Every year in the month of June, breeders, propagators, growers and buyers flock to the Netherlands and Germany for FlowerTrials. This year, more than 7,000 visitors from 66 countries toured 30 unique sites and saw new introductions and existing varieties from more than 60 breeders.
A.M.A.’s Anne-Marie Klaas, Purchasing and Inventory Coordinator, and Connie and Rick Bradt, Managing Directors, were among the delegates. Their mission? Tour the sites, meet the people and get to know the new trends.
Anne Marie, A.M.A.’s resident (and self-professed!) “flower geek”, who has visited trials in California and Germany, sees them as an important source of inspiration for the industry.
“It’s like fashion week for the floriculture community. We get to see the new collections, colours and varieties that will dominate the coming season,” she said. “While not all varieties here will translate back to growing conditions and markets in North America, they certainly give us a strong sense of how breeders are innovating, and what growers and buyers are looking for.”
Big, colourful blooms, compact varieties to suit smaller gardens and older varieties with modern takes (like this playful, poufy Calceolaria) were among some of the key themes across the five sites that the A.M.A. team visited. See more trends from FlowerTrials 2019 on the Mr. Plant Geek blog.
Always learning, always growing
A.M.A. doesn’t grow, buy or breed flowers, so why attend the flower trials? Connie and Rick say visits like these are central to A.M.A.’s philosophy to continue learning and stay in sync with customers.
“Our approach is to act as a real partner to our customers – to be a virtual extension of their purchasing teams,” said Connie. “We need to know about the trends and changes coming into their greenhouses so that we’re ready with the best growing containers, substrates and accessories to help them succeed.”
Growing containers have a role at flower trials
Many of the flower trial sites had participating hard goods suppliers showcasing how new pots and decorative containers can pair with the latest blooms.
A.M.A.’s supplier, Desch PlantPak, had the opportunity to display new colours and styles at the Florensis site, including a new 23cm thermoform bowl.
“It was great to see growing containers featured as a key component of the floral displays,” said Rick. “There is a lot of innovation happening on the hard goods side to support growers in delivering the colours and styles that end-consumers are looking for.”
New growing supply trends at GreenTech
In addition to touring the flower trial sites, the team also walked the floor of the GreenTech show in Amsterdam, connecting with some of A.M.A.’s European suppliers and getting a first-hand-look at their latest innovations.
Proudly on display at Bato was the company’s new 35L blueberry growing container, which enables growers to keep the plant in one substrate holder during its entire lifespan. According Raymond van Mierlo, Account Manager at Bato, that means no more repotting.
The team also had a chance to catch up with other suppliers to discuss new concepts and projects happening in the horticultural industry, including the increasing demand for more sustainable solutions.
The most surprising GreenTech visit was with hometown municipal leaders, Mayor of Kingsville Nelson Santos, Mayor of Leamington Hilda MacDonald and Chief Operating Officer of Leamington, Peter Neufeld. A.M.A. had the chance to discuss their region’s thriving horticulture sector and how to harness its economic opportunity for continued growth in Kingsville and Leamington.
When asked about her key takeaway from the Netherlands trip, Anne Marie said its all about learning and networking.
“We want to know what’s going on in the industry and make connections with innovators. We could stay at our desks all the time, but then we would stay behind the curve – not ahead of it. One of the most empowering things about working at A.M.A. is that we’re committed to being proactive. We want to be involved in the industry and do what’s best for our customers.”
Anne Marie Klaas and Connie Bradt have a lot of love for learning at FlowerTrials!
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