December 22, 2008

Video: 25th Anniversary Editors’ Roundtable

Surely, you’ve soaked in some of our commemorative 25th anniversary issue by now, but you probably haven’t heard what Greenhouse Grower’s editors had to say about it themselves. Group Editor Richard Jones, Editor Delilah Onofrey, Online Editor Sara Tambascio and Associate Editor Kevin Yanik offered their thoughts on the year-end issue from the Meister Media Worldwide office in Willoughby, Ohio.

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December 22, 2008

Strategies For Resistance Management

There are a few new ways to reduce the likelihood of developing resistance to insecticides labeled for thrips. Scott Ludwig, a Texas AgriLife Extension Service entomologist and integrated pest management specialist who will discuss those methods and resistance issues in other pests at the 25th annual Pest Management Conference, recently shared a couple of thoughts on his topic as the conference approaches. What is the significance of your topic and recent findings growers should know about? “Insect pests go through cycles where they can be controlled and periods when the insecticides on the market are no longer effective. If proper insecticide resistance management plans are followed, then it is possible to prolong the length of the products that are currently on market. I will be discussing how growers can effectively manage thrips, whiteflies and other insects while preventing them from developing resistance.” Can you give us a snapshot preview of […]

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December 22, 2008

From Breeder To Market

On the way home from the group trip Fides hosted in South Africa (page 108), I spent two days visiting growers in Holland and Germany. I had the pleasure of spending an entire day with Ike Vlielander, who has devoted his career to breeding kalanchoes for Fides and helping growers succeed with their crops. In addition to visiting three Dutch growers who built their businesses on kalanchoes, we got up bright and early to visit the Flora Holland auction, which merged with the other large auction house in Aalsmeer this year. Inspired early on by legendary breeder Claude Hope, who had also worked with kalanchoe, Vlielander has introduced more than 160 varieties including the double-flowered Calandivas, which won six international awards in 2004. “When you think back 32 years ago, about 1 million kalanchoes were sold at the auction and grown from seed,” he says. “Now 100 million kalanchoe plants […]

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December 19, 2008

How Many Poinsettias Can You Fit In A Car?

While the poinsettia season has been disappointingly soft for growers and retailers, consumers are taking advantage of bargains. Gary Mangum of Bell Nursery shared a picture his representative Kevin Spear took in the parking lot of a BJ’s Wholesale Club in Philadelphia. The customer bought 30 10-inch poinsettias to give as gifts. The year before, he came too late and all the 10-inch were gone. Do you have any pictures to share of your holiday crops or a recap of the season? Send them to Editor Delilah Onofrey at donofrey@meistermedia.com and we’ll present them in a future edition of Benchrunner.

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December 19, 2008

Mercer Botanicals Now VeriFlora Certified

Mercer Botanicals, a tropicals grower featured on our January 2008 cover, is among the latest greenhouse growers to earn sustainability certification through VeriFlora. Last January, we wrote how Mercer Botanicals adopted the Southern Nursery Association’s Best Management Practices as a guide for environmentally sound growing. “We have committed to minimizing nitrate runoff by using both controlled release and liquid feed fertilizer in order to maintain an ideal EC and pH in our crops,” Co-owner Wayne Mercer said at the time. “Our feed schedule uses minimal pounds per yard of slow-release feed in 100 percent peat mix with supplemental liquid feeds only as required. We irrigate through low-volume heads with 85 percent plus uniformity.” Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) recognized Mercer Botanicals for those practices, among others. Five acres of the 50-acre nursery, for example, contain ponds that capture 100 percent of rainwater from Florida’s summer storms, and it operates by an […]

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December 18, 2008

A Last-Minute Holiday Gift Option

The American Florists’ Exchange and Los Angeles Flower Market recently published a book titled, “Sending Flowers to America: Stories of the Los Angeles Flower Market and the People Who Built an American Floral Industry.” The book retails at $64.95 and tells the tales of a few industry families. The Ecke family is among those featured, and the book is broken into chapters that tell the American floral industry’s story in chronological order. “Sending Flowers to America” contains 288 pages and more than 350 photos. “We are very pleased to present this archival quality record of the milestones in our history,” says Johnny Mellano, manager of the Los Angeles Flower Market and a grower whose family story is among those featured in the book. “These stories have been passed down to us through generations. It’s time we record them for those who follow in our footsteps and those across America who […]

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December 18, 2008

Rocky Mountain Poinsettia Report

Two weeks ago, marketing consultant Jerry Montgomery shared his assessment of retail poinsettias at North Florida box stores. This week, he offers his thoughts on poinsettias at independent garden centers and box stores in Denver, Colo. Introduction With less than 12 shopping days left, the roads were clogged and some retailers were extremely busy on Saturday, Dec. 13. Poinsettia inventories were fairly large, and most retailers were offering discounted prices ranging from 20 to 25 percent. At the national retailers, inventories were 90 percent red whereas independents like Paulino’s Garden Center, Echter’s, and Tagawa Garden Center offered an array of colors, novelties and painted poinsettias. Paulino’s Garden Center: One of the best marketers of poinsettias anywhere, featuring high-quality products that are very well merchandised on tables with appropriate spacing. They have really used the painted concept to differentiate themselves with unique artistic offerings. Echter’s Garden Center: A high-end retailer offering […]

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December 18, 2008

Too Much White Christmas

Louisiana growers have come to expect the multiple hurricanes that plow through their region each year to cause structural damage to their greenhouses. But snow? Two to eight inches of it fell in a single day across the state a couple of weeks ago, and the snow’s weight caused many greenhouses to collapse. Fifteen of 18 greenhouses at Poole Brothers Nursery’s main location were damaged recently by unexpected Louisiana snowfall. Thirty-five of the 70 greenhouses at Poole Brothers Nursery in the central Louisiana collapsed under the weight of the snow. Owner Debbie Head says six inches fell at the nursery’s main location in Lecompte, where three of 18 houses were left standing. Poole Brothers has five locations in all, and some of its affected structures were new. Astoundingly, Head says the snow-caused damages are worse than the wind and heavy rain damages her nursery’s structures sustained from hurricanes Gustav and […]

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December 18, 2008

The Classic City Awards: Perennials

The Classic City Awards are presented in November after months of evaluation in The Gardens at the University of Georgia. Click here for the lowdown on the top 10 perennials from 2008 for the 2009 market. Miscanthus ‘Gold Bar’ ‘Gold Bar’ has exceptional posture, providing a highly useful structure as a border plant. The half inch creamy yellow bars that accent each bright green blade are striking and lure the viewer as they approach the plant. In this, its second year in the garden, plants were two and a half feet tall at the peak of summer. Tricyrtis ‘Kohaku’ What an exquisite beauty! The lavender petals gradually fade into a blue center. From the center of the bloom, a light yellow pistil and stamens arise, speckled with burgundy. Gaura ‘Snow Fountain’  Cascading petals of white resemble falling snow frozen in time without the bite of cold weather. The brightness of […]

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December 17, 2008

Production Tips For Top Performers: Lavandula Stoechas

Figures 1a and b. The flowers of Spanish lavender or L. stoechas have showy, whimsical bracts on top of the inflorescence, reminiscent of bunny ears. Few plants can match the romantic appeal of lavender. The silvery foliage and drifts of flowers are lovely in their own right but are also evocative of old-world charm and idyllic sun-drenched Mediterranean settings. Lavender plants are surely one of the best choices to line a sunny garden path, where brushing against them as you pass will release that classic scent. In a container garden, people can enjoy the fragrance and spiked inflorescences up close. Lavender is produced commercially for its essential oil, valued in perfumes and also has some medicinal and culinary uses. In floriculture, lavender is a desirable and popular part of both the herb and ornamental segments of the market. Lavenders are also a very practical choice for modern gardeners since they […]

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