January 17, 2008
Written by
The California Pack Trials (or as columnist Melhem Sawaya refers to them, the California Breeders Showcase) has become a focal point for the North American industry each April.

There are slightly more than 30 sites located the length of the state, all showcasing the latest varieties and marketing programs.

Touring the Trials requires quite a bit of travel and time. The locations stretch from near San Diego in the south, to just outside of San Francisco. (One of the participants this year visited just about every site, including a few return visits, and racked up about 3,000 kilometres.)

But what if you could view varieties from just about every industry breeder within two days, and with just a few hundred kilometres of driving, tops, not to mention with Tim Hortons drive-throughs, to boot?

This is where the Canadian Ornamental Plant Foundation comes in. This year it’s hosting the first annual breeder and propagator trials in the heart of Ontario’s floriculture industry. The Niagara/Toronto region is home to dozens of propagators. Just about every breeder is represented. The event will debut next month (Aug. 9-10) at about a dozen or so sites, according to COPF board member Laurie Scullin.

What the Toronto/Niagara showcase has going for it over and above the California event is better timing. Having the event in mid-August, when things are a little more relaxed for growers, is a big plus. Driving distances will be minimal. And growers will be able to see both greenhouse and garden displays within the same visit.

COPF is welcoming the opportunity to better connect growers and breeders.

Greenhouse Canada is involved in the project, helping to publicize the event on this side of the border.

Updated information on the project will be posted to our website ( over the next few weeks.

Also new in the industry this summer, actually this issue, is the newly redesigned Greenhouse Canada.

You’ll notice many new changes in the look and format, all designed to make it easier for you to pore through the information we’ve gathered each month to help you grow your business. Like the industry we serve, we have to improve our service to maintain our relevance as a key resource.

In addition to our new look, we’ve also welcomed a new general interest columnist. Gary Jones heads the production horticulture program at Kwantlen University, and also serves on several industry committees. See Gary’s debut Inside View commentary on page 44.

We’re continuing our evolution into a one-stop shopping source for all your industry information needs, thanks to more tie-ins with our already-quite-popular website. We even post web-exclusive features each month, in addition to regular news updates.

Checking out “what’s new” has gotten a lot easier for growers, both with the COPF breeders showcase, and with your new and improved Greenhouse Canada. n

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