Michelle Simakis
Ken Blaze

Every year around the official start of spring, I get a respite from the cold, dreary Cleveland weather and head out to California for the annual Spring Trials with my colleague Karen Varga, editor of sister publication Greenhouse Management. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see new plants and find out what may be on garden center shelves in the future.

In addition to seeing new varieties in person, before the event, we talk to plant breeding companies to get a sneak peek of what they plan to showcase, and we share highlights from our trip with readers after the tours.

In addition to learning about the new varieties and their attributes at their official debut at the California Spring Trials each year, it’s important to discover how they perform during wet springs, hot summers and in unpredictable, uncontrolled conditions in various regions in the U.S.

That’s why we have dedicated much of the December issue to highlighting some of the top-performing new annuals and perennials, as reported by more than a dozen trial gardens managers. As you’ll see, a few specific new varieties are recognized several times throughout.

We published commentary from the managers that further explains why they selected the plants they did as their top choices for multiple attributes including drought and heat tolerance, pollinator friendliness and overall performance. You can read the roundup of plants you may sell to customers in the coming months in our trials report.

In speaking of what’s ahead in 2019, we caught up with Tal Coley, director of government affairs for AmericanHort, to get an update on key issues like transportation, labor and taxes. You can read his comments here.

Discovering the latest trends is also a primary focus ahead of the new year. Luckily, Garden Media Group shared their annual Garden Trends report with us, and you can read excerpts and their predictions for what will be important to consumers in 2019 here.

This issue will hit mailboxes as many of you are gathering with your families and friends to celebrate the holidays and the New Year. We wish you all the best as you close out 2018 and make plans for the seasons ahead.


Michelle Simakis msimakis@gie.net