Brian Minter: Proven Winners is major contributor to improving our gardens

Most of us in the gardening world have seen the name Proven Winners on a plant tag, spotted it in a magazine or on a billboard, or visited it on a social-media platform. It would be highly unlikely for anyone connected to gardening, even in the slightest way, not to have encountered this brand. Proven Winners has become the world’s most recognized plant brand and is always associated with unique, new, quality plants.

To discover more about Proven Winners, I had the pleasure of speaking with Marshall Dirks, director of marketing,

The remarkable story behind this brand began in 1991 when a representative of Kientzler, a well-known German plant distribution company, was trying to find a distributor for a great new scaevola called ‘Blue Wonder.’ When some of the major plant distributors turned down the opportunity, he approached a smaller supplier of unique plants, Weidner’s Gardens in California.

The Weidner team saw the potential of this new, drought-tolerant variety and sold it exclusively for the first year with fairly good success. To further expand the introduction of this plant, the Kientzler rep, Garry Grueber, suggested that Weidner work with a few of their other clients in New Hampshire and Michigan. Weidner’s had a close association with EuroAmerican Propagators, who began a working relationship with the additional companies. It was these three companies that went on to establish the Proven Winner business model.

At that time there were few, if any, widely recognized plant brands, particularly among annuals. Early on, the Proven Winners’ group made three key decisions, according to Dirks:

First:

To enhance the recognition of new plants, they would charge a marketing and product development fee with every plant sold.

Second:

They would require that a quality plant tag, branded with a Proven Winners’ logo, accompany every plant sold.

Third:

They would ensure that only the best, most innovative new plants would be sold under the Proven Winners’ banner.

It soon became evident that the gardening world was ready for a recognized brand of new, unique, high-performance plants. The growth of the Proven Winners’ brand was quite something. To further enhance their reputation, the Proven Winners’ team worked diligently to introduce plants that had great pest resistance and could be trusted to perform to the highest standard in many climatic conditions. Starting with the introduction of four new annuals, they collaborated with many plant breeders to source remarkable new annuals.

Plant-breeders around the world often found it difficult to get their new plants into the marketplace, and Proven Winners offered them a great platform through which they could introduce their successful breeding to the world under a quality brand.

To be selected as a top performer, Proven Winners’ new plant introductions go through a trialling process in many different locations, including Europe, South Africa, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, as well as across the U.S. It takes three years for annuals to complete the testing period.

In addition, Proven Winners plants must pass a virus-testing procedure, which is an important measure in today’s vast vegetative plant world. Of the many plants trialled, only a few make the cut to bear the Proven Winners’ label.

By 2010, Proven Winners had moved beyond annuals. The rationale was to provide consumers with a more interesting and diverse selection of plants for their gardens. Working with two industry leaders in shrubs and perennials resulted in the introduction of Proven Winners ColorChoice and Proven Winners Perennials.

After successfully completing the same due diligence process used for annuals, each year we see the arrival of wonderful new shrubs and perennials, such as the recent addition of the Proven Winners’ Heart to Heart Caladium line. A staple in southern U.S. gardens, caladiums are being used more and more for adding vibrant colour in northern gardens that enjoy warm summers.

Today’s demographic shift toward younger gardeners has prompted Proven Winners to connect more closely with members of this particular group and to reflect their interests. According to Dirks, “almost all of Proven Winners’ consumer marketing efforts are targeted toward design: how to best make plants work and how to make them visually exciting in a garden.”

As a prime example of this approach, Proven Winners publishes a booklet, called the ‘Gardener’s Idea Book’, featuring a huge array of stunning container combinations and garden display ideas to inspire gardeners. Over 10 million copies have been distributed across North America. If you request one from their website, they’ll mail a copy to you.

In addition, their website,

provenwinners.com

, allows consumers direct contact. Last year, Proven Winners answered over 15,000 questions by email.

Proven Winners continues to expand into many varied garden products, from premium soils and plant foods to containers, drip irrigation systems and Proven Harvest seed packets.

Proven Winners has introduced a great selection of vegetable plants also branded as Proven Harvest. They’re especially suited to containers. Tempting Tomatoes ‘Garden Gem’ produces flavourful, small round fruit, and ‘Garden Treasure’, a large round tomato, is easy to grow, incredibly delicious and very disease tolerant. Fire Away Hot and Heavy is a mid-sized pepper with multicoloured fruits that are a little hotter than jalapenos. Their Berried Treasure strawberry collection produces attractive flowers in white, pink or red and yummy small fruits. Their Amazel Basil has excellent mildew resistance, and because the flowers are sterile, the tasty leaves just keep producing.

Climate change and all its implications are paramount in many folks’ minds today, and I asked Dirks how Proven Winners is dealing with this issue in their plant trials.

“We are green-screening,” answered Dirks, “for decreased water use. In addition, we are looking at more native plants to help pollinators and at plants that require far less pest control.”

As for environmental impact, they’re developing new forms of plant packaging, like Eco-Pots, that can be composted more easily.

I’ve had the privilege of knowing some of the fine folks who started Proven Winners and who have created the framework for it to grow and flourish. It’s a great story. When you see a Proven Winners’ label in a plant that you may have purchased, it’s nice to know the dedication to quality and innovation that has produced it.

As we move into a new gardening year, it’s good to have a little background on some of the plants we will be adding to our gardens. There will be a significant number of new plant varieties to play with in 2021. Worldwide, a very strong horticultural industry has been doing a lot of research and development to provide new and better plants that will improve our gardens and also benefit the environment and wildlife. Proven Winners is a major contributor to this process.Most of us in the gardening world have seen the name Proven Winners on a plant tag, spotted it in a magazine or on a billboard, or visited it on a social-media platform. It would be highly unlikely for anyone connected to gardening, even in the slightest way, not to have encountered this brand. Proven Winners has become the world’s most recognized plant brand and is always associated with unique, new, quality plants.

To discover more about Proven Winners, I had the pleasure of speaking with Marshall Dirks, director of marketing,

The remarkable story behind this brand began in 1991 when a representative of Kientzler, a well-known German plant distribution company, was trying to find a distributor for a great new scaevola called ‘Blue Wonder.’ When some of the major plant distributors turned down the opportunity, he approached a smaller supplier of unique plants, Weidner’s Gardens in California.

The Weidner team saw the potential of this new, drought-tolerant variety and sold it exclusively for the first year with fairly good success. To further expand the introduction of this plant, the Kientzler rep, Garry Grueber, suggested that Weidner work with a few of their other clients in New Hampshire and Michigan. Weidner’s had a close association with EuroAmerican Propagators, who began a working relationship with the additional companies. It was these three companies that went on to establish the Proven Winner business model.

At that time there were few, if any, widely recognized plant brands, particularly among annuals. Early on, the Proven Winners’ group made three key decisions, according to Dirks:

First:

To enhance the recognition of new plants, they would charge a marketing and product development fee with every plant sold.

Second:

They would require that a quality plant tag, branded with a Proven Winners’ logo, accompany every plant sold.

Third:

They would ensure that only the best, most innovative new plants would be sold under the Proven Winners’ banner.

It soon became evident that the gardening world was ready for a recognized brand of new, unique, high-performance plants. The growth of the Proven Winners’ brand was quite something. To further enhance their reputation, the Proven Winners’ team worked diligently to introduce plants that had great pest resistance and could be trusted to perform to the highest standard in many climatic conditions. Starting with the introduction of four new annuals, they collaborated with many plant breeders to source remarkable new annuals.

Plant-breeders around the world often found it difficult to get their new plants into the marketplace, and Proven Winners offered them a great platform through which they could introduce their successful breeding to the world under a quality brand.

To be selected as a top performer, Proven Winners’ new plant introductions go through a trialling process in many different locations, including Europe, South Africa, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, as well as across the U.S. It takes three years for annuals to complete the testing period.

In addition, Proven Winners plants must pass a virus-testing procedure, which is an important measure in today’s vast vegetative plant world. Of the many plants trialled, only a few make the cut to bear the Proven Winners’ label.

By 2010, Proven Winners had moved beyond annuals. The rationale was to provide consumers with a more interesting and diverse selection of plants for their gardens. Working with two industry leaders in shrubs and perennials resulted in the introduction of Proven Winners ColorChoice and Proven Winners Perennials.

After successfully completing the same due diligence process used for annuals, each year we see the arrival of wonderful new shrubs and perennials, such as the recent addition of the Proven Winners’ Heart to Heart Caladium line. A staple in southern U.S. gardens, caladiums are being used more and more for adding vibrant colour in northern gardens that enjoy warm summers.

Today’s demographic shift toward younger gardeners has prompted Proven Winners to connect more closely with members of this particular group and to reflect their interests. According to Dirks, “almost all of Proven Winners’ consumer marketing efforts are targeted toward design: how to best make plants work and how to make them visually exciting in a garden.”

As a prime example of this approach, Proven Winners publishes a booklet, called the ‘Gardener’s Idea Book’, featuring a huge array of stunning container combinations and garden display ideas to inspire gardeners. Over 10 million copies have been distributed across North America. If you request one from their website, they’ll mail a copy to you.

In addition, their website,

provenwinners.com

, allows consumers direct contact. Last year, Proven Winners answered over 15,000 questions by email.

Proven Winners continues to expand into many varied garden products, from premium soils and plant foods to containers, drip irrigation systems and Proven Harvest seed packets.

Proven Winners has introduced a great selection of vegetable plants also branded as Proven Harvest. They’re especially suited to containers. Tempting Tomatoes ‘Garden Gem’ produces flavourful, small round fruit, and ‘Garden Treasure’, a large round tomato, is easy to grow, incredibly delicious and very disease tolerant. Fire Away Hot and Heavy is a mid-sized pepper with multicoloured fruits that are a little hotter than jalapenos. Their Berried Treasure strawberry collection produces attractive flowers in white, pink or red and yummy small fruits. Their Amazel Basil has excellent mildew resistance, and because the flowers are sterile, the tasty leaves just keep producing.

Climate change and all its implications are paramount in many folks’ minds today, and I asked Dirks how Proven Winners is dealing with this issue in their plant trials.

“We are green-screening,” answered Dirks, “for decreased water use. In addition, we are looking at more native plants to help pollinators and at plants that require far less pest control.”

As for environmental impact, they’re developing new forms of plant packaging, like Eco-Pots, that can be composted more easily.

I’ve had the privilege of knowing some of the fine folks who started Proven Winners and who have created the framework for it to grow and flourish. It’s a great story. When you see a Proven Winners’ label in a plant that you may have purchased, it’s nice to know the dedication to quality and innovation that has produced it.

As we move into a new gardening year, it’s good to have a little background on some of the plants we will be adding to our gardens. There will be a significant number of new plant varieties to play with in 2021. Worldwide, a very strong horticultural industry has been doing a lot of research and development to provide new and better plants that will improve our gardens and also benefit the environment and wildlife. Proven Winners is a major contributor to this process.

Opinion: As we move into a new gardening year, it’s good to have a little background on some of the plants we will be adding to our gardens.

Most of us in the gardening world have seen the name Proven Winners on a plant tag, spotted it in a magazine or on a billboard, or visited it on a social-media platform. It would be highly unlikely for anyone connected to gardening, even in the slightest way, not to have encountered this brand. Proven Winners has become the world’s most recognized plant brand and is always associated with unique, new, quality plants.

To discover more about Proven Winners, I had the pleasure of speaking with Marshall Dirks, director of marketing,

The remarkable story behind this brand began in 1991 when a representative of Kientzler, a well-known German plant distribution company, was trying to find a distributor for a great new scaevola called ‘Blue Wonder.’ When some of the major plant distributors turned down the opportunity, he approached a smaller supplier of unique plants, Weidner’s Gardens in California.

Story continues below

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The Weidner team saw the potential of this new, drought-tolerant variety and sold it exclusively for the first year with fairly good success. To further expand the introduction of this plant, the Kientzler rep, Garry Grueber, suggested that Weidner work with a few of their other clients in New Hampshire and Michigan. Weidner’s had a close association with EuroAmerican Propagators, who began a working relationship with the additional companies. It was these three companies that went on to establish the Proven Winner business model.

At that time there were few, if any, widely recognized plant brands, particularly among annuals. Early on, the Proven Winners’ group made three key decisions, according to Dirks:

First: To enhance the recognition of new plants, they would charge a marketing and product development fee with every plant sold.

Hosta Autumn Frost: Gardeners can have confidence in plants labelled as Proven Winners, such as this hosta.
Hosta Autumn Frost: Gardeners can have confidence in plants labelled as Proven Winners, such as this hosta. Photo by Proven Winners / Nordic Nurserie /PNG

Second: They would require that a quality plant tag, branded with a Proven Winners’ logo, accompany every plant sold.

Third: They would ensure that only the best, most innovative new plants would be sold under the Proven Winners’ banner.

It soon became evident that the gardening world was ready for a recognized brand of new, unique, high-performance plants. The growth of the Proven Winners’ brand was quite something. To further enhance their reputation, the Proven Winners’ team worked diligently to introduce plants that had great pest resistance and could be trusted to perform to the highest standard in many climatic conditions. Starting with the introduction of four new annuals, they collaborated with many plant breeders to source remarkable new annuals.

Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Plant-breeders around the world often found it difficult to get their new plants into the marketplace, and Proven Winners offered them a great platform through which they could introduce their successful breeding to the world under a quality brand.

To be selected as a top performer, Proven Winners’ new plant introductions go through a trialling process in many different locations, including Europe, South Africa, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, as well as across the U.S. It takes three years for annuals to complete the testing period.

In addition, Proven Winners plants must pass a virus-testing procedure, which is an important measure in today’s vast vegetative plant world. Of the many plants trialled, only a few make the cut to bear the Proven Winners’ label.

Amazel Basil: This Proven Winners’ basil can be relied on for a non-stop abundance of tasty leaves.
Amazel Basil: This Proven Winners’ basil can be relied on for a non-stop abundance of tasty leaves. Photo by Proven Winners / Nordic Nurserie /PNG

By 2010, Proven Winners had moved beyond annuals. The rationale was to provide consumers with a more interesting and diverse selection of plants for their gardens. Working with two industry leaders in shrubs and perennials resulted in the introduction of Proven Winners ColorChoice and Proven Winners Perennials.

After successfully completing the same due diligence process used for annuals, each year we see the arrival of wonderful new shrubs and perennials, such as the recent addition of the Proven Winners’ Heart to Heart Caladium line. A staple in southern U.S. gardens, caladiums are being used more and more for adding vibrant colour in northern gardens that enjoy warm summers.

Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Today’s demographic shift toward younger gardeners has prompted Proven Winners to connect more closely with members of this particular group and to reflect their interests. According to Dirks, “almost all of Proven Winners’ consumer marketing efforts are targeted toward design: how to best make plants work and how to make them visually exciting in a garden.”

As a prime example of this approach, Proven Winners publishes a booklet, called the ‘Gardener’s Idea Book’, featuring a huge array of stunning container combinations and garden display ideas to inspire gardeners. Over 10 million copies have been distributed across North America. If you request one from their website, they’ll mail a copy to you.

In addition, their website, provenwinners.com, allows consumers direct contact. Last year, Proven Winners answered over 15,000 questions by email.

Proven Winners continues to expand into many varied garden products, from premium soils and plant foods to containers, drip irrigation systems and Proven Harvest seed packets.

Plant Combinations: Proven Winners Gardener’s Idea Book features stunning container combinations.
Plant Combinations: Proven Winners Gardener’s Idea Book features stunning container combinations. Photo by Proven Winners / Nordic Nurserie /PNG

Proven Winners has introduced a great selection of vegetable plants also branded as Proven Harvest. They’re especially suited to containers. Tempting Tomatoes ‘Garden Gem’ produces flavourful, small round fruit, and ‘Garden Treasure’, a large round tomato, is easy to grow, incredibly delicious and very disease tolerant. Fire Away Hot and Heavy is a mid-sized pepper with multicoloured fruits that are a little hotter than jalapenos. Their Berried Treasure strawberry collection produces attractive flowers in white, pink or red and yummy small fruits. Their Amazel Basil has excellent mildew resistance, and because the flowers are sterile, the tasty leaves just keep producing.

Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Climate change and all its implications are paramount in many folks’ minds today, and I asked Dirks how Proven Winners is dealing with this issue in their plant trials.

“We are green-screening,” answered Dirks, “for decreased water use. In addition, we are looking at more native plants to help pollinators and at plants that require far less pest control.”

As for environmental impact, they’re developing new forms of plant packaging, like Eco-Pots, that can be composted more easily.

I’ve had the privilege of knowing some of the fine folks who started Proven Winners and who have created the framework for it to grow and flourish. It’s a great story. When you see a Proven Winners’ label in a plant that you may have purchased, it’s nice to know the dedication to quality and innovation that has produced it.

As we move into a new gardening year, it’s good to have a little background on some of the plants we will be adding to our gardens. There will be a significant number of new plant varieties to play with in 2021. Worldwide, a very strong horticultural industry has been doing a lot of research and development to provide new and better plants that will improve our gardens and also benefit the environment and wildlife. Proven Winners is a major contributor to this process.

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