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The Art of Plants at the Spring Trials

by Rebecca Sweet

Last week I spent a few days with Jeanette Sinclair (of Woodside Images) in Southern California’s charming little town of Santa Paula, visiting Ball Horticulture’s Spring Trials to see what new treasures they had to offer the plant world.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Spring Trials, Jeanette compares it to New York’s Fashion Week.  And if that doesn’t clarify things, then maybe their website’s description will help:

During the course of a week, the world’s prominent plant breeders, propagation specialists, growers, marketing professionals and plant enthusiasts present, share and discuss the floriculture industry’s bounty at several open houses throughout California. This multi-day series of invitation-only events showcases the building blocks of the world’s greatest gardens and landscapes and the industry it spawns.

Since this was my first time at Spring Trials I really had no idea what to expect, but I assumed I’d be slogging through muddy rows of plant after plant after plant – an uncomfortable combination of crowded Garden Shows mixed with recently-rained-on nurseries.

I couldn’t have been more wrong!  And I couldn’t have been happier that I was so wrong!

I can’t speak for all of the trials, but Ball Horticulture’s open house was nothing short of a visually stunning, artful, and well-organized event.  In fact, it was the pairing of artwork with specific plant selections that really caught our eye (specifically Jeanette’s, as she’s the one who took these amazing photographs) and turned this event into what it was:  an event showcasing the Art of Plants.

Come and see for yourself….

All of the artwork had something to do with the plants with which it was paired, whether it was color, mood or tongue-in-cheek humor.  This was one of my favorites – a Las Vegas sign showcasing a new line of double osteospermums that, unlike traditional osteos, never close.  Yes, the flowers of this new selection stay open 24/7 just like….well, you get it now, right?

Stay tuned for more about the plants that really caught my attention, the first of which will appear in the debut of Horticulture Magazine’s brand new online magazine Gardeners on the Go, appearing in just 2 days!


Kathy Linton April 2, 2012 at 2:02 pm

I’m so excited for you Rebecca! Ball Horticulture as well as other breeders, participated in the trials at the University of Florida at one time! It was such an incredible experience seeing the new introductions and going through the greenhouses, etc…one that we horties will never forget! I’m so glad that your expectations were exceeded!

Rebecca Sweet April 3, 2012 at 8:28 am

Thanks Kathy – you summed it up best. It’s a day that we horties will never forget!

Katie E-P April 2, 2012 at 9:45 am

This is so cool! Thank you for sharing the pics. I haven’t ever really paid much attention to spring trials, so I never exactly knew what was going on there (other than looking at the new plants). And, you’re right: I always picture walking through muddy rows of plants! LOL!

Rebecca Sweet April 2, 2012 at 10:01 am

I never had a clue either, Katie. Going there completely ‘blind’ was actually part of the fun because I was so, so pleasantly surprised. Plus, we were taken on private tours all day and had the BEST catered breakfast and lunch, too! It exceeded all of my muddy expectations!

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