Scenes from Spring Trials - Days 3 & 4

March 28, 2012 - 10:50

Today, Team GPN is embarking on the final leg of our California Spring Trials coastal journey. But I wanted to share with you some of the new varieties and programs I've seen over the past couple of days, from Oxnard to San Luis Obispo.

Our first stop on Monday morning was Athena Brazil, which was exhibiting at the GroLink location in Oxnard. One of the company's newest programs is its Terravida Collection, which is a collection of unique tropical vines. Perfect for 1- and 2-gallon containers, Terravida varieties are ideal for Zones 8 through 11.

Next we met with the folks at Plant Haven. They had quite a few new and unique introductions, but a new series they added to their program is the Penhow Diascia Little series. They have a great color offering now, but we're told even more colors are in the works. Can't wait!

Last year, we were introduced to the streptocarpus Ladyslippers series by Green Fuse Botanicals. The company is adding even more colors to the line, but I was most impressed with this experimental pink and cream variety. I hope it makes the cut!

GroLink always has an impressive mum display with tons of new introductions, making it so hard to pick a favorite. So here's a whole wall full of them! This striking display was divided to showcase the different mum programs.

Next we trekked to Santa Paula to check out all the new happenings at Ball. One of their biggest introductions this year is the Cool Wave pansy series. This series is unique in that it has an impressive spreading habit offering a blanket of color, and it will even come back in the spring when planted the previous fall!

Last year, Fides Oro had a soft launch of its Mystic Mums program, but this year it's in full effect. And the company has a full catalog to offer growers. My favorite new introduction was definitely Eventide Coral. This interesting bicolor variety boasts a deep coral center with light pink outer petals.

Day 4 began in Santa Barbara where we checked out the new Skagit Gardens trial location at Hiddens Oaks Clubhouse. This year's new introduction is the primula Belarina series. Here's 'Belarina Yellow Ruffles'.

Floranova in Lompoc was next on the map. They always have wonderful Vegetalis displays, making me crave veggies. So I had to give their new Bellina sweet pepper a try. This mini pepper was delicious...perfect for a snack!

I look forward to seeing the great rose merchadising displays at Greenheart Farms each year. This year, the company is focusing on promoting roses for all seasons and holidays, not just the traditional ones. Their big introduction this year was the new Popcorn Drift rose, which features creamy blooms, attractive foliage and a compact habit.

Our final stop on Monday was in San Luis Obispo where we got to see all the new introductions by Dümmen. They have an awesome new geranium series, Great Balls of Fire. These true ivy geraniums have big double flowers with strong foliage. Here is one of my favorites, 'Great Balls of Fire Blue'.

We've got two more days to go, so be sure to be on the lookout Friday for my final recap! You can also check out more photos from the California Spring Trials on our Flickr page.

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