Phillip Townshend here – have been travelling for several weeks now and life has been extremely hectic, so I haven’t been able to provide a quick update until now on the highlights seen at the various shows/visits with Tesselaar’s business partners.
First up in recent travels was a visit to the Independent Garden Center Show (run by IGC Retailer magazine), which took me to the Navy Pier in Chicago.
A highlight for me were the plantings on the Magnificent Mile (Chicago always does a great job in their public plantings) as well as seeing Bonfire® begonias used in mixed container plantings at the front of a hotel I passed whilst on my morning run.
The purpose for attending the IGC show was to meet up with some of our U.S. grower partners (the people who actually grow the plants we bring to market) and get our planning agreed for the upcoming season. It is always interesting in horticulture, working on the long lead times required to make plants available, and we can often be setting items in place so that we have plants ready for retail up to three years ahead of them arriving on the shelves of the various retail outlets that carry our programs.
After IGC, it was then off to meet with the breeder of the Flower Carpet® series of roses (Mr. Reinhard Noack of Noack Rosen in Germany), who has one of the nicest display gardens I have been to. Reinhard not only incorporates his own plants in the garden but has a fine eye for garden design and has some great complementary plantings that show how versatile Flower Carpet is and how it can be used in various settings. If you get a chance when traveling, and the season is right, be sure to include a visit to the Noack Rosen trial garden on your itinerary.
After this, it was off to the Plantarium trade show in Holland, for their annual horticultural event.
This trade show continues to get bigger every year, and is well worth attending both from a trade and consumer perspective – the show opens on the last day for consumers and there are some great plant bargains to be had as exhibitors like ourselves try to minimize the amount of material we have to pack up by selling/giving away items.
This year, our focus for the Tesselaar stand was the preview of the new Bonfire selections (to be released to consumers next year in spring 2011): Bonfire Choc Pink and Choc Red. Our grower partners excelled themselves with the display plants they supplied for the show and, with some great imagery from our photographer and nice display plants, we picked up third place in the Press Award for new products (for Choc Pink)!
This is a fabulous plant, slated for release in early 2011, and has the same great growth characteristics as the original Bonfire but with a completely different look – blush pink flowers against dark chocolate/plum foliage.
Despite the banners themselves having a model of quality, that is me included in the picture of the stand looking a little less model-like, but still resplendent amongst the begonias and quite happy with how our stand looked for the show.
Finally, after a successful trip across multiple time zones, I returned home to wintry Melbourne, Australia just in time for the football finals – which hopefully, my team will win again … Go Cats.
And whilst the weather might be cold, it is the perfect time of year to see why we love working with the Jury magnolias (bred by magnolia industry icon Mr. Mark Jury). Check out the blooms on the Black Tulip®, the size of the bloom of Felix Jury® and the flowering machine that is the recently released Fairy Magnolias®.
Well, that’s all for now. More travel reports to come on Tesselaar’s time-tested (and new-for-2011) plants!