Scenes from the Trials - Days 5 & 6

April 12, 2013 - 10:16

Our trek up the California Coast has finally come to an end. We've seen so many new introductions and learned about new programs; I can't wait to share it all with you in the June and July issues of GPN. But in the meantime, I'd like to show you some of the new varieties that grabbed our attention at our final trial stops.

Day five began at Golden State Bulb Growers, where we got to see a ton of gorgeous calla lilies presented in a variety of ways from mini pots to large mixed containers. A lovely new introduction this year is 'Pink Sorbet'. I love the subtle pink edge on the flower and the spotted leaf.

Next we visited the Speedling location. While touring the Greenex exhibit, we were introduced to the company's line of sansevieria. What a unique and versatile plant! It roots quickly and is extremely easy to grow.

Petunias continue to be a main focus for Hem Genetics, and they have a wonderful collection of naturally compact petunias that require no PGRs. The new Limbo GP series was developed to please both growers and consumers. For the grower it is easy to ship, and for the consumer it has a very large spread (hence, the GP, which stands for "garden performance").

Our next stop was Syngenta Flowers in Gilroy. On the seed side, the company has expanded its offering of WonderFall trailing pansies. This series boasts large flowers and vigorous plants that will fill containers quickly. Here is a new introduction this year, 'WonderFall Blue with Blotch'.

On the vegetative side, Syngenta is now offering a new pentas series. Starcluster was bred to perform through hot, summer conditions. The large flower clusters are supported by strong stems and will show well at retail.

Our last stop on day five was down the road at Head Start Nursery, where we got to tour all the new Danziger introductions. I was impressed with all the unique and striking colors on display, but my favorite was 'Cascadias Indian Summer'. The blooms start yellow and mature to peach and tangerine, and the plant gives a stunning display in hanging baskets.

Day six began at the new Proven Winners trial location in Santa Cruz. The company continues to add unique colors to its Superbells line of calibrachoa. This year, they have introduced 'Superbells Pomegranate Punch'. It has a bright-red flower with a black eye.

Next we finally got to check out Benary's new facility in Watsonville. Because the company has invested much of its efforts into this new North American location, there were few new breeding introductions this year. But the company did add two new colors to its Nonstop series of begonias. Here is 'Nonstop Mocca Cherry'.

Our final stop was Pacific Plug & Liner. Although it's not a new introduction, I loved seeing the 'Long Foot' basil tree on display. This plant is a great garden center item and will definitely generate impulse buys. I love the idea of using a fork to display the tag.

In Cohen's display, I really liked the new fuchsia 'Eruption'. It's an old-style fuchsia that I haven't seen in a while. The long, unique flowers really grab your attention.

Well, that brings our Spring Trials journey to an end. But be sure to be on the lookout for future e-newsletters and issues of GPN where I'll be sharing even more new varieties from the 2013 California Spring Trials. Also, you can check out our photo gallery on

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