Day Four…and a 40th anniversary

April 05, 2017
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April 4, 2017, Salinas, CA – Day Four was centred in the Salinas region. Due to some GPS miscues on my part, and one by the system, I definitely got to see a little more of the region than I had planned.

When travelling within the Spring Trials, you’ll find your GPS system is your best friend. When you’re from out of state, and not at all sure of where you’re going, it’s best to let GPS lead the way. And it’s usually spot on. But today “she” sent me into a dead-end, which suggests to me the system has either very old maps or the programmer had a sense of humour.

Breeders celebrate each California Spring Trial by showcasing their newest releases and meeting with growers and retailers.
And for Sakata Seed America, this year is cause for even greater celebration – the company’s 40th anniversary. It’s a subsidiary of Sakata Seed Corporation, which itself marked a centennial of industry service just a few years ago. The Sakata name is deeply rooted in the horticulture industry worldwide.
Sakata Seed America is certainly not sitting back on its laurels, as it is releasing many new varieties – and a few new series – this year.

The new series include:
  • Two new F1 Brassica oleracea programs – Condor (pure white) and Yokohama (red, white and a mix).
  • Candy Tops is a new dwarf snapdragon series. The flowers are fragrant, plentiful and the plant is almost always in colour.
  • Mime is a new Matthiola incana series with uniform flowering, ideal for bench-run sales. The strong stems are great in shipping and at retail.
PHOTO ONE: Sakata is also big in garden vegetables and home to the Little Birdy tomato combo program. Each combo has three colours – Red Robin (rich red), Rosy Finch (deep pink) and Yellow Canary (bright yellow). These very compact, well branching plants are ideal for five-inch pots, hanging baskets and mixed patio pots. The series produces high yields of cherry tomatoes in less than two months.

PHOTO TWO: Mark Seguin, global ornamental marketing manager at Sakata Seed America, poses with what I immediately identified as a great Canadian Sesquicentennial Combo – ‘Red Crimson’ and ‘Buttercream.’ These are the newest introductions to the SuperCal vegetative petunia lineup. SuperCal are vigorous, well-branched plants with early blooms that provide constant colour. There are now 13 colours in the series.

PHOTO THREE: Michael Huggett, eastern flowers sales manager with American Taki, poses with Evening Scentsation. This is the first petunia to receive an AAS award for its hyacinth-like fragrance and stunning colour. It is a medium-sized multiflora type with a low spreading habit.

PHOTO FOUR: The Trials are not just about varieties. Raymond Houweling (at left), a Canadian lighting specialist with Philips, and Richard Campos, manager of LED solutions with Fred C. Gloeckner & Company, were at the Takii open house to answer questions about crop lighting. The message? LEDs offer significant energy savings and contribute towards improved crop quality and yields.

PHOTO FIVE: One of the hottest gardening trends the past few years has been pollinator gardens, and American Takii offered suggestions with this attention-getting display. Salvia Hummingbird ‘Forest Fire’ is a solid candidate for the program. It’s in bloom a very long time, and it loves the heat. Hummingbirds aren’t the only pollinators that love it!

PHOTO SIX: The Autumn Edition of MasterTag and Summit Plastic is great for season extenders. The consumer-ready themes with coordinating tags invoke impulse sales, and the high-resolution printing process means high quality images and graphics.

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