Category Archives: Ornamentals

CAST (California Spring Trials) Day 7 (4/14/16)

The last day of the CA Spring Trials is here and we will be visiting Benary and Pacific Plug & Liners in Watsonville, CA. After driving approximately 1000 miles from San Diego to San Jose we will have visited many plant breeding companies and seen many new promising plants. Let’s see what caught my attention today. Success Trailing Petunias is a new spreading series from Benary. The series has a strong color range and uniform plant habit. BIG Begonia from Benary is a vigorous well-branched landscape begonia. Funky… Read More →

CAST (California Spring Trials) Day 6 (4/13/16)

Hey there, it is day 6 and we are in Gilroy, CA visiting Danziger, Syngenta Flowers and Proven Winners. Those of us that started in southern CA are all converging on the north as the trials end soon. Let’s take a look at what caught my eye today. Craspedia Golf Beauty is unique plant from Danziger. This plant has a unique yellow, globe-like flower and fine grass-like foliage. This plant will work well as a thriller-plant in containers. Amore Series Petunia from Danziger has a cascading habit with… Read More →

CAST (California Spring Trials) Day 5 (4/12/16)

Day 5 brings us to Salinas, CA to visit the Sakata, Takii and Speedling facilities. Each day brings more and more interesting plants. Let’s take a look at what they had to offer. SuperCal Petunia is a calibrachoa x petunia hybrid from Sakata. The series has an excellent color range and flower size. Red Robin Tomato from Sakata will be a great choice for container production. The compact habit and dense branching will provide plenty of tomatoes throughout the season. Salvia Summer Jewell Series (Salvia coccinea) from Takii… Read More →

CAST (California Spring Trials) Day 4 (4/11/16)

It is day 4 and we are at the half way point of the 2016 spring trials. The weather has been much nicer since we’ve reached the central coast and the plant introductions just keep getting better and better. Today we visited the second site for Dummen Orange in Paso Robles, CA and Floricultura which is hosting Westhoff, Plug Connection, Beekenkamp and Pac-Eisner. Here are the highlights of today’s visits. Coreopsis Red Elf is a new dwarf perennial from Dummen Orange. Red Elf has dark scarlet flowers presented… Read More →

CAST (California Spring Trials) Day 3 (4/10/16)

It is day three and we have a few stops along the central coast. Today we visited Windmill Nursery who hosted 9 companies in Buellton, CA and Dummen Orange in Edna Valley, CA. The visits are starting to increase the number of “WOW” plants should also increase. Let’s see what Sunday had to offer. Agastache Kudos Series from Terra Nova has a compact habit along with an awesome color range. Agastache is a great perennial for summer flowers. Calibrachoa Chameleon Blueberry Scone from Dummen Orange is an interesting introduction… Read More →

CAST (California Spring Trials) Day 2 (4/9/16)

It’s day two, here are some plants of interest. Stop 1 – GroLink Plant Company – Oxnard, CA. GroLink was the host to 13 companies, and there was plenty to see. Sun Parasol Apricot is the newest addition to the Sun Parasol Mandevilla series from Suntory Flowers. The growth habit is similar to the other colors in the series, but the apricot flower color is a first to the market. Patio Gerbera Volcanoes is ideal for your favorite planter on your deck or patio. Available from Florist Holland, the Volcanoes variety… Read More →

CAST (California Spring Trials) Day 1 (4/8/16)

Hello there! I’m traveling the next 7 days in CA visiting seed companies and breeders with colleagues from Texas A&M and Texas Tech for the annual Spring Trials. The Spring Trials allow the green industry to see the latest in new bedding plants, perennials and even some woody shrubs. I will be providing a daily update with highlights from my visits. Oh, and by the way who said “It never rains in Southern California”, that’s all it has been doing here since I arrived on Thursday. EuroAmerican –… Read More →

Live Oaks Dropping Leaves

We have received quite a few questions this spring about live oaks dropping their leaves. Sometimes the leaf drop is so severe that a tree appears almost leafless. While live oaks are sometimes considered an evergreen plant they do naturally shed their leaves in the spring in preparation for the onset of new growth. So leaf drop in the spring is usually due to natural causes and is not generally a cause for concern. Trees often vary in the amount or degree of defoliation they exhibit. Some live… Read More →


We had another great year for plant trials in 2015. Our rainy spring delayed our trial installation since we were a bit on the wet-side. The trials were planted in early June, and evaluated for flower production, leaf color, uniformity of habit and flower, resistance to insects and diseases and overall appearance. Hot Pak™ French Marigold – This new seed series of French marigolds look great not only in packs but also in the landscape. Our trays of 3” pots were uniform across all colors (no PGR applications… Read More →

Landscape Pest & Disease Workshop

If you work in the green industry and deal with pests and diseases in the landscape, or work at a garden center and answer questions from customers on plant diseases and pests; then don’t miss out on the Landscape Pest & Disease Workshop on January 29, 2016. We have an excellent group of presenters that will cover the following  program topics. Pollinator Protection Pesticide Laws & Regulations Landscape Disease Management Landscape Ornamental Pests (Common Culprits & New Invasives) Turfgrass Disease Diagnosis & Management Continuing Education Credits available  TDA Pesticide… Read More →