Trials trials and more trials. Even though it is not always possible for growers to see them real live nowadays, it remains to be an important part for every breeder. Also for German breeder Westhoff. In the US, they have trials running at Costa Farms, they present some trials in a video and they are looking forward to meet visitors in-person at CAST, which will take place in June this year. In this article, some varieties are highlighted.
Costa Farms Trials
Bart Hayes, Sales Manager at Westhoff: “Miami, Florida is definitely not the worst place to visit in late-February/early-March, and somehow the team at Costa Farms continues to improve on an already gorgeous display every year. this is definitely a must-visit trial, especially when an early look is necessary for the decision process. the team at Costa Farms continues to improve on an already gorgeous display every year. “This is definitely a must-visit trial, especially when an early look is necessary for the decision process,” Hayes explains. “Although most of the Westhoff material that was in the gardens looked great there were definitely some outstanding performers, including the new Lobelia Hot+ series, the new Angelonia Serafina series, and Petunia Crazytunia Mayan Sunset.”
(Clockwise from the top) Petunia Big Deal Fingerpaint, the new Angelonia Serafina Series, and the improved Pixie Stix Mix were all standout performers.
“Costa Farms did some excellent work making this trial virtually accessible. My favorite are the Virtual Tours they have posted on the Season Premier Website. There is a ton of good information there, but these walkthroughs are probably second only to being there,” says Hayes.
‘Videos are the new trials’
“Not really, but they do help, especially when it is challenging to get out and see new items in a timely manner. Even if CAST were at its regularly scheduled time, there are still some lingering Covid-19 restrictions and uneasiness when it comes to travel. Plus there are fewer flights and opportunities to see live plant material,” Hayes says. Hopefully, the videos are good enough to give everyone an idea of what the new varieties look like and how they will perform. “But not so well that you won’t try to get out to a field trial or two to see for yourself,” Hayes adds. “I did cheat a bit by asking Mr. Plantgeek himself, Mr. Michael Perry, to lend his dulcet, British-accented voice to our video presentations. We will be featuring these in our social media outreach this year, but you get to see it here first.”
California Summer Trials
The California Summer Trials will take place from the week of June 20th through the 27th. Westhoff will be sharing the Greenfuse location (Santa Paula, CA) with several other live plant breeders and suppliers.
“Although it will likely be a bit warmer (but not much because, you know, California) and a bit later than is typical, we are presenting a full showcase of our newest breeding and a selection of some of our established varieties for your consideration,” Hayes says.
California plans on lifting many of the Covid-19 restrictions, so there should not be any worry about hotels, dining, and visiting the location, but out of an abundance of caution they are still strongly recommending visitors to schedule ahead, in case restrictions are still in place or re-applied.