Hello and Goodbye: 2023 Costa Season Premiere
There are some industry events that have been a staple for me throughout my career. Then there are others that I’m finally making my way to in my current role with Darwin Perennials after hearing all about them for years. Costa Season Premiere hosted at the headquarters of Costa Farms in Miami, FL, was one that I finally made it to — and just in time, as my first year attending would also be the last year this event will be held!
Costa Farms has 5,200 acres and grows more than 1,500 varieties of houseplants alone. For many years now, Costa Farms has opened their expansive trial garden to visitors including breeders, brokers, growers, and garden centers for this industry-renowned event. Their trial garden includes row beds, as well as beautifully landscaped areas for in-ground performance. There is also a wonderful selection of mixed containers and hanging baskets that had me imagining my outdoor patio décor for this season. The varieties in the row beds are planted in December and this event showcases their peak spring performance before getting into the more brutal summer heat and humidity Florida is known for.
Sunny Miami in the first few days of March, while Winter is still going strong in Pennsylvania, has its own allure. Yet, add in an opportunity to get a first look at the industry’s new introductions for 2024 and you can see why so many people flock to this event. Held before California Spring Trials (CAST), this event gives attendees a chance to see all the new releases from breeding companies around the world in one single location. Representatives from those companies are then on-hand to present their new varieties and answer any questions ranging from supply to technical support.
For Darwin Perennials, Seth Reed and I were on-hand to talk about our new lineup. It was great to interact with so many industry colleagues and hear what they are enthusiastic about. We had our new 2024 introductions in the row beds along with some tried-and-true varieties like recent AAS winner Salvia Blue By You, bright golden-foliaged Caryopteris Gold Crest, the easy-to-schedule Penstemon Rock Candy series, the industry-leading Echinacea Sombrero series, as well as shade-loving Brunnera Frostbite.
You can tell Costa Farms has been hosting this event for years, as we were warmly welcomed, and the event ran like a well-oiled machine. There were elegant touches everywhere with an espresso bar in the morning, and an opportunity for happy hour complete with a specialty cocktail followed by dinner in the garden. It was great to see so many industry friends while enjoying 80-degree temps in an expansive trial garden in full bloom. The overall mood was decidedly upbeat, and the talk was of a strong start to Spring in the South, which we are all hoping will continue as the season moves up the coast!