Stuff We Love
Green Profit Editors
In past years, it’s been hard to pick just one or two lovable items from all that I’ve seen through the year. This year, however, nothing came to mind when Jen P. asked. I had to go back through hundreds of photographs to jog my memory. What do I now remember that I love from 2023?
FELCO Premium Special Edition pruning shears. When I spotted these in a glass display case in the FELCO booth at IPM, I stopped in my tracks. I’d never seen anything so cool, so elegant, so premium, so special. So Premium Special! The forged aluminum handles have been anodized and sandblasted black, while the blade and counterblade are chromed black. The handles are covered with a delicately fitted black leather sheath. Red stitching visually enhances the curves and recalls the iconic color of FELCO handles. Available in size 8 (large) and 6 (medium). Said CEO Nabil Francis, “With this tool, we wanted to create something exceptional to offer our brand’s loyal customers. The FELCO Premium Special edition in its uniqueness expresses Swiss ‘savoir-faire’ in an object that can be both functional and iconic.” Just $250. And, yes, six months after first spotting them, I had to order a pair.
Sticculents from Cacti Youngplants of the Netherlands. This interesting idea for incorporating succulents into floral arrangements was first displayed at TPIE 2023 in Tampa, then again at IPM Essen in Germany a week later. These are real succulent cuttings—echeveria, haworthia and crassula, all grown in Zimbabwe—that are attached to a bamboo stake via a biodegradable “Floral Fix” cup that screws into the succulent. They carry a sustainable message: the farm is MPS-ABC and MPS-GAP certified, and the Sticculents are assembled in a local special needs workshop. Get them in natural or painted to suit your needs. sticculents.com
“Women Grown” Hyacinth from van Hoekelen Greenhouses of McAdoo, Pennsylvania, which I spotted in my local Jewel grocery store back in January. Ever since discovering vintage collectable hyacinth vases in the Netherlands, I’ve been a sucker for them, and this was a nice wintertime surprise. And for just $4? Yes, please! vhgreenhouses.com
—Editor-in-Chief Chris “Bossman” Beytes
This year was tricky for me, too, but for a different reason: I had lots of plants that really performed this year. I’m not sure if it was the weather, which included just the right amount of rain in normally dry July, but plants were poppin’. Here’s the best of the best.
Pop Star Hydrangea from Bailey Nurseries earned its name this year. I received this last fall and through its first full year in the ground it put on a bloom-studded show. It’s also very compact and I can see how it would be great for containers, as well as in the landscape. It’s in the Endless Summer collection, which means it’s a prolific rebloomer and has natural disease resistance.
Perfect for this year’s hit “Barbie” movie, Granvia Pink Strawflower from Suntory put on a continual peppy pink show of flowers. Strawflowers are cool anyway and the Granvia series punches up the flower power, along with mildew resistance. There are multiple colors in the series, including Crimson Sun, White, Harvest Orange, Gold and Peachy Keen. I saw Peachy Keen (also pictured) at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden trials in September, where it was still going strong.
Let’s switch to annuals. Insert heart-eye emojis right here for my next “love”: Caliburst Petchoa Yellow from PanAmerican Seed. This beauty has bloomed through cool weather, hot weather, dry weather, rainy weather—you get the idea. Its yellow blooms practically glow, too. Why is it so durable? It’s got the best of both petunia and calibrachoa, giving it the genetics it needs to keep blooming through multiple seasons. Cool fun fact: It’s the first petchoa from seed.
—Green Profit Managing Editor Jennifer “JP” Polanz
I’ve always been a fan of elatior begonias and for good reason! They have the most joyful-looking blooms and come in what I call Jolly Rancher colors—bright and vivid with the allure of sugary satisfaction. Dümmen Orange’s Move2 Joy Salmon bloomed their beautiful heads off all summer, to the point where I couldn’t even see their leaves. According to their catalog, that’s because Move2s have been bred for a reduced peduncle length, keeping those large double flowers close in. Not only did they look spectacular all summer due to their heat tolerance, but they’re cruising into October and still going strong. The Move2 Joys come in nine colors from what I can count in the catalog.
I love the Ball Seed exclusive Basil Pesto Party because it solves three common basil problems that I have nearly every year. First, it seems as though it’s a bit more cold-weather tolerant than other basil plants. Basil doesn’t like to be planted in spring, not in my experience. It often turns a chartreuse color and doesn’t really get going until the end of June. Pesto Party did do the usual yellowing and stunting thing in May, but seemed to turn it around in early June. Second, I didn’t see an inkling of disease all season. That’s because it’s been bred for intermediate resistance to both basil downy mildew and Fusarium. And, third, it’s October and it hasn’t begun to flower yet, which means those leaves are still tender and delicious. I also love that Pesto Party grows more vertically than most other basils I’ve grown. I’ll definitely look for this variety at retail next year!
I absolutely love the compostable and adjustable zip ties from Boa Fang. No wires, no plastics, just 10-lb. strength cardboard strips that will break down in a year or two. These are for both consumer and industry use. I’ve used them for my tomatoes since July and they’re still going strong (my tomatoes, not so much). You can use these strips for tree nurseries, too. In that case, they have a product coated with a corn or soy film that lasts for about two years before breaking down
—Green Profit Senior Editor-at-Large Ellen C. Wells
The begonias I typically prefer are tuberous and elatior types, but I really like the new hybrid series called Adora from Syngenta. All three colors in the series have dark foliage and double flowers. Moon Dance (the white one) didn’t grow well for me and pooped out mid-summer, but Velvet Red and Satin Rose continued to grow and flower—and are still going strong as I’m writing this in early October!
For what I consider “traditional” annuals—impatiens, pansies, petunias, calibrachoa, etc.—you need to show me a really cool color to get my attention. When we were walking through Westhoff’s new varieties during California Spring Trials and I saw Gingersnap, one of the new additions to their Crazytunia series, I pointed and said, “I want that!” And, thankfully, they obliged. Gingersnap has a similar habit to the other petunias in the collection, where it tends to grow up and out. And I love the deep wine-red color. (The “crazy” part of Crazytunia is for the unique bloom colors and patterns of all the varieties in the series; not how it grows.)
Alas, while I was attending Cultivate, my daughter sent me a photo of the baby bunny that’d recently been frequenting our patio sitting in the container, munching away at the last remains of what used to be mylovely Gingersnaps. (While also unphased that he was driving our cat Peanut bananas.) Maybe Gingersnap Crazytunias actually taste likegingersnaps to bunnies …? They were a delight while they lasted.
—GrowerTalks Editor Jen “JZ” Zurko