Head-spinning, heart-pounding plant extravaganza

Tom Smith poses with two of his passengers (that's me on the left).
I just came home from two days of full plant immersion that also included individualized attention, a helicopter ride, and a preview into what we'll be seeing at garden centers next season. Okay, we'll get the helicopter ride out of the way first, as it's one of those things that's "not like the others." After touring and picking the brain of Four Star Nursery Display Garden "Artiste," Pat Seibel (more later), Tom Smith, Four Star Greenhouse president and one of the Proven Winners founders, offered those who lingered at the end of the tour a ride on his helicopter. I got to spend some time with Diana Ivosic of Johnson Nursery, who was in Michigan to photograph some of the latest and greatest plants that she would be propagating in the North Carolina wholesale nursery.

Gomphrena 'Forest Red' mixes well with pineapple sage.
What an exciting ending to a wonderful day touring the display grounds of Four Star during the 2013 Michigan Garden Plant Tour. I had to narrow down my visits to two, and Four Star was the first on my list. They're the top supplier of Proven Winners annuals.

Gomphrena 'Forest Pink'
There were many exciting introductions in the Proven Winners trial grounds. Two plants in the Proven Selections line that caught my eye were Gomphrena 'Forest Red' and 'Forest Pink', tall varieties that go with Salvia, Verbena, Coleus... pretty much anything because of their "see through" stems topped by the brightest spots of color.

These two are just the tip of the iceberg, a drop in the ocean of plants in which I immersed myself in two days of Michigan travel. I promise more in future blogs.

Overall shot of Four Star's display grounds.

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