A reply I made last week to a commenter on one of my posts has prompted this post. At the time I was responding to a comment she made about Proven Winners and Proven Selections. We both find them to be, for the most part, exactly what they advertise.
I went on the say that a certain segment of the garden writing and speaking crowd that I’ve encountered scoffs at this particular grower/vendor. Perhaps it’s the name they don’t like. Perhaps it’s the whole concept of patented plants. But I do know that as I travel around I have heard more than my fair share of derision directed at this one company.
I’m not sure that’s a fair criticism. As I said in my comment, not everything I’ve grown by this company has been an absolute winner–but then again, I think about how many dud plants I’ve grown in my lifetime that had no one’s name on the side of a pot. It’s sure a heck of a lot more than the few duds I’ve had from Proven Winners.
So perhaps they’re just an easy target with that catchy name. And perhaps it’s just easy to scoff at someone in large commercial production–although if you know anything about the company, you’ll know that they are not a large company in and of themselves.
In fairness, I will disclose that I do receive shrubs to test from Proven Winners–but I must tell you, I also receive an awful lot of things to test that you never hear a word about on this blog because I don’t think they’re worthy of it. I don’t make my living trashing people’s products.
If someone is kind enough to send me something to test and I find it doesn’t work for me, I’m not going to write a scathing critique of it here. Because for all I know, it might work just fine for other folks. I have a really difficult site and difficult conditions and I’m sure not going to be responsible for saying that because it didn’t work for me, it won’t work for everyone.
So if you do hear an offhand dismissal of that company called Proven Winners, maybe you shouldn’t necessarily take it to heart unless that has been your personal experience–because I can assure you, in my experience, the vast majority of their annuals, perennials, shrubs and roses are indeed “winners!”