Networking was top of the agenda when more than 110 delegates gathered in early July for the 44th annual Fleuroselect Convention in Denmark. FCI’s correspondent in Denmark Lotte Bjarke has the details.
Fleuroselect, the international organisation for ornamental plants, has a clearly defined mission. The goal is to stimulate and encourage breeding of ornamental plants by establishing and maintaining a platform where breeders, producers and distributors of the industry assemble around testing, awarding and marketing of new varieties of plants.
Fleuroselect’s mission is not only about paperwork. Attending the Fleuroselect Annual Convention for the first time was like joining a family reunion. More than 100 delegates – many accompanied by their wives or husbands – from around the globe got together in a friendly atmosphere, happy to meet again, exchange news and experiences since the last meeting.
The openness among all these people who would normally be considered competitors in the business world of plants was striking. But asking around, it seemed clear that the Fleuroselect members not only look at each other as competitors – they are also colleagues and the value of sharing cannot be overrated in a small industry. The networking was again and again pointed out as the most important part of the convention and as one delegate emphasised, the different companies might be competitors at some levels but many are also customers of each other and mutually dependent on cooperation. No doubt, ‘mission was completed’ at the 44th annual Fleuroselect Convention.
The Fleuroselect Convention is held annually and every year at a new location with one of the member companies as hosts, organising visits to companies and entertainment for the many attendants. This year, the Convention took place in Denmark under the theme ‘A taste of Japan in Denmark’. Behind the cryptic headline was the seed company Sakata. Sakata is a Japanese company with European headquarters based in Marslev, Denmark. Sakata was the main host of the Convention, seconded by another Japanese seed company, Takii, which runs a breeding station in Bellinge, Denmark.
Sakata is celebrating the centennial of the company this year and, in the spirit of Fleuroselect, chose the Convention as a perfect occasion to share the big achievement with colleagues from all over the world.
The extensive two days programme included presentations by the two host companies. Takii opened the doors wide to the breeding station to emphasise the openness which is characteristic for Fleuroselect.
At Sakata the large testing field attracted the attention of the delegates. Here they could examine not only the Sakata assortment but also the nominated new varieties for next year’s Fleuroselect medals.
The rewarding of medals for the best and most promising new varieties is one of the most important activities of Fleuroselect. The participating varieties are tested in 17 test fields around Europe where a panel of expert judges evaluate the performance of each variety. Only the very best new introductions are awarded the prestigious gold medal. During the Convention, the judges evaluated the novelties in the Sakata test field.
Apart from the seed companies, the Fleuroselect Convention visited GASA BØG and got a comprehensive presentation of the large Danish export company. GASA Young Plants was, together with Swedish Impecta and Dutch Sluis Garden, accepted as new members at the Fleuroselect annual general meeting held during the convention.
An interesting and varied programme was available for the visitors accompanying the delegates, and cultural as well as culinary experiences made the programme complete. The convention reached its climax with a highly energised gala dinner in amazing settings at Holckenhavn Castle.
During the dinner, this year’s Fleuroselect Gold Medals were officially presented, and it was revealed that the 2013 FleuroStar Award for a plant with true wow factor went to Gerbera Cartwheel® Strawberry Twist from Syngenta Flowers.
The FleuroStar Award for 2013/2014 went to Gerbera jamesonii Cartwheel® Strawberry Twist created by Syngenta Flowers.
The winner was announced at the annual Fleuroselect Gala dinner that was held in Slot Holckenhavn, Denmark, on Friday 5th July. Syngenta’s Head of Sales Luit Mazereeuw accepted the award from Fleuroselect President Nils Klemm and Jan Sijm, Chairman of the FleuroStar Committee.
Nils Klemm: “It is my honour to give this key award in the horticultural sector to Syngenta Flowers. Cartwheel® Strawberry Twist offers a fantastic colour mix for pots and containers that will convince many consumers at point of sale.”
According to the jury, this award-winning Gerbera offers “very attractive, supersized semi-double flowers with a broad colour range, ensuring a true wow effect. Cartwheel® Strawberry Twist is an eye-catching variety that will appeal highly to the consumer.”
Cartwheel® Strawberry Twist is the first true semi-double bicolour Gerbera for pots. Breeder Kathryn Verlinden: “I was inspired by the huge range of colour patterns existing in cut flower Gerberas. Already nine years ago, we started experimenting with the introduction of cut flower genetics into pot Gerberas. Cartwheel® Strawberry Twist offers the colour explosion of a cut flower Gerbera bouquet to pots and containers for both the home and patio.”
The FleuroStar Contest is held annually during the FlowerTrials week in June in the Netherlands and Germany. An independent panel of more than 30 expert judges visit the eight contest locations to choose the winner with the ‘wow’ effect at point of sale. Due to its strong visual impact, the FleuroStar winner stands out in retail.