscape performance. The deep green or bronze foliage adds vibrancy and contrast to the striking red or rose colored flowers.   Benary Begonia tuberhybrida ‘Nonstop Fire’ is a truly unique, vibrant addition to the series. Named for its hot shades of yellow, gold and orange, flowers contrast against deep green foliage.    Bodger Seed American Marigold, Discovery Yellow and Orange are being introduced again, with the same compact habit that commercial growers covet. […]

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June 4, 2008

Springing For 2009 At The Niagara Pack Trials

Stops at Colonial Florists, Jeffery’s Greenhouses and Vineland Research Station are part of the Niagara Pack Trials experience June 25 and 26 this year, taking place in and around St. Catharines, Ontario. The event is free. Hotel and sign-up information is available online at www.copf.org. The Canadian Ornamental Plant Foundation (COPF), which is sponsoring the Niagara Pack Trials with Greenhouse Grower, also has maps and directions available online. Suggestions and event activities are listed there, as well. Growers who attend Pack Trials will see 2009 bedding varieties from at least 10 different breeders, including Ball Horticultural Co., Cohen Propagation Nurseries, Danziger, Dömmen USA, Florist De Kwakel, Gröenewald, Northern Innovators, Proven Winners, Selecta Klemm and Syngenta/Fischer USA. All three stops are within a few minutes of each other, Niagara Falls is only a few minutes away and Toronto is a short drive as well. For more information, call COPF at 800-265-1629 […]

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April 30, 2008

Pack Trials Plants Benefit Good Cause

The annual Charity Garden Tour & Plant Sale that follows the California Pack Trials raised a record $30,000 earlier this month for Community Resource Center (CRC), which helps abused women and children, low-income families and the homeless. Evelyn Weidner, a CRC board member, started the annual garden tour seven years ago to expose the public to beautiful gardens in North County San Diego and to support CRC. She personally selects the residential gardens included on the tour, which included stops in Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas and Solana Beach this year. Paul Ecke III hosted the private plant sale at Ecke Ranch, and more than half of the event’s earnings this year were raised as a result of plants sold there. “[The tour] has developed quite a following thanks to Evelyn Weidner, Paul Ecke and so many other supporters in the community,” says Laurin Pause, executive director of CRC. “Evelyn and […]

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March 26, 2008

Pack Trials Coverage Begins Monday

For those of you who won’t be going to California for the Pack Trials, we will be providing daily coverage from the road all of next week with a final wrap-up the following Monday, April 7. Pack Trials is where all new varieties make their debut and marks the beginning of the product introduction cycle. More than 30 flower breeders and producers will be participating from all over the world. Bus loads of growers will be traveling with their big box buyers to discuss next spring’s programs just as this spring begins. This is the 12th time Greenhouse Grower’s Editor Delilah Onofrey will make the trek and the 10th time she’ll bring winners from the California Dreamin’ sweepstakes sponsored by Sakata and Suntory. The prizes were drawn at the Southeast Greenhouse Conference in June. The lucky winners are Bill and Andrea Henry from Little Marrowbone Farm in Ashland, Tenn., and […]

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March 5, 2008

Peace Tree Hosts Novalis Open House

Excited to be the first grower for the Novalis Plants That Work by Color line of premium annuals, Lloyd and Candy Traven will host an open house at Peace Tree Farm in Kintnersville, Pa., on Friday, March 14, showcasing the entire Novalis program in a garden center format. “Peace Tree is extremely proud to be the very first Novalis Plants That Work by Color grower,” Lloyd says. “We have nationally known experts doing presentations (and by Candy and me). We’ll have a demonstration of just how easy it is for you to get yoru own store-specific signage, either done by us, or printed by you in-house, with your pricing and everything.We will have the production barn set up like a garden center, showing the entire range of Novalis products, fully displayed and with the entire gamut of gorgeous POP and signage.” There will be product displayed by Novalis partners Carolina […]

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February 20, 2008

Skagit Adds Pack Trials Stop

Perennial propagator Skagit Gardens will be exhibiting at Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens from March 30-April 2 during the California Pack Trials. The botanical garden is located conveniently off U.S. Highway 101 past the Santa Barbara Mission at 1212 Mission Canyon Road. For more information and to schedule your visit, contact Barb Young, 800-334-1719 or [email protected]

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February 6, 2008

Make Your Pack Trials Plans

With the California Pack Trials being a little earlier this year, March 29-April 6, now is the time to finalize your travel arrangements and visits. Make sure you have the most up to date information. Download the complete alphabetical list of exhibiting companies and contact information here. Or go to the National Garden Bureau’s Web site, www.ngb.org, for direct links to make appointments at each location.

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January 16, 2008

Texas A&M Hosts Tour To Mexico

Brush up on your Spanish. Escape from winter. Don Wilkerson, Texas A&M University horticulture professor and Extension specialist is leading a week-long Spanish-language immersion study program to Cuernavaca, Mexico, Feb. 24-March 1. Whether you are interested in communicating better with Spanish-speaking employees or want to sell more plants to a growing Hispanic population, being able to communicate in Spanish and having an appreciation of Latin American culture are essential skills and experiences. Participants will have an opportunity to learn or practice functional and conversational Spanish in small classes with accredited teachers. In the afternoons, there will be educational field-study tours focusing on floriculture production and marketing. For more information regarding this unique educational opportunity, Dr. Charles Hall, Ellison Chair in International Floriculture, 979-458-3277, [email protected]

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December 19, 2007

Primula & Cyclamen Trials

January will be a month for blooming potted plant trials. While Sakata is hosting primula trials in Denmark, Hortus Group will host its cyclamen trials in California. Now through January 25, Sakata will present a full-comparison primula trial, including the species of Primula vulgaris (acaulis), Primula veris (polyanthus) and Primula malacoides. Key Sakata varieties are Danova, Rosanna, SuperNova and Prima. This trial provides the opportunity to evaluate each series with regard to earliness, plant uniformity and overall plant habit. For more information and to attend the trial, contact your local Sakata representative of email [email protected] You may also contact Carsten Jorgensen at +45 4010 4853. In Cyclamen, Hans Gerritsen of Hortus Group will host its annual open house from January 14-25 in Castroville, Calif. In cooperation with the world’s key F1 cyclamen breeders, he will display more than 250 varieties for evaluation. This is North America’s largest cyclamen trial. For […]

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