Every year, 59 plant companies open their greenhouse doors to a thirsty throng of plant buyers, retailers, product developers and growers. The ‘Flower Trials’ stretch from the The Netherlands to Germany, and offer the platform to showcase new plants, new marketing concepts and ideas, and to entertain guests and offer a meeting space for plants people.
I have been attending the flower trials for over 10 years now, and always attempt to see as many companies as possible, so that means lots of early starts and late finishes, with tonnes of coffee and stroopwafel in-between!
Here’s my celebration of ‘the best bits’ from 2017 (click on the photo to start each gallery):
17 innovative ways that plants were displayed:
The umbrellas mounted above these Petunia Wave displays at Pan American echo the shapes of the baskets perfectly.
To inspire and interest visitors, Brandkamp moved away traditional Chrysanthemum displays, instead opting for a Japanese section.
To represent worldwide trading of plants, Beekenkamp created the much-talked about airport departures lounge display.
These Hydrangea balls at Agriom were made up of all different bloom types, and were paired up with coloured paper light shades.
There was a GREEN carpet, instead of a RED carpet at the entrance to Westhoff this year!
I loved the way the displays at Moerheim were colour co-ordinated, and the different rooms reminded me of walking into an Ikea store!
The very colourful Petunia ‘Success’ display was backed by a looped video showing customer reactions to ‘Success’ when compared to standard, less vigorous varieties.
To help visitors to visualise how the plants would look in a garden, Danziger created these faux borders!
The bright, funky colours of the new Canna ‘Canova’ were jazzed up by a graffiti background, created by a real graffiti artist!
The displays at Volmary had a rustic feel, with particular attention to the materials and colours used.
The candy cane blooms of Royal van Zanten variety Bellevardia were represented by an ice cream truck!
To emphasise the fragrance of varieties such as new ‘Kaylee’, HilverdaKooij created a display that included perfume gift packaging.
Westhoff did a great job of showing how consumers can use the Colour Pops during almost every season!
The show plants of Kientzler were situated around a beautiful Schloss!
Another display build up to look like a border, allowing visitors to picture the plants as they’d look in a home garden.
Sion matched each category of orchids to a different activity, the fancy being matched with sports- the meaning being that sports were once rare and are now more mainstream, like orchids!
The new cascading Chrysanthemum ‘Skyfall’ was displayed as a living fall, with a fallen tree to the front!
21 exciting new plants that we admired:
Pelargonium ‘Tall, Dark and Handsome’ is a climbing variety with dark foliage.
Calibrachoa ‘Double PinkTastic’ was the winner of the FleuroStar award during the week. Compact and colourful!
Calathea and other foliage plants were a feature, feeding people’s thirst for such plants.
Thunbergia ‘Arizona Rose Sensation’ is one of the strongest pink varieties yet, larger than average blooms too.
Chrysanthemum ‘Green Parakeet’ is a new indoor form, with show-stopping green, shaggy blooms.
Arctotis ‘Pink Sugar’ is an interesting development in this under-used annual.
Celosia ‘Hot Topic’ is a totally unique Cockscomb, with individual heads rather than just one central cone.
Alstroemeria are a big part of the cut flower portfolio nowadays, and this new experimental showed the new spray flowering style, set to become more popular.
Calibrahcoa ‘Blueberry Scone’ is a mini petunia with colour-changing blooms, as they react to temperature changes in the season.
Fuchsia ‘Bella Series’ slots into the all-important european window box market.
Hydrangea ‘Kanmara’ is a giant-flowered garden Hydrangea.
Peony ‘ITOH Series’ are interspecific hybrids, wonderfully displayed during the trials.
Schizathus ‘Atlantis’ is a revival of the much-loved Poor Man’s Orchid, but flowering for longer, thanks to it’s F1 hybrid status.
Phalaenopsis ‘Scention’ has a perfume, which is quite unique for orchids, and is bound to make it a big hit with houseplant lovers!
Calibrachoa trees are set to be the next big thing for outdoor table tops. An exciting development.
Osteospermum ‘Dixie Red’ represents an interesting move to full red Osteospermum.
Antirrhinum ‘Snapshot’ offered a fragrance you could smell before you could even see the plant!
Lily ‘Anoushka’ is part of the Rose Lily selection, and offers a more pleasing fragrance, and is pollen-free.
Calibrachoa ‘Bloomtastic’ is a much more vigorous, and less fussy, variety. Potentially good for ground cover!
Begonia ‘Solenia Apricot’ is a variety for indoors AND outdoors, and has frilly, double blossoms!
Adiantum peruvianum is a slightly different looking fern, a neat addition to the de zonnenbloem range, capitalising on fern interest!
7 different point of sale that we admired:
Confetti Garden trolley delivery
Gerbera ‘Sweet Series’ trolley delivery
Begonia ‘Dreams’ trolley delivery
Gerbera with pot sleeves
Kalanchoe cut flower presentation cases
Petunia ‘Amore Series’ trolley delivery
Fuchsia ‘Bella Series’ delivery
17 trends that we got a feel for:
Green is the new black.
Bidens have jumped fowrard in breeding, new colours, and a honey fragrance!
Now available in more colours than ever before, Osteospermum.
Climbing plants are selling well, as they add height and screening to gardens.
Despite recent controversy, petunias were a big feature of the trials this year.
Every petunia has caught the measles!
Chili Pepper plants of all shapes and sizes, and heats!
The market is responding well to succulent trends.
Orchids continue to be popular, and were better categorised for consumers.
Ferns are a key component on the new houseplant portfolio.
Many Nemesias giving fragrance in almost every colour.
Vintage and modern foliage plants were well represented.
Cut flowers that also double as garden plants.
In cut flower and pot form, these were buzzing!
The Dianthus family was well represented this year!
Dwarf, short-flowering bulbs were on trend too!
Schizanthus was a fantastic 80’s plant undergoing a revival!
7 drinks and snacks that we ate:
A relaxing scene set for coffee at Agriom, and boy we needed the sugar for energy too!
The most perfect German lunch with white asparagus, devoured at Westhoff!
The vegetable area of Takii Europe had an interesting selection of sprouted plants, including the peppery Nasturtium.
This tasty focaccia was provided by the fabulous hospitality at HilverdaKooij!
Not the easiest snack to devour when on the run, but tasty open sandwiches at Gruenewald!
The delicious breakfast biscuits at Sion were adorned with their own orchids!
7 chill out and meeting areas we did business in:
The meeting tables at HllverdaKooij featured smart planting in each centre.
The sun-soaked patio at Dummen Orange was surrounded by some of the key new introductions.
The leafy ferns and foliage of the de Zonnenbloem range gave a nice cool environment in which to chat business!
Neat little old school benches at Westhoff gave an informal area to talk business.
Much of the Benary display was repurposed from pallets, including this casual seating area.
The refreshments area of Beekenkamp had separate areas, each decorated with decal and plants from that area- in this case New York.
The casual tables at Hendriks fuchsia breeders left you in no doubts of their product knowledge area!
11 great things that we took home:
These fun pens were being given away by HilverdaKooij to promote unusual green variety ‘Green Trick’.
I was intrigued by Benary’s shift in marketing the ‘Big’ range as an edible flower. They’ve also produced this guide with recipes.
The flat-lay appearance of the Dummen Orange catalogues has clearly taken inspiration from this current Instagram trend!
The only thing you need to ensure success with Sunpatiens is water, hence Sakata’s branded freebie!
The innovative vegetable company, Prudac, produces fun labels to go with their varieties in store.
You could take a moment with the ‘Calliope’ Pelargonium variety in the photo booth at Syngenta, and take away a polaroid.
The new catalogues from Suntory were glossy and laid out very similarly to new car brochures! An interesting design evolution.
To promote the Celosia ‘Deep Purple, Royal van Zanten were giving away these stylish sunglasses!
Sakata came through with a clever bevy of gifts, which would be used on a day to day basis. Notepad, pen and breath mints!
Selecta One were giving away these tiny plants of flagship variety ‘Pink Kisses’!
This business card holder from Beekenkamp also acts as a mobile phone tilter, which can be stuck to the back of your mobile phone. Nifty!