Meet the Breeders: Flamingo Holland, Plant Development Services

22-09-2021    10:54   |    Greenhouse Grower

In the coming weeks, the team at Greenhouse Grower will present “Meet the Breeders”, a closer look at the people behind the plants. This week, you can learn more about Hartwig Bull at Flamingo Holland and Robert “Buddy” Lee at Plant Development Services, Inc.

Hartwig Bull, Flamingo Holland

Hartwig Bull, Flamingo Holland

Rudbeckia ‘Sunbeckia’ from Flamingo Holland was bred in Germany by Hartwig Bull of Bull Breeding. Bull has been in the horticulture industry his entire life, his parents owning a greenhouse business in his youth. As the time came, he and his wife, Ulrike, took over the family business, further developing the breeding his father had started in annuals and perennials.

Because of this family history, Bull understands the needs of the greenhouse grower and breeds from a grower point of view.

Bull and his team focus their breeding efforts on season-extending crops: plants that are innovative but also have amazing shelf life, eye catching appeal, and are easy to grow. His goal was and continues to be to leave the field of mainstream production and find niche markets, making his products available to growers of all sizes. Bull’s main crops of focus are Rudbeckia Hirta, Perennial Helianthus, and Echinacea.

The Sunbeckia series was introduced commercially in North America in 2021 with strong reception. It is available exclusively through Flamingo Holland.

Robert “Buddy” Lee, Plant Development Services, Inc.

Robert “Buddy” Lee, Plant Development Services, Inc.

Lee focuses on azaleas and ornamental shrubs. His recent plant varieties include Encore Azalea ‘Autumn Majesty’ and Encore Azalea ‘Autumn Starburst’, ‘White Wedding’ Hydrangea, ‘Diamond Spire, Gardenia, and Distyliums ‘Cast in Bronze’ and ‘Jewel Box’ for the Sunset and Southern Living Plant Collections.

“Plant performance, for both consumers and wholesale growers, is top of mind with my work,” Lee says. “We’re always looking toward breeding easier-to-propagate plants, strong tolerance to pest and environmental stressors, and the repeat blooms that are the hallmark of so many of our varieties. We’re breeding and selecting for plants that are adaptable, easy to maintain, and in many cases, more compact or water-wise, for today’s modern garden. “

Lee says he’s had a passion for azaleas ever since he was a teen growing them on his parents’ dairy farm in Folsom, LA.

“We’ve come a long way since then; the Encore line started with the introduction of ‘Autumn Rouge’ in the 1990s, and today we offer 33 different varieties and counting,” he says. “Right now, I’m really excited about the multi-colored patterned blooms on some of the latest releases, like the coral-on-white stars of Autumn Starburst. Encore is widely recognized as the gold standard in reblooming azaleas. It’s an azalea that revolutionized the traditional azalea industry, and several key factors differentiate our reblooming azaleas. Chief among them is that we’ve developed a plant that’s easy to care for and adaptable to many different climates and regions by being more tolerant of full to part sun and cold-hardy.”

Source and All Photo Courtesy of Greenhouse Grower

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