From the Road — Day 4 at CAST’21
And just like that, the 2021 California Summer Trials have come to an end. It’s been four busy and invigorating days. To see what the breeders have been working on leading up to the event has been a pleasure, and we are so grateful they chose to put the event on after last year’s hiatus.
Our final tour took place at Green Fuse Botanicals in Santa Paula, who also hosted Hem Genetics, Beekenkamp, Schoneveld Breeding and Westhoff.
Green Fuse Botanicals’ First Light Perennials are always impressive, full of color, and their main selling point — they’re all first-year flowering. From coreopsis to dianthus to scabiosa (oh, and we can’t forget Game Changer hydrangea with flowers the size of my head!), there is something for every perennial program. Another huge focus was on the ever-expanding collection of rex begonia. With the popularity of indoor foliage crops growing, these are such a great option for consumers.
Hem Genetics has always had a huge focus on labor-saving crops that are naturally compact and require little or no growth regulation. They have added to their Limbo and Mambo petunia lines, offering growers more options in these low-growing collections.
Schoneveld Breeding has been working for years on cyclamen selections that can withstand hot and humid conditions. And the new Leopardo and Elegante series exhibit total weather tolerance.
Beekenkamp showcased their breathtaking begonias, dahlias, kalanchoe and celosia. We especially enjoyed learning about Bella fuchsia, which flowers 10 days earlier than other varieties.
Westhoff is, of course, known for its novel Crazytunias. And they continue to add new colors each year. With so many varieties in the collection, Bart Hayes says he gets asked constantly which varieties are the “favorites.” So visitors were asked to snap a photo of their favorite Crazytunia and post it to social media with the hashtag #myfavoritecrazytunia. What a fun idea!
I have so much more to share with you, but I’ll have to save it for the pages of GPN. Be on the lookout for the August and September issues, which will have in-depth reports on everything we’ve seen this week in California.
Until then, here’s one last teaser.
Celosia ‘Arrabona Red’
While this was technically a new introduction last year, it was such a highlight at CAST. It boasts a multicolor look on its yellow-to-red blooms. Stems are solid, and plants can be grown pot to pot and shipped easily. More colors are in the works.
Centaurea ‘FanciFillers Chrome Fountain’
FanciFillers is a collection of foliage varieties that add novel textures to mixed combinations or make a thrilling statement on their own. The newest FanciFiller is ‘Chrome Fountain’, which features silvery-white foliage on a dramatic vase-shaped fountain.
Hot+ is the next generation of heat-loving lobelia. It has many of the same attributes of the original Hot series — weather tolerance, strong branching, season-long flowering — but it plays much better with others in mixes with large flowers and uniform plant habits.
Elegante is the result of years of breeding work in hot and humid climates. This extreme weather tolerance is their claim to fame. Growers can easily grow and sell these cyclamen as a fall crop, with no heat delay. The series currently has six colors available.
Celosia Kelos Lunar
Kelos Lunar is a new series of cristata type celosia. Plants are daylength neutral, have a long shelf life and flower all summer long. They are versatile in use and suitable for any region.
Green Fuse Botanicals
This daylength neutral grandiflora type has 2- to 3-inch flowers. And a large percentage of the flowers in this series remain open even at night, so consumers can see the colors when purchasing in morning or evening hours. Five colors are available.
Petunia ‘Blanket Silver Surprise’
Green Fuse Botanicals
Silver Surprise is a super novel addition to the Blanket series of milliflora type petunias. One plant will exhibit flowers of white, silver, lavender, purple and pink — even half and half on the same flower. This is a combination of color from just one cutting! The entire series has incredible landscape power and heat tolerance.
Dianthus ‘Constant Beauty Crush Wine’
Green Fuse Botanicals
Green Fuse Botanicals continues to expand its line of daylength neutral, Zone 4 hardy dianthus. Like all Constant Beauty dianthus, this variety excels in the landscape, and we love this new bicolor of white and deep wine red. It can be programmed to finish any time of year without the need for vernalization.