Fleuroselect varieties decorate Budapest for Annual Convention

Hungary's capital is often referred to as the ‘Pearl of the Danube’. Next to its magnificent Parliament and Chain Bridge, the city also boasts many splendid flower beds in the main squares and parks. All in all the perfect backdrop for Fleuroselect's 48th Annual Member Convention, which took place from 4 to 6 July. This members-only event takes place annually and is hosted alternately at different locations by member companies. No less than 115 delegates participated in this year's programme.

48th Convention delegation at the Research Institute with its flagship crop Celosia arrabona

Ornamental breeding in Hungary
NAIK, the Hungarian National Agricultural Research and Innovation Centre, played host to the 2017 event via its Fruitculture Institute, which is responsible for its ornamental breeding programmes. The Institute presented an overview of its history and activities followed by a fascinating story of the life and work of the late Dr. Zoltán Kováts, Hungarian authority in the field of ornamental plant breeding, whose achievements in Celosia and Rudbeckia are internationally acclaimed. Dr. Mária Szábo, currently in charge of the ornamental breeding programme at the Institute planted out the current Fleuroselect trial of new annual varieties on two fields at different elevations in order to test different levels of UV-intensity and the effects of varying drought tolerance.

Fleuroselect judges studying the varieties in this year's Gold Medal / Approved Novelty trial

Gold Medal/FleuroStar winners planted in Millefleur style
Partner of NAIK in the local organisation of the event was Főkert, Budapest's service for green space management. Director Josef Szábo explained Főkert's mission and activity scope, after which the delegation went on a sight-seeing tour to admire Budapest's impressive flower beds. The tour ended with a Garden Party on Margaret Island where the inner flower circle bed surrounding the main field was planted with Fleuroselect winners. Veronika Papai, in charge of the flower beds' planting: "These beds have been designed using the 'Millefleur' technique. A pattern of diagonal lines is filled up with patches of low varieties in the front and higher plants in the back, creating the perfect balance between structure and nature."

Garden party on Margaret Island

Ann & Sally from Fleuroselect in front of the Gold Medal and FleuroStar winners on Margaret Island

Meeting the agent
To complement the programme, the delegation visited the country's main flower market FloraHungaria where Director András Tréer provided insights in Hungary's ornamental market followed by presentations on the future of the industry from the perspective of the breeder/producer. Many of the participants took advantage of the occasion to meet with their local Hungarian agent.

New members
At the Annual General Meeting, two new full members were welcomed. The Thai-based Ameriseed breeds, produces and distributes a wide range of Marigolds together with a selection of other varieties. Most are bred or selected in South-East Asia and tested on heat, humidity and disease resistance. The Chinese Xiamen Ican Seed produces and distributes seed packets, plugs, young plants and seedlings to Chinese growers and retailers. The company works closely with Benary, PanAmerican/Kieft Seed, Sakata, Takii, Hem Genetics, Floranova and Thompson & Morgan. The Swiss media agency Media Concept Schweiz was granted Associate Membership, bringing back this category of membership to the organisation.

2018 Gold Medals awarded
Following the official announcement and industry launch at the IPM, the Gold Medals were now handed over to the respective breeders during the Gala Diner. Anita Stöver and Richard Petri from Selecta one received a Gold Medal for Calibrachoa MiniFamous Double PinkMania!. Together with his colleagues, Bob Leek from Sakata accepted the prize for Zinnia Profusion Red. Peter Hansen from Floragran and breeder Henry Lommerse stepped forward for Lewisia cotyledon Ruby Red.

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