In the gardening industry there seems to be a never-ending supply of innovation and advances. Working in this industry it’s easy to become immune to the amazing number of new products and ideas developed each year by the multiple companies involved in this industry around the world.
Not of all of these innovations are necessarily good though. A question we here at Tesselaar often ask ourselves ahead of developing or released any plant for the consumer market is “is it new or is it really good”?
A product simply promoted as being “new “ regardless of what it is – from electronics and cars to clothing, whilst always catching our attention because of the fact that it is new, does not necessarily mean or guarantee that a product is “good” or fills a need.
As consumers, many of us are becoming more sensitive or aware of the intention of advertising / promotion and have a clear sense of when we are being marketed to or ‘”sold” a product. This also extends to horticulture industry and our plant purchases.
One of the most common issues that I see with many plants and gardening products recently released is the lack of trials to support the product claims regarding plant performance or other features that supposedly fill a need which is currently not being met.
Most recently in my travels I happened across a growing trend in Europe for manipulating the color of plants with dyes and other chemicals. And whilst I am definitely no arbitrator of fashion – in fact my wife continues to claim that my inability to match a tie to a shirt is definite proof of this – I cannot see the need to add chemicals or adjust colors in nature’s palette. The images of altered plants below were taken at the wholesale section of the Aalsmeer Flower Market in Holland. Note the image where the color has been matched to the container!
There is also a trend / push within the industry to artificially adjust the colors of things like Orchids, which already come in an array of amazing color combinations (see image on left) to achieve luminous colors in greens and blues. Why would we need to improve something as beautiful as this orchid?
No doubt many of you have also heard of the supposed “Holy Grail” of roses – a blue rose which was developed and promoted by a company recently as the first blue rose. In my opinion (and you can judge for yourself with this untouched photo below) this is a big stretch in claiming this is “Blue.” It certainly looks more mauve to my eyes.
Whilst I am not against advances or improvements being sought to continually develop new and interesting innovations, I don’t think the option of artificial adjustment, which cannot be repeated by the consumer in the home, is needed or has a place in the market.
This is true especially when we have a wide array of interesting and unique new products coming to the market from breeders around the world with the aim of constant improvement in performance. This includes plants that have been bred over many years, using the palette provided by nature. As an example of this, just take a look at our latest release: Sweet Spot® Calypso – part of a series of really amazing roses with a dramatic color combination that will catch anyone’s eye.
Anyway, as you know, these are just my thoughts on what we see as we travel the world and see different developments in Horticulture – and I am sure, like various styles or preferences for clothes, that there will be some interest in these artificially colored cacti, dyed orchids, dusted Pointsettia and other dressed products. As for me, I’ll stick with the wonderful array of colors that Mother Nature’s already given us!