Color catalogs complete with care or culture are received each year ahead of order time, but in our experience marketers prefer to sell ideas and not realities. We look at the pictures, make our lists, then visit display gardens where we can judge for ourselves if new varieties live up to the hype they are given. Weather conditions may change how a plant performs, but if it doesn't look good as a live plant, then we don't put stock in it as a picture. Faded blooms and weak contrasting flower patterns were the most common misrepresentations found this year.
Branding is another favorite in marketing. When you see a Proven Winners plant in a Proven Winners pot, that is branding. Certain varieties sold by this internationally known brand requires it to be sold in their pot, leading to higher production costs in some cases. The pot may not add value to the plant, but it will add value to the brand and consumers aren't looking to buy the company - just the plant.
We hope this spring when you research new varieties ahead of roaming the aisles for what's new, you take the hype with a grain of salt or better yet, a grain of fertilizer. Happy growing.