It is always nice to see the faces behind the breeding of our Perennials. On this page our Perennials breeders share their passion for their work.
Marie Bradford – Delphinium, Penstemon, Salvia among others
When I was given the opportunity to become a breeder at Floranova, I couldn't wait to let my creative juices flow and develop at least one variety that would become a market leader one day. I was given the task of working on Perennial crops, which was a new direction for Floranova, who were renowned breeding for largely annual and biennial species. Outside of work I have always loved many perennial species as they often add height and structure to the garden, so I was excited to take on this challenge.
Perennials are being used more as annuals now as they can be more sustainable in the garden and give the consumer more value for money. Heat tolerance, longer flowering window and the ability to over-winter are all added benefits of many perennial species, plus the option to cut the flowers and use indoors in a vase. Although I don't have anything to add to the assortment this year, my work is soon to come to fruition, so I look forward to seeing many of my perennial varieties introduced into the market in the coming years. Exciting times!
Todd Perkins - Coreopsis, Gaillardia and Rudbeckia
I have been breeding flowers since 1986 and breeding in Gilroy for a Syngenta legacy company since 1988. I have bred many products, including biennials and annuals species. I began breeding perennials by annualizing the Aquilegia in the hopes of making it a more mainstream and visible to the gardening customer. Additional breeding goals have been: Extended flowering, limited or no cycling out of flower, increased floriferousness, increased flower size, richer colors, improved greenhouse production, broad garden utility.
My original hope in breeding was to do things that had not been done before, bring high performing crops to the grower and gardener and add enduring color to the world. My dream was to see my products being produced on an industrial scale and also being enjoyed in tiny gardens and window boxes around the world.There are several breedings success. Annualizing Aquilegia was a long shot and a challenging puzzle. Hybrid Rudbeckia was extremely challenging and was almost abandoned several times before going commercial.
Monique Juist – 18 species… From Achillea to Salvia
From my first day on I started in perennials. That was 22 years ago! Almost all crops I accompany from the start of the breeding until the finished product, which brings me a lot of joy. My main crops are Helleborus and Gaultheria. I am very proud of the well-known market leader variety Helleborus Christmas Carol and Gaultheria Big Berry!
Silvan Kamstra – Lavandula, Sedum, Campanula among others
What I love about perennials is the huge variation of the different products. With my PhD in Plant Breeding I have a good link to our research department, which leads me to finding new ways of breeding and creating new exciting products. I have been working in plant breeding for over 25 years and since 2019 for Syngenta Flowers. I have a big assortment of 15 perennial crops which I am breeding at the moment.
Like choosing between your children, I have no perennial favorite. Every product has its charm and I am always exciting about the season's perennial. The latest addition in my own garden are very nice looking saxifragas.
Jaemin Lee – Helenium, Echinacea, Coreopsis among others
Working as a breeder for annual crops for Syngenta Flowers since 1998, I started two years ago to also breed perennials such as Coreopsis, Erysimum and Helenium. I'm really passionate about the fact that perennial crops gain more and more attention in flower breeding. The focus of my work lays in breeding perennials with beautiful intense colors, broad flowers and an attractive branching. Next to that productivity is a main factor in breeding a successful crop. I am applying here the experience I gained with annuals to perennial crops. My favorite perennial at the moment is ErysimunErysimum. It has a different type of flower and habit, which makes it a nice crop to breed.