June 13, 2008

Trialing & Styling

In response to both grower and retailer demand, the California Pack Trials will be earlier this year, from March 29 to April 6, before the busy spring season gets too far under way. Bus loads of growers travel with their big box buyers to discuss next spring’s program just as this spring begins. For one week, California’s U.S. Highway 101 will become the runway for the launch of new annuals and perennials. From Gilroy in the north and then south to the Los Angeles/Ventura area, the journey continues down I-5 to Encinitas. In addition to the flower breeders that are already based in California, others will come from as far as Japan, Israel, Germany, Holland and the United Kingdom to showcase their new offerings. Now that Fischer is owned by Syngenta and is in charge of its genetics on the seed and vegetative side, the company is rebranded as Syngenta […]

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June 12, 2008

Greenhouse Grower’s Medal of Excellence

For 20 years, we have recognized outstanding contributions in advancing flower varieties through our Medal of Excellence awards program. Our traditional award for breeding, the Editor’s Choice, reaches this special milestone this year. The Industry’s Choice is determined by our well-rounded panel and this same slate of nominees will be voted on by you, our readers, to determine our Reader’s Choice Award. Eligible varieties are chosen from among the new introductions at the California Pack Trials. We also will present our Industry Achievement Award to German flower breeder Benary and our Marketer of the Year award to Hermann Engelmann Greenhouses for its Exotic Angel Plants brand on July 14 during a reception at the OFA Short Course in Columbus, Ohio.

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June 12, 2008

10 Years Of California Dreamin’

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 […]

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June 12, 2008

Le Grand Tour de Fleur

At Greenhouse Grower, we look forward to giving you the world – a whole world of floriculture, that is – after spending a full week covering the California Pack Trials. More than 30 flower breeders and propagators rolled out their cutting-edge flower varieties and strategies during the ultimate road trip, March 29-April 5. In addition to American companies, many of which are based in California, breeders and producers from as far as Japan, Israel, Germany, England and Holland camp out for a couple of weeks and make a pretty substantial investment in this event. Many exhibit at plug and liner growers, which also gives these growing operations an opportunity to showcase their facilities and product lines. Many Pack Trials hosts reported record highs in visitation, which is encouraging. Nearly 2,000 plant seekers make this pilgrimage each year. While the majority are representatives of the broker distribution chain, busloads of growers […]

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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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