Trialing Times & Time for Trials By Tim Hodson

The winter of 2013-14 has been one for the record books. It doesn't matter where you are located, Mother Nature has presented a cornucopia of challenges for growers. Record snowfalls, bone-chilling temperatures and unprecedented ice storms hit a large portion of the United States with a vengeance while drought conditions continue to ravage the West.

Hopefully, in the states where Old Man Winter and Mother Nature collaborated and made life miserable for pretty much everyone, spring will be here very soon — he writes with his fingers crossed. It has to show up sometime, right?

Since consumers have been confined indoors all winter, maybe, just maybe, their cabin fever will translate into pent-up demand and we will see a run on garden centers as gardeners want to get outdoors to plant something.

The water situation in California is a different story — and a scary one at that. The state has experienced three straight years with below-normal rainfall and it is really taking its toll on everyone. With the possibility of mandated water conservation, growers and gardeners are going to have a tough time this spring.

It's too bad the northern states aren't able to "share" some of the surplus snow/sleet/ice/rain with those regions that really need it.

California Here We Come

One thing we can definitely count on every spring is our annual California Spring Trials adventure (April 5-10).

Team GPN will make its way out west in a few weeks to check out the new variety introductions, products and marketing programs that growers and retailers can expect to see in the future.

This year's journey will be a little different than in years past as the southernmost leg of the tour has been eliminated and the breeder companies have shuffled some of their locations.

If you are going to Spring Trials and need to find out the who, what and where of the 2014 exhibiting companies, just go to GPN's CaliforniaSpringTrials.com and click on our digital companion to find the info you need to get your trip started.

And when you're in California, keep an eye out for us. We'd love to get your thoughts and opinions on this year's trials.






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