Urban gardening was the theme of Fleuroselect’s eighth Home Garden Conference in Paris, when about 75 seed breeders and distributors from 10 different countries enjoyed a programme of professional visits and speakers.
Compact or climbing Host of the Conference was the French seed breeder HM.Clause who, in addition to its professional activities, also specialises in flower and vegetable seeds for the hobby market. The company invited conference participants to discover its latest varieties in Le Grand Jardin, summer trials showcase set up on a magnificent roof top terrace in Montmartre.
In line with the urban gardening trend, Clause mainly showed compact and climbing varieties ideal for city balconies and patios. Echinacea ‘Feeling Pink’ and Lupin ‘MiniGallery Blue’, both Fleuroselect Gold Medal winners, are just two cultivars perfect for modest urban outdoor spaces. Climbing tomatoes and peppers were a real must-have for patios, and a new, single-serving sized climbing watermelon plant ‘Mini Love’ caught the eye of participants. A tasting session crounded off the experience.
Keynote speaker was Lodewijk Hoekstra, a Dutch TV gardener who shared his vision for urban gardening. Ghislain Bousseau of the Bureau Regional Horticole gave us interesting facts and figures on the French market and journalist/horticultural therapist Isabelle Boucq introduced the group to the many benefits and applications of horticultural therapy, including those for the sick and elderly. Antoine Jacobsohn, Director of Le Potager du Roi, gave an interesting presentation on the use of plants in the city, past and future.
From Zinnia to Marigold This year is the ‘Year of the Zinnia’ marketing campaign, so delegates visited the magnificent Jardin des Plantes where some 130 Zinnia varieties from Fleuroselect members were lined up. Wild varieties were added to the trial to underline the improvements in flower size, flowering period and disease resistance of the cultivated varieties.
The 2018 Plant of the Year campaign will focus on Marigold and Pepper. Fleuroselect will offer logos, images and banners, all free of charge, to promote the sales of existing varieties. Trials showing the entire membership’s Marigold varieties are again planned during 2018 at Wisley (UK) and three other gardens in France and Germany.