by Alicja Cecot
ZUNDERT, The Netherlands On the opening day of the world’s premier amenity plant show GrootGroenPlus in Zundert, the Netherlands from October 5 to 7, the annual KVBC’s Awards recognised excellence in ornamental plant breeding. Established in 2015, the KVBC Awards are the most coveted honor a plant breeder can achieve. Extensively tested by the Boskoop Royal Horticultural Society (KVBC), award-winning varieties differentiate themselves in the marketplace by many distinct aspects such as colour, shape, fragrance, plant habit and bloom season.
The award winning varieties were presented to the international press on 5th October by KVBC chairman Dick Nieuwesteeg and the secretary of the KVBC judging committee, Ronald Houtman.
Hamamelis intermedia ‘Evi’, submitted by W.J. van der Werf from Boskoop, received the Gold Award. According to KVBC´s judging committee this new witch hazel cultivar is special because it is relatively late-blooming.
(February/March), making the plant suited for early retail sales in spring.
The shrub is vase-shaped, uniform and floriferous – flowers have a deep orange-yellow colour. Houtman told FCI that Van der Werf runs the Dutch Plant Collection (Nederlandse Planten Collectie – NPC) of Hamamelis, which consists of 135 varieties of witch hazel.
This year, no Silver Award recipients were announced.
The first Bronze Award went to Thuja occidentalis ‘Mirjam’, submitted by Van Vliet New Plants BV – one of the Dutch agencies assisting plant breeders in bringing their new varieties to market and protecting their rights (PBR). The awarded cultivar – a mutation of T. occidentalis ‘Danica’ – is a dwarf conifer of the globe shape and striking bright, yellowish colour in summer (in winter – turns orange and bronze-green). The conifer is healthy, robust and frost resistant.
Acer ‘Ample Surprise’ scooped the second KVBC Bronze Award. This small tree was submitted by David Bömer, the owner of the nursery Boomkwekerij Bömer v.o.f. from Zundert and the chairman of GrootGroenPlus.
Bred by Dr P.C. (Piet) de Jong this hybrid (with the genes of Acer lobelii) is unlike any other Acer cultivar and thus easily recognizable. The tree has a dense plant habit, but somewhat irregular, slightly deformed, which is not a disadvantage as it gives the plant a special look.
Leaves are red-coloured on top througout the season. According to Ronald Houtman one of the plant’s highlights are its autumn colours in orange and red. Acer ‘Ample Surprise’ is healthy, mildew-resistant, possibly useful as a little avenue or garden tree with a more or less spherical crown and makes a perfect hedging plant.
Also receiving a Bronze Award was Plantipp BV, another Dutch specialist in royalty management, who represents breeders and their rights worldwide. The company’s Peter van Rijssen was honoured to receive the award for Caryopteris clandonensis ‘Elst33’ BLUE EMPIRE. Submitted to the KVBC’s tests by Boomkwekerij Elst-Van Bergen Mts. from Wernhout, the shrub had been already awarded at GrootGroenPlus 2014 (bronze medal) – as a complete novelty brought to the fair for the first time. Inflorescences of BLUE EMPIRE are bigger in comparison with other Caryopteris clandonensis varieties – the cultivar grows a little more upright and is to be more hardy as well.
Peter van Rijssen, dressed in a fancy, flowery jacket was also happy to be on the stage during the grand opening of GrootGroenPlus 2016, when the medal winners in Plant Novelty Competition were announced.
Peter was handed the award for Gaultheria procumbens ‘SpecGP11’PBR GAULTHIER PEARL, named the Best Novelty of the fair. The cultivar – bred by Special Plant Zundert and managed by Plantipp – has pearly white berries. In total, 25 plant novelties have been registered for inspection of the jury, who awarded 9 of them – with golden (3), silver (3) and bronze (3) medals.