Monday, February 11, 2013
As a plant breeder, I know how thrilling it is to have a new plant make it to market. This picture was taken at a garden center in England and you can see how excited I was. It was the very first time I had seen my plant, Summer Wine® ninebark (Physocarpus), for sale in Europe. I had the same feeling of excitement when someone in my neighborhood planted one in their yard. It is one of the main reasons why we plant breeders breed plants.
Perhaps you are a plant breeder and you are looking for answers on how you can get your plant to market, how to protect your plant and how to make good decisions regarding your new plants. I just got out of a planning meeting to help organize the next Independent Plant Breeders Conference. It's going to be held in West Michigan (most likely Grand Rapids) in September of 2014. Breeders come to network, hone their breeding skills, see old friends and to get answers. In reviewing the feedback on the 2012 conference in Portland, the most requested speaker topics dealt with plant protection (plant patents, trademarks, and breeders rights) and how to get a plant to market. If you are a plant breeder, by all means make plans to attend this excellent conference. We would love to see you there, but if you want answers now I would suggest you check out the "Advice for Plant Breeders" page at the Breedersrights.com website. I just updated the entire site and most specifically tips and advice for new plant breeders as well as commonly asked questions with answers.
If you are a plant breeder, let me know what topics you want covered and what speakers your want to hear at the 2014 IPBC. This is your conference so let me know what you need. In addition, let me know if I need to answer any additional questions at breedersrights.com.
Posted by Tim Wood at 1:47 PM
Thursday, October 11, 2012
When I worked in public garden curation, I used to grow and use a lot of annuals. Much has changed since then. Many annuals are now clonal, that is they are now grown from cuttings instead of from seed. At first glace this seems crazy because seeds are easy and cheap, but these new cutting grown selections grow better and flower longer and harder. Gardeners may pay a bit more up front but these plants are a much better value. You need fewer plants to cover the same amount of ground and the display starts earlier and goes longer. These new plants fill in faster and require less care. In the old days we would plant spring annuals, replace them with summer annuals and then dead-head or replace them with mums to keep the display looking good. Not any more; this new breed of annual has changed all that.
Still there are some plants that will always be grown from seed like the castor bean plant or fragrant tobacco. These plants grow plenty fast as it is.
When it comes to annuals, I'm a fan of big and bold. I am also a fan of fragrance. But above all I am a fan of plants that perform in the garden. Summer is too short here in Michigan to plant wimpy annuals that take 4 months to mature. I want plants that offer quick color and that fill in fast to shade out the weeds. Because I hate weeding.
Here are my top 10 favorites. What are your favorite annuals?
|9. Graceful Grasses® Vertigo® Pennisetum boasts big bold leaves.|
This is a monster plant that gives you color, contrast and texture in
the garden. It also gives you movement. I adore big annuals.
|8. Kale 'Kaleidoscope' a wonderful cool season annual with a ruffled margin.|
The foliage color changes and intensifies as the temperatures drop in autumn.
Ornamental Kales and Cabbages are great in mixed containers.
|7. Nicotiana sylvestris the Fragrant Tobacco is a bold plant with incredible fragrance. |
It is grown from seed but matures quickly. I like to plant it in groups of 5 or more
to give people a real good dose of sweet fragrance as they pass by.
| 6. Ricinus communis 'Carmencita' - Castor Bean plant is big bold plant |
and some cultivars have attractive red leaves like this one.
One plant can reach 5-6' or more in one season.
|5. Supertunia® Raspberry Blast is a super strong grower with incredible flower power. |
Like other Supertunias it is a super grower and a great value. You can get cheaper
petunias but they wont grow and flower like this series of plants.
|4. I love Superbells® Cherry Star Calibrachoa because it is such a cheerful color. |
It boasts a unique blend of bright red with a yellow lines.
|3. Euphorbia Diamond Frost® looks great every day all summer long. A very strong |
grower that gives great garden value. It is great in containers, as seen here,
or in the garden. Just give it plenty of room to grow.
Posted by Tim Wood at 8:56 AM
Monday, October 08, 2012
I am pleased to announce I will be in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday, October 13 to speak at a conference entitled "Superior Plants for Superior Gardens." The conference is sponsored by the Ozark Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society and is a fundraiser to support the development of the Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden.
|Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden|
I'm excited to be speaking along side some heavy hitting plant geeks such as Shane Berry, Len Miller and and Todd Lasseigne. Shane Berry will be talking about new and interesting Redbud (Cercis) cultivars. There has been some real interesting breeding developments with Redbud as you saw in my last post.
Dr. Miller is the past president of the American Rhododendron Society and founder of Lendonwood Gardens and Elk Ridge Garden. He will give insight into which Rhododendrons are tough enough to thrive in Oklahoma. There have been some incredible breeding breakthroughs in breeding for disease resistance and heat tolerance in this genera so I am excited to learn more from Leonard.
Todd Lasseigne, the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden, is the plant geek's plant geek. Todd will fill us in on the development of the Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden and then lead us on a tour of the grounds. Seeing Todd will be a highlight for me and many other plant geeks.
Scheduled Speakers include:
9:00 a.m. “Developing the Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden” - Dr. Todd Lasseigne
9:15 a.m. "Rhododendrons in Oklahoma" - Dr. Leonard Miller
9:45 a.m. "Plant Hunting for Superior Plants" - Tim Wood
10:30 a.m. - Break
10:45 a.m. "Redbud Cultivars" - Shane Berry
- Lunch on your own -
1:30 p.m. Tour at Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden - Dr. Todd Lasseigne
Plant sale: The Ozark Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society will have a limited number of rhododendrons for sale during the conference.
Location: Tulsa Community College - Northeast Campus: 3727 East Apache Street, Tulsa.
Hope to see you there!
Posted by Tim Wood at 12:49 PM
Friday, October 05, 2012
Here is a quick pictorial of some of the new plants that I ran across on my last trip to the Netherlands. We saw some pretty cool plants. What do you like?
|Fairy Dance Abelia a dwarf with lots of flowers|
|Flutterby Pink Buddleia - A new Butterfly Bush|
|Ivory Buzz Buddleia|
|Lo & Behold Lilac Chip Buddleia wins the best plant award|
|Denny Werner's Lo & Behold Ice Chip also won an award|
|Cercis Ruby Falls, a Denny Werner plant, wins a medal|
|Calluna vulgaris (heather) Notre Dame|
|Blue Bunny - Carex laxiculmis 'Hobb' - An American variety from Robert Head|
|Clematis Princess Kate|
|Clematis Fond Memories|
|Cornus kousa 'Summer Gold'|
|Euphorbia amygdaloides 'Frosted Flame'|
|A trio of colorful Hebes|
|Hydrangea a. petiolaris 'Silver Lining'|
|Flair and Flavours Hydrangea is called Tuff Stuff in North America|
|The flower color can be changed to purple-blue with Aluminum Sulfate|
|Tuff Stuff Hydrangea wins a Gold Medal|
|Incrediball Hydrangea and Jane's Hand on a truck|
|Hypericum nodorum Magical Triumph|
|Mr. H.J.M. Kuijf with his new variety Happy Face Pink Paradise Potentilla|
|Happy Face Pink Paradise Potentilla|
Posted by Tim Wood at 8:38 AM
Thursday, September 20, 2012
It's that time of year. The Spring Meadow (wholesale) catalog is hot off the press and in the mail. For those of you not in the nursery business, growers across the U.S. and Canada look to Spring Meadow Nursery for small starter plants (liners) which they grow on to larger sizes.
|A tray or flat of shrub liners. We sell these starter plants to growers|
Spring Meadow also specializes in new and improved shrub varieties. We breed new shrubs and we work with plant breeders from around the world. The very best of these plants are introduced under the Proven Winners brand which can be found at better garden centers.
|Look for the distinctive white container|
For a plant to become a Proven Winner selection, we spend a lot of time testing and trialing to identify the very best plants. From breeder to garden center, it typically takes 8-10 years for a new plant to get to market. It's a long process and very few plants make the cut.
|These are trialing fields where we test and evaluate potential new shrubs|
First and foremost, we look for plants that perform in the garden. It is important to us that gardeners have success with our plants. In addition to garden performance, there are other other qualities we look for in a shrub. We look for plants that provide more seasons of color. You'll notice that many of these shrubs have colorful or attractive foliage, as well as pretty flowers. Others offer more color with extended or repeat blooming. You see, shrubs can be as colorful as perennials. Actually shrubs are perennials, they just happen to have woody stems.
Gardeners want plants that are easy to care for or that require less maintenance. That's why we look for and select dwarf or compact varieties. Compact shrubs require less pruning and care, which in turn makes your life easier. More color with less work is a great combination in a plant!
|This dwarf butterfly bush requires less care than the larger ones|
We've also developed seedless selections of species that might otherwise be invasive. This year we'll introduce three new butterfly bush hybrids that are seedless and noninvasive. We believe that gardening is the best way to be green.
|Lo & Behold Butterfly Bushes are Non-Invasive|
Note: After starting the presentation, you can make it larger by clicking on the bottom right hand corner of the video box.
Monday, September 10, 2012
Traveling to the Czech Republic to look for plants has been on my radar for a number of years. It has a temperate continental climate not all that different from that of the Mid-West United States. In addition they have a long history and appreciation for ornamental gardening. Yet every time I had planned a trip in the past, I had to cancel it. This summer it finally happened, and here is a visual summary of our trip.
Our first stop was Prague, the capital and largest city in the Czech Republic. Prague is a beautiful mid-evil town and as it turns out the home of an old college friend. So after a tour of the famous Charles Bridge we met my friend in the town center for a cold Pils beer.
Beer is another reason to get to the Czech Republic. As many of you well know I appreciate a good brew, so traveling to Bohemia, the home of the Pilsner, is like traveling to Mecca only better.
It took me a bit of time and effort, but I did it. I found the best beer in Bohemia. This unfiltered, unpasteurized Gambrinus was mighty tasty. I highly recommend it to anyone that does not appreciate the high fructose corn syrup beverages so cleverly marketed as beer State-side.
As far as finding new plants, we found a few. The Czech Republic is well known for it's conifer collectors and conifer nurseries and we visited quite a few.
This particular grower was well known for sowing and growing witches broom seed, so just about every plant in his garden was a unique individual.
The Czech Republic is a beautiful and picturesque country and the people are very friendly. After one of our nursery visits our host took us to a scared monastery a top this small mountain. My understanding is that Pilgrims climb the mountain to better appreciate the suffering of Christ. We took a van.
It's also my upstanding that the Czech people are allowed to ferment and distill a certain amount of plum brandy. And while I can attest that it's very strong, I was told it keeps you very healthy. The man that shared this bottle with us told us his mom drank it every day and lived to the ripe old age of 52. (Just kidding) She lived a very happy life to 100.
As I said before everyone was so friendly. Everyone we met shared their plum wine and wished us a long and healthy life.
There also appears to be a strong interest in rock gardening in the Czech Republic. We were fortunate enough to visit several beautiful, hillside rock gardens. One of the nurseries we visited hybridizes and selects new rock garden plants like this beautiful Lewisia seen here.
Believe it or not we drank more than beer and plum brandy in the Czech Republic. One of our hosts made this delicious elder flower lime water. It was wonderfully refreshing.
The food was also delicious. One of my favorites was the garlic soup. Yum!
One thing that caught my eye while traveling was common use of Parthenocissus quinquefolia, our native American Virginia-creeper. It is a real easy way to create a green wall (or a red wall) without any complicated infrastructure.
The invention of the GPS has made our trips so much easier than they were just a few years ago. I highly recommend one that pronounces the street names. Notice the name of the street we're on and note that Dale seems to be veering off the road a bit. He must be passing someone.
As for my trip (and for this blog post), all good things must come to an end. We had a wonderful trip to the Czech Republic. I am sorry (not really) if you were expecting me to write more about plants. But if you had taken the time to read my bio you would have learned that this blog is about plants, people, the places I visit and the food and drink I discover along the way. Thanks for coming along.
Posted by Tim Wood at 1:41 PM