A colorful side of life

Flowers of all colors cover the greenhouses at Goldsmith Seeds

Gilroy
– A patch of impatiens next to a pond in Taiwan or geraniums in
a provincial French courtyard could easily have traveled a path
that started in Gilroy, where each year the Goldsmith family holds
a spring flower show for plant distributors and growers from around
the world.
Gilroy – A patch of impatiens next to a pond in Taiwan or geraniums in a provincial French courtyard could easily have traveled a path that started in Gilroy, where each year the Goldsmith family holds a spring flower show for plant distributors and growers from around the world.

Crowds of industry pros this week are roaming through the greenhouses at Goldsmith Seeds, off Hecker Pass Highway, checking out the latest varieties of bedding plants produced by the Goldsmiths and three other family-run plant businesses.

Soru Lin, a plant distributor from Taiwan, laughed when asked which plants caught his fancy as he spent Thursday making his rounds.

“That’s a big question,” he said. “Because Taiwan is a tropical area, we’re normally looking for humidity-proof [plants].”

He and an assistant joined other buyers in plying expert staff with questions about the thousands of plants spread over rows of tables. Lin’s list of potential buys included the Goldsmith family’s impatiens and petunias.

Joel Goldsmith, whose father started the family business in Gilroy in the 1960s, explained that the impatiens are a popular item among both growers and distributors, although they tend to look for different things.

Distributors usually ask about the availability of seeds and the germination rate – the percentage of seeds in each batch that actually bloom, Goldsmith said. Growers ask more specific questions, focusing on growing techniques and the need for growth regulators, chemicals that slow the growth rate of a plant and prolong its life in bloom.

Impatiens are among the family’s most popular offerings, Goldsmith said, because they have a competitive advantage that appeals to both distributors and growers.

“You can grow ours with a fraction of the growth regulators,” Goldsmith explained. “That will save $3,000 per acre for professional growers.”

That selling point was not lost on Rick Michell, whose family’s plant distribution business has long worked with Goldsmith. In fact, Michell’s first foray into the world of horticultural involved a post-collegiate internship at Goldsmith’s in 1982.

“The impatiens are very interesting, ” Michell said. “We buy then from Goldsmith’s in bulk and sell to large seller-growers that (in turn) sell to (retail) chains. Everybody uses impatiens. The goal is to reduce growers’ costs, and these use less plant growth regulators.”

The Goldsmith family began its plant shows in 1967, five years after starting the business. The company now has greenhouses in Guatemala and Holland, where they grow their colder-weather plants.

“We were the only ones doing it at first,” Goldsmith said referring to the family’s plant show. “Now there are 25 locations up and down California doing shows this week.”

While the plant show keeps the Goldsmiths and three other family-run plant businesses attuned to their customers, it also serves as a boon for the local community.

Each year, after the crowds of international buyers have returned home with their list of top choices, the family gets together with the local Rotary Club to sell off its flowers for charity.

This year, the flower sale takes place on April 16, from 8am to 1pm, at Goldsmith Seeds, 2280 Hecker Pass Highway.

Flower Show ready to go

Gilroy – When the crowds of plant buyers and growers have tucked away their notepads and cleared out of the Goldsmith family’s greenhouse, Gilroyans will once again have the chance to stock up on the newest varieties of geraniums, impatiens and dozens of other bedding plants.

Goldsmith Seeds, off Hecker Pass Highway, hosted one of 25 plant shows held throughout California this week. The family’s show, which began in the 1960s and now attracts major plant distributors and growers from around the world, long ago found a natural way to give back to the community. For more than 30 years, the family has sold off its plants to benefit local charities following its week-long trade show. This year, the plant show, which is run by the local Rotary Club, will take place on April 16.

The flower show runs from 8am to 1pm, but local plant enthusiasts line up as early as 6:30 in the morning to lay claim to the thousands of bedding plants, according to Councilman Craig Gartman, who serves as chair for this year’s plant show.

“If you’re the first ones there you get the best selection,” he said. “Generally it’s the first three or four hours that are craziest.”

Last year the event raised $48,000, half of which went toward a scholarship fund for horticultural students. The other half supported a number of Rotary charity programs, including scholarships, a youth leadership camp and Rotary International’s health and disaster relief programs.

For more information, visit www.goldsmithseeds.com.

What

Rotary Club Flower Sale

When

April 16, 8am to 1pm

Where

Goldsmith Seeds, 2280 Hecker Pass Highway

Leave your comments