Garden Choice

The importance of helping independent breeders introduce new plant varieties 8/11/21, 1:47 PM


Ko Klaver and Melanie Byrne on the
GardenChoice network

The importance of helping
independent breeders
introduce new plant varieties

“When talking together we realized that we were all frustrated about the fact that
a lot of creativity was lost concerning new introductions,” says Ko Klaver, Co-
Founder of GardenChoice™, about the initiation of the network. “The idea for
setting up GardenChoice came about when four horticultural companies met
during the California Spring Trials of 2015. According to us, a big part of the issue
is that many independent breeders did not have the opportunity to bring their
product to the market in an independent way.”












Ko Klaver

Helping independent breeders
Klaver explains that several of the big breeding companies were focusing on inhouse
breeding lines, whereas they found that the real creativity is found with the
creations from independent breeders. Yet, small, independent breeders
oftentimes do not have the same opportunities that big companies do,
concerning important aspects such as properly cleaning the plants, licensing, and
marketing and distribution logistics. “Therefore, we decided to create the
GardenChoice network, providing an alternative pathway for the independent
breeder community to introduce their products. That way, breeders can focus on
what they do best; breeding. GardenChoice takes care of the rest, such as
protecting the proprietary segments and creating the logistical environment for
their product.”

How does GardenChoice work?

The GardenChoice network is an alliance of four horticultural companies, namely
Eason Horticultural Resources (EHR), Botanical Trading Company (BTC), Pioneer
Gardens (PG) and GardenGenetics (G2). Independent breeders that join the
network will have access to the GardenChoice team’s experience, their labs and
farms and their product marketing. “Our mission is to provide a more focused
and cost-effective way to introduce new innovative ornamental plant genetics to
the North American market. We utilize an intelligent, extremely selective plant
introduction process and work to ensure a higher level of finished product quality
and fulfillment from the plant breeder to the end grower. As a collaborative
network, GardenChoice is organized to help the breeder take the very best of
their new plant developments to market.”











Melanie Byrne

The cancellation of trials

According to Melanie Byrne, Administrating Executive, one of the biggest
challenges since their full launch in 2019, has been the cancellation of the public
trials. “Especially in 2020, when many events were cancelled, we had a lot of
material prepared to go to trials. Especially as we are mainly dealing with
introductions, it is important that people get to see the flowers in person. We can
make our flowers look good in photos, but to really get people excited about a
new product it is important for them to see its performance at a trial. In addition,
it is difficult to bring people into the network when you are not able to meet in
person. Therefore, we are glad things are improving and events are slowly
returning. Especially next year, we are hoping that everyone is able to see our
materials at trials.”

The Rudbeckia MiniBeckia Flame











Successful launch

Yet GardenChoice has proven that they have still been able to successfully
introduce new varieties. An example is their new Rudbeckia MiniBeckia™ Flame,
which made an appearance at Ohio State University. “This variety is from the
breeding of Rick Grazzini of Garden Genetics and it is a self-branching Rudbeckia
with a compact habit, that will show continuous bloom for 8+ weeks. It has been
tremendously successful and has been selling incredibly well. We are exciting to
see how well it is going to do at upcoming trials.”

For more information:
GardenChoice Network (

Publication date: Wed 11 Aug 2021
Author: Elvira Oosterbaan