Miles of trials: Newest culitvars to be displayed

January 1, 2010 -  By

Each spring since 1965, plant breeders and marketers have put their latest cultivars on display for a week in California. The event has grown steadily, and this year more than 40 companies will give visitors a preview of what will be available in 2010 and beyond. Though originally geared toward growers, the trials now are attended by representatives from many corners of the Green Industry, including landscapers, garden centers and big box retailers.

The dates that were originally set for the 2010 trials were pushed back from March 20-26 to April 10-17 at this year’s OFA Short Course. The later dates will give breeders more time to deliver their best plant materials. Plants will be on display at dozens of open houses along the central and southern coasts of California.

The opportunities for landscapers who attend the California Spring Trials are many. Formerly known as the Pack Trials because the displays focused on greenhouse “packs” of flowers, the trials now include plant performance information for each step of the distribution chain, including landscape installation. The event is the largest flower exhibition in the horticultural industry, so landscapers can get a first-hand look at the new color that will be available to them.

Design ideas will be easy to come by because the open houses have large displays and landscape demonstrations that feature various color and height combinations. Attendees can also learn what goes into breeding cultivars for color, hardiness and disease resistance — and have the opportunity to speak directly with plant breeders.

The state of the art in flower production is a constantly moving target. Each year, new cultivars are released that perform better than the old standbys. Knowing what those new cultivars are and how they perform in your area is a competitive advantage landscapers can use to gain and retain customers.

For the most up-to-date information, and to make appointments with the participating companies, visit the National Garden Bureau’s Spring Pack Trial page at www.ngb.org/spring_trials.

LM Staff

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