For this episode of STEM, we tried something very different. It’s an episode of stories heard while attending California Spring Trials. (Note: This is NOT an April Fools Day episode – these stories are real!)
Walking through greenhouse and displays of innovative new plants at the 2019 California Spring Trials is inspirational. That’s where I am right now – so this podcast is somewhat live for the first time. Not completely live since I’m actually in my hotel room – but live in a sense since it’s day three of the trials and there are two more days left. Seeing and learning about cutting-edge solutions for professional growers, garden center retailers, landscapers and home gardeners is so exciting and the energy out here is amazingly high. And why wouldn’t it be? I’m surrounded by product managers, plant breeders and marketing managers who have worked for years to bring these amazing genetics and programs to market. For some, these trials are the first time their new varieties are being unveiled after years or decades of work. The hours, sweat and even tears have finally paid off.
And behind every one of these introductions is a person or team AND subsequently, a story. The breeding, selection, trialing, testing and vetting can take years. Most have been evaluated around the world and subjected to a wide variety of climates, production scenarios, disease screens, shipping trials and so much more than most of us will ever see. The path to introduction is complex and the effort required is monumental.
For many new plants, the pipeline is established and the process has been perfected. For others, the path is opportunistic. And for some, it involves outrunning baboons. Seriously – outrunning baboons. You’ll have to listen all the way to the end to hear that one.
So I hope you enjoy this fun episode. It was fun hearing these stories and more and what really sticks out to me is the passion with which they were told. The folks in our industry who breed and select plants are dedicated individuals who really know their stuff. Sometimes their years of work pay off bigtime and millions of plants are sold and sometimes the trials are thrown out. But no matter what, they keep at it in an effort to bring new technology to the world of horticulture year after year after year. When you see all of the amazing new products coming to market in the weeks and months after California Spring Trials, remember that each product has a story.
How about you? Do you have a fun or unexpected plant breeding story to share? I’d love to hear it! Email me at [email protected].
Host Bill Calkins: [email protected]
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