Friday, May 23, 2008

Beautiful Begonias for 2009

Lois Burke

Begonias are great mixers for the modern mixed container. Bold textures, exotic flowers and easy care make these true Hort Couture Plants. Look for this category to grow in the years to come. Great for “Shady Lady” combination planters.

Soli Mutata




There are many new Beautiful Begonias that we will be offering for 2009. Begonias are great for pots or baskets that get partial or indirect sun. Covered porches, kitchen tables and shady beds are ideal for these gorgeous selections. Begonias offer great bold texture, unique leaf coloring and, in the case of 'Bonfire', incredible flowers. 'Bonfire' has been a huge success in its second year in the north American market. Developed by Anthony Tesselaar in Australia, there is no finer plant for hot summer color in baskets or planters. Unique! Other varieties such as 'Marmaduke' and 'Escargot' offer incredible foliage and texture. Check out the pics here for more.

Most of our recommendations on Begonias have come from Chris Baker of Bakers Acres Greenhouses in Ohio. Look for more interesting new Begonias in the years to come!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A visit from Sompob and Barry

We had a great visit this week from Barry Yinger of Asiatica and his partner in his Thailand Nursery, Sompob. We spent much time discussing new Caladiums for our Taste of Thailand Caladium Program and other new plants. We ordered Sompob foods like Ribs, BBQ, Chicken Wings, Fried Trout and other local favorites. He was very willing and I think enjoyed his visit very much. Barry is one of the world's leading plantmen. He is responsible for many well know plants in the nursery trade. He was the director of new plants for Hines Horticulture for many years and worked for The National Arboretum and Brookside Gardens in a similar capacity. His knowledge is incredible and I really enjoy spending time listening to his travel stories and realizing his passion for finding new plants. He is a treasure. The world of Horticulture in the United States would not be the same without Barry Yinger.

We visited our Talcott growing facilities (a mess with shipping season in full swing!) and the Beckley garden center. Lot's of fun!

Pack Trials 2008

Our trip to the California Pack Trials was very successful. Jonathan Cottle, Director of Sales and Marketing, and I spent six days visiting with great companies. We want to thank everyone for the time they gave us and the outpouring of support for Hort Couture that we saw at every stop.

Day One was spent in the Santa Barbara area with most of the day spent with Geoff Needham at Plant Haven. We saw lots of cool new things and had a chance to really spend some good time getting to know Plant Haven better and sharing lots of ideas. They are the finest licensing company in the business. Trustworthy and impassioned with horticulture, we were very impressed with the entire experience. They were set up at Island View Nursery that is a very cool California Garden Center. After a quick stop at Suntory on the way home, we were very tired and jet lagged but excited for the opportunities that we saw.

The second day we spent the morning with Tim Wada at Plug Connection. It is a nice facility and Tim was very generous with his time. There were lots of interesting trials, great new plants and ideas at thier site. We hope to do many exciting projects with Plug Connection in the future!
After a quick stop at a specialty breeder we are working with and visiting SD Growers (a member of our Grower Network), we spent the early afternoon at Altman Plants. Deena Altman is a very cool lady that spent a lot of time with us and was very gracious. We toured several locations and were impressed by the quality of the product and how they do business. Smaller growers could learn much from larger mass merchant driven growers like Altman. Altman Plants is the largest succulent nursery in the world and the #10 Grower in the US.
We then went to Selecta First Class for a tour and spent time with Nils Klemm, the president of Selecta from Germany. He was very nice and we look forward to working with them for many years to come. We met Steve Zylstra there and had a great dinner on the ocean that night!
We also visited Euro American Propagators, Ecke Ranch and Rancho Tissue while in California.