By Dave Harrison
Nov. 11, 2014, Toronto — After a long and dreary Canadian winter, the burst of colour that comes with spring is most welcome.
Coming off of one of the coldest and snowiest winters in recent memory, with some forecasters predicting a similar frosty, white chill this winter, garden wholesalers and ornamental horticultural growers are seeing increasing demand for vibrant colours.
If the show floor at Landscape Ontario’s Garden & Floral Expo is any indication, when garden centres begin stocking for next year’s planting season, expect colour to be a dominant theme.
“The colour this year is amazing,” says Denis Flanagan of Landscape Ontario. “I have never seen colours like this at Expo before. It is beautiful.”
‘NEVER ALONE ROSE’ A WINNER IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE
One of the key florals bringing that colour for 2015 is the ‘Never Alone’ rose, a hardy Canadian variety that will not only look amazing in gardens, but is also a symbol of the compassion shown by the Never Alone Foundation. This charity provides a variety of supports to cancer patients, everything from sprucing up their hospital bed to making them quilts or meals.
“It’s a super hardy, disease resistant rose that will give you colour all season long,” says Larry Vandermolen from J.C. Bakker & Sons Wholesale Nurseries in St. Catharines. “This rose has survived three Manitoba winters, so you know it’s tough as nails. The ‘Never Alone’ rose will bloom in spring and will keep its colour until the first frost.”
It is also supported by the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association and the Canadian Football League Alumni Association. Former CFL superstars Matt Dunnigan and Mike “Pinball” Clemons were on hand at Expo to help promote the rose. Winners of the draw in J.C. Bakker & Sons booth at Expo 2014 were: Tom Intven, Canadale Nurseries, St. Thomas, Ont., who received a Matt Dunnigan jersery; the Clemons jersey was awarded to Garry Johnston, Canadian Tire, Keswick, Ont.
COLOUR CRAZE LAUNCH IN JUNE 2015
In June 2015 – a time of year when colour is typically difficult to come by – Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Valleybrook Gardens will be launching Colour Craze, a coding system that lets garden centres and gardeners know the colour a flower will be when it blooms. It’s a program intended to meet consumer wants while simplifying the merchandising process for retailers.
“The demand from our customers, and the demand from their consumers, is ‘We want colour. We want colour,’” says Tracy McAllister from Valleybrook Gardens.
“There are still hardcore gardeners for sure, but that number is shrinking. Baby Boomers are downsizing, their kids are living in condos. More and more people aren’t gardeners but like the splash of colour, so they go with what looks good.
“Colour Craze will make it easy for retailers to meet those customer demands. Colour perennials work so well in small spaces or indoors. Plants can be kept in the pot, or planted in a garden. These plants can be brought indoors in winter and left outdoors in summer.”
SHADES OF PURPLE
Flowers Canada (Ontario) says the Netherlands is the trendsetter when it comes to determining the popular colour of the season, and Canada always follows suit. Based on where the Dutch have been, expect a lot of shades of purple on garden centre shelves as the spring of 2015 nears, says FCO marketing director Nikki Gomes.
“Colour has always been extremely important, it triggers emotions and generally makes people feel better,” she says.
“People are visual, they want bright and vibrant. But you can’t just throw a bunch of colours out there. It is important to stay ahead with leading edge colours, and this year people will be looking for purple.”
More than 1,500 lawn and garden industry insiders explored the aisles of the Garden & Floral Expo, held at the Toronto Congress Centre from Oct. 22 and 23.
For more information on Garden & Floral Expo or one of its associated events, please visit LOexpo.ca. Follow Expo and Landscape Ontario on Twitter @LOexpo, and @LOevents.