Scenes from the Trials - Days 1 & 2

April 8, 2013 - 12:03

It's been only two days, and we've already seen so much at this year's California Spring Trials. Our first stop was Plug Connection in Vista, which also played host to several breeding companies.

The first new introduction to grab our attention was Suntory's new 'Surfinia Heavenly Blue' petunia, a follow up to Sky Blue. It is more compact and has concentrated flowers on top.

Next we toured the new varieties at EuroAmerican Propagators. Everyone was buzzing about the new gomphrena, 'Pink Zazzle'. This very unique low-water-use plant has bright color and long-lasting flowers.

Westflowers continues to expand its popular Crazytunia line of funky petunias. This year they've added 'Terracotta' to the mix. We love the cream-to-red coloration on this flower.

On day two, we started out in beautiful Santa Barbara where Skagit Gardens displayed its perennial lineup. Among their new varieties was a beautiful new grass, festuca 'Beyond Blue'. It keeps its color and it falls quite gracefully.

Next we toured the new gerbera selections at Florist Holland's exhibit in Oxnard. One variety that really stood out, mostly because of its large size was the new patio gerbera 'Grand Canyon'. I know you can't tell in the picture, but that flower was probably the size of a softball!

I always look forward to seeing Plant Haven's colocasia selections. This year they added 'Morning Dew' to the mix. The leaves on this plant have a unique light to dark green coloration, but what really stands out about this variety is the stem. Check it out.

Hort Couture continues to add fun, unique varieties to its lineup. My favorite this year was acalypha 'Jungle Cloak'. The leaves seriously look like they were painted with reds, greens and bronzes. This variety will look great in containers, both on its own or in mixes.

Our last stop of day two was at the Fides location in Santa Paula. We first toured the Green Fuse selections. We were really impressed with the new echeveria Coral Reef series. They have beautiful wavy foliage and will perform great in patio containers.

Fides is adding new dark-leafed varieties to its Dahlinova collection of dahlias. The new subseries, Temptation, has four new colors. Here is 'Dahlinova Temptation Golden'.

The new interspecific geraniums by Oglevee was definitely a standout. Their leaf size stays nice and compact, and the flowers create a nice shape in a basket. Here is one of my favorites, 'Groove'.

Aside from the new varieties, the biggest buzz at Fides was about the new merger with Dümmen. I'm still trying to get all the details straight, but what I do know is that Dümmen is kind of an umbrella now for the Red Fox, Ecke, Oglevee, Fides and Oro brands.

Stay tuned for more scenes from the Spring Trials. And to see some of the photos we've taken so far, be sure to go to We'll be updating our gallery every day.

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