Get Ready for Shrub Madness

To say I am competitive is a bit of an understatement, after all, I am the guy that nearly came to blows with my sister-in-law during a game of Monopoly. So when my Spring Meadow Nursery cohorts Shannon, Jane and Stacey told me about Shrub Madness, I was all in. 

Shrub Madness is akin to the March Madness associated with the NCAA basketball tournament, but instead of 64 basketball teams fighting to reach the Final Four, Shrub Madness pits 64 flowering shrubs against each other to reach the Floral Four. Just like March Madness you can fill out a bracket sheet and start a friendly competition in your office, garden club, garden center or with your Facebook or twitter friends. 

Click on this image to get a full sized bracket

Spanning March 3 to April 4, the basketball tournament-style bracket will move through six rounds of competition at Proven Winners Flowering Shrub Facebook page, using popular vote to determine the winner of each match. Those voting will have the opportunity to score one of five grand prizes: a collection of the last four plants standing, known as the Floral Four. Dozens of additional prizes will be awarded throughout the playoffs. 

Competing plants and their tournament seed status were determined by the Plant Selection Committee, a panel of horticultural experts with several pounds of dirt embedded under their fingernails. A mix between heavy hitters like Little Lime™ hydrangea (first seed) and underdogs like Summer Shandy™ hop (14th seed) will make for a balanced competition.

“We feel that the power conferences like hydrangeas and roses are well-represented,” said Jane Beggs-Joles, head of the selection committee.  “But there is plenty of room for upsets from the mid-major genera, and definitely the potential for a Cinderella to make a run deep into the tournament.”

Stacey Hirvela, Proven Winners ColorChoice Social Media Specialist, has insight to Facebook fan behavior and agrees that the popular vote could offer surprising results. “With over 32,000 fans weighing in on the competition, this is anyone’s game,” Hirvela said. “Time and again, our fan base has proven their love for hydrangeas, but they’re a hungry bunch. They’re a smart bunch, and they know a good plant when they see one. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if a truly garden worthy, but less-than-showy plant makes it to the latter rounds. With prizes like these at stake, all I can say for sure is the action will be non-stop, the opinions will be heated, and the championship will be well-earned.”

The first round will set the pace for the tournament, eliminating 32 shrubs in a flurry of activity. The remaining plants will compete in the second round from March 13 – 18 and then the third round from March 19 – 20. The fourth round, March 21 – 26, will determine the Floral Four, which will continue on to compete from March 27 – 30 in the fifth round. The sixth and final round to crown the champion will take place from March 31 – April 4.

So don't delay, start your bracket today. Organize an office pool, but please make it a friendly competition. There's no excuse for taking it out on your sister-in-law.