Apr 15, 2018
Day 1 at the California Spring Trials By Jasmina Dolce

After much anticipation, the wait is finally over and the 2018 California Spring Trials has officially begun!

Team GPN started the journey at Speedling’s Breeders Boulevard in San Juan Bautista. There, we got to catch up with the folks at Hem Genetics, Thompson & Morgan, Lambert, Vista Farms and Plant Source International. We loved all the new mixes and combos that Hem Genetics was testing out. We even took a stab at naming a few!

Next, we headed to Watsonville and visited Cohen, Jaldety, Hishtil and Spring Trials newcomer Nir Nurseries. Nir was a nice addition to the group and showcased their awesome wax flowers.

We continued at Pacific Plug & Liner, where the theme this year was “Welcome to the Jungle.” They did an amazing job of incorporating rock music into their displays and really making the varieties stand out. This year’s comparison trial is focusing on lavender and dianthus. The varieties looked great, and we look forward to seeing how they perform over the coming weeks.

Our final stop of the day was Benary, which is celebrating its 175th anniversary! To commemorate the occasion, they took us down memory lane and gave us highlights of what Benary has accomplished over the years. We enjoyed hearing the story of Fritz Benary. After World War II, the family lost everything — including its business. So Fritz hopped on his bike and began collecting seeds across Germany to restart the business. He is now known as Benary’s “Super Hero.”

We saw so much our first day, but here are a few of the new variety highlights. Stay tuned for more!

Viola ‘White Violet Wing’
Hem Genetics

A new addition to the uniform Corina line is ‘White Violet Wing.’ It is perfect for spring and fall production in packs and pots. Corina flowers all season long and has a non-stretching, well-branched habit.

Helianthus ‘SunBelievable Brown Eyed Girl’
Thompson & Morgan

This vegetative sunflower is easy to grow and can be used in beds and containers. It flowers up to six months and reaches 3 feet across and 2 feet tall. SunBelievable is licensed to Monrovia in the U.S.

Calibrachoa Tree

This new collection of grafted calibrachoas feature an eye-catching mound over a high stem. Four colors are currently available (‘Caloha Classic Real Red’ is pictured). This decorative tree is durable and produces long-lasting flowers.

Lavender ‘Ghostly Princess’
Pacific Plug & Liner

‘Ghostly Princess’ is a Spanish lavender that showcases incredibly striking silver foliage and large pale pink flower heads. It’s perfect for patio containers and mass plantings in the landscape.

Hydrangea ‘Summer Crush’
Bailey Nurseries

New to the Endless Summer collection, ‘Summer Crush’ produces rich raspberry red flowers that can also be a vibrant blue-purple in acidic conditions. It is a compact variety, reaching 18 to 36 inches at maturity.

Marigold ‘Super Hero Spry’

Super Hero is a brand new series of uniform, large-flowered French marigold. The series is early, finishing about one week earlier than comparable varieties. ‘Super Hero Spry’ boasts intense red flowers with a deep yellow center, and is an All-America Selections national winner.

Tomorrow, we head to Gilroy and Salinas. So be on the lookout for additional reports from the road.

If you’re not following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, grab your phones and find us now! We’ve been posting tons of photos and videos from each stop.

— Jasmina

Jasmina Dolce

Jasmina Dolce is managing editor of GPN magazine. She can be reached at [email protected]

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