December 15, 2008

Ones To Watch: Matt Mart

As part of Greenhouse Grower’s 25th anniversary, we’ve been profiling people we expect to shape the industry for the better over the next 25 years. Now in its 25th and final week online, our Ones To Watch series concludes with Matt Mart of Amerinova Age – 37 His Job – Matt is executive director at Amerinova, a EuroAmerican plant licensing company that helps market varieties. Fresh Thinking – A huge part of EuroAmerican’s business philosophy is new product development. Matt says to keep an eye on the succulent market and low water-use plants. “Invest in new products and programs,” he says. “Learn from the ‘old,’ but don’t hang on to it. Accept that we in horticulture are like any other business with its pluses and minuses.” Twenty-Five Years From Now – The industry will be consolidated globally. “As wealth shifts, so will markets,” Matt says. “New products will continue to […]

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December 15, 2008

Industry Leader Named As Replacement To Standards Committee

The three open seats on the committee developing a national standard for sustainable agriculture have been filled, and one representative from the floriculture industry is among the recent additions. Theodore Johnson of Freshblooms and its parent company, Delaware Valley Floral Group, was named to the committee. He replaces Tom Leckman of Sierra Flower Trading, who resigned from his post about a month ago. Other industry members include – Jim Barrett of the Environmental Horticulture Department at the University of Florida–Hans Brand of B&H Flowers–Will Healy of Ball Horticultural Co.–Juan Carlos Isaza-Cassolis of Asocolflores–Stan Pohmer of Pohmer Consulting Group–Jacques Wolbert of MPS-ECAS; and–Mark Yelanich of Metrolina Greenhouses For more information on the standards committee and its progress, visit www.leonardoacademy.org.

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December 15, 2008

Make 2009 A Turning Point

Surprise, surprise! We’re officially in recession mode now, and we have been for more than a year. The National Bureau of Economic Research made the formal announcement as we prepared this year-opening issue for press, but the story seemed more like back-page news at the time because American consumers were busy making a contradictory statement on Black Friday and the days that ensued. Consumers made their statement with their hard-earned dollars, flooring analysts who expected to hear cricket chirps in the early mornings at retail stores across the country. Black Friday, of course, is an aberration in the retail world, but it’s always been used as a gauge for our willingness to spend over the holiday season. This most recent Black Friday should, however, serve as a barometer for even more to our industry. Last year was rough for some growers, yes, and the economic forecast for this year is […]

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December 15, 2008

A New Take On Poinsettias

Lloyd Traven at Peace Tree Farm in Kintnersville, Pa., has created a new look for the poinsettia this holiday season. He calls it a Christmas Tree and poinsettia all in one. They are being grown in limited numbers and can set independent garden centers apart by offering a different take on the time-honored tradition of poinsettias at the holidays. Peace Tree Farm also offers unique poinsettias like standards that are up to five feet tall and a desktop version, as well. For more, contact Lloyd Traven at [email protected] or call 610-847-8152.

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December 15, 2008

Stepables Amps Up Its Marketing

The masterminds behind the Stepables national line of branded plants have come up with the Tough Ten list of creeping perennials that can withstand a wide range of conditions. These were chosen for versatility and their robust habits. The plants will be featured in marketing and point-of-purchase materials throughout 2009, which will include a new, buffed-up Stepables guy. The Tough Ten are: –Sagina subulata (Irish Moss)–Sagina subulata ‘Aurea’ (Scotch Moss)–Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper)–Mazus reptans (Purple Mazus)–Thymus praecox ‘Pseudolanuginosus (Woolly Thyme)–Thymus serpyllum ‘Elfin’ (Miniature Thyme)–Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’ (Golden Creeping Jenny)–Sedum spurium (John Creech)–Ajuga hybrid ‘Chocolate Chip’ (Dwarf Bungleweed)–Lotus corniculatus ‘Plenus’ (Double Birds Foot Trefoil) Find out more about these and nine new varieties introduced for 2009 at www.stepables.com.

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December 15, 2008

BenchPress Profile: Kasey Cronquist

Since joining the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC) in October 2007, Kasey Cronquist has spearheaded an aggressive public affairs program targeting lawmakers in both Sacramento and Washington, D.C. He led a historic grower-exporter relations tour to Colombia, allowing growers to experience the production dynamics of California’s largest overseas competitor. Be sure to check out Cronquist’s blog. What are a couple of projects or initiatives you’ve tackled for CCFC of which you’re particularly proud? “We organized that trip to Colombia and it was unique in that it hadn’t been done before by the commission. We decided this type of networking among industry people would be very important. We are a competitive industry, but there are also opportunities of cooperation and synergy that can be built. The trip to Colombia was an example of that. “We wound up going down there and learning about their growing techniques, and I think one of […]

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December 11, 2008

Audio: In Their Own Words

In our 25th anniversary issue, our essayists shared their thoughts on the next 25 years in floriculture. Listen here for audio from eight of our essayists about the future of the industry.      You need Adobe Flash Player to view.      

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December 10, 2008

Dean Chaloupka Stepping Down As FPG President

Dean Chaloupka, president and CEO of Floral Plant Growers (FPG), will embark on a new career after 25 years with the company. He’ll continue to serve FPG through his new position at the Visions Group, a consulting firm for the industry, while Scott Lueder takes over as president and CEO. Chaloupka, who served as CEO of Floral Plant Growers since 2001, is stepping down from his post Friday. The Visions Group recently helped FPG earned VeriFlora certification, and Chaloupka will continue to provide his long-time company consulting services in the future. Lueder, meanwhile, assumes Chaloupka’s position. He joined the company in 1999, later served as CFO and most recently held the position of COO.

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December 9, 2008

Thrive In Any Economy

OFA, along with other green industry partners, are sponsoring a one-hour long webinar Thursday, Dec. 18 at 1 p.m. EDT to help you succeed despite the current state of the economy. Registration is free. The webinar’s speakers are Jim Paluch, Mark Hjelle, Blake Smith, Jim McCutcheon, Stephen Hillenmeyer and Paul Olsen. They’ll address strategies to retain the best employees, develop the next leaders and build a foundation for a great business while strategically planning and looking toward the future. Register online to reserve your spot.

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December 9, 2008

Tackling Invasives At Pest Management

The 25th annual Pest Management Conference, presented by Society of American Florists and Greenhouse Grower, will feature more than 25 expert-led sessions in San Jose, Calif.  New and emerging pests, strategies for resistance, tricks to reduce weeds, dealing with viruses and managing invasives–an item that’s surely on the top of your mind–are among the many topics experts will discuss. Don’t forget to register early to save, and keep an eye on Benchrunner in the coming weeks for more details about the experts’ presentations. The conference takes place Feb. 19-21, and attendees can earn credits toward their pesticide applicator recertification while there. Just be sure to bring your state-issued applicator or certification number. And don’t forget about the optional growing operations tour Feb. 19. Attendees will visit local operations to see what exactly those growers are doing to manage pests and diseases. For more information on the conference or to register, visit www.pestconference.org. You’ll find more on recertification […]

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December 9, 2008

Ones To Watch: John Mossel

As part of Greenhouse Grower’s 25th anniversary, we’ve been profiling people we expect to shape the industry for the better over the next 25 years. Now in its 24th week online, our Ones To Watch series continues with John Mossel of Grand Flower Growers in Wayland, Mich. Age–31 His Job – John has been a co-owner of Grand Flower Growers since 2000. He operates the business with his brother, Todd. Teaming Up – Grand Flower Growers does most of its business with Home Depot. Behind the scenes, John helps manage many of Home Depot’s national corporate initiatives for tagging, containers and genetics. Quotable – “Surround yourself with people who are more talented than you.” Bob Sedlatschek, live goods senior merchant for Home Depot, gave that advice to John, who says it’s the best business tip he’s received. Opportunities & Challenges – In the short term, Grand Flower Growers is expanding […]

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December 9, 2008

Orchids Like You’ve Never Seen Them Before

DeLeon’s Bromeliads in Goulds, Fla., unveiled a series of 2-inch Phalaenopsis orchids late last week called Miniature Moments, which are designed to serve as the ideal blooming desktop plant. Miniature Moments are shipped in 2.5-inch clay pots and arranged in trays that can easily be positioned near garden center cash registers. Each shipping box of Miniature Moments contains two 12-pack display trays, and DeLeon’s is making the series available on a weekly schedule. Be sure to check out the mini orchids in person at the TPIE show next month from Jan. 15-17. The show is taking place at the Ft. Lauderdale Convention Center in Florida, and DeLeon’s will be set up at booth No. 620.

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December 9, 2008

Plant Partner Users Have A Handheld Option

Growers using Starcom’s Plant Partner can now plug in that technology to use SBI handhelds in the greenhouse to manage inventory. Users can sync their SBI handhelds, and 100 percent of their Plant Partner inventory is updated to the handheld. Users can use the handheld in the greenhouse to plant, count, cycle count and dump. And once users sync the handhelds back to the system, the changes are updated in Starcom inventory. For more information, visit www.sbinursery.com.

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December 9, 2008

New Online Forum For Growers, Retailers & Landscapers

We’d like to invite you to join our new online community, Fresh Air Forum, from Greenhouse Grower, Today’s Garden Center and Ornamental Outlook magazines. In our new community, you can create a profile, upload an image and post messages to forums–ask or answer questions or have a chat with another member. We’ve also created groups for growers, retailers and landscapers. Join the groups that apply to you! Right now on Fresh Air Forum, members are discussing topics like poinsettia sales, the recession and how to reach the next generation. Jump into the forum right now, give your two cents and start your own discussions. Find it at www.FreshAirForum.com.

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December 9, 2008

NHGC Gives Flower Carpet Rose Seal Of Approval

‘Flower Carpet Pink Supreme’ rose earned a 96 percent approval rating in a nationwide consumer test and, consequently, earned the National Home Garden Club (NHGC) seal of approval. Pink Supreme now has the rights to carry the NHGC seal of approval on its packaging and in its advertising. The results were announced in the January-February 2009 issue of the NHGC’s official magazine, Gardening How-To. “This is a great endorsement from the people who are most important: gardeners,” says Anthony Tesselaar, president of Tesselaar Plants, which introduced Flower Carpet roses in the United States. “Pink Supreme is one of the Next Generation Flower Carpets, with 20 years advanced breeding.” Flower Carpet Pink Supreme is the second Next Generation Flower Carpet groundcover rose to receive the NHGC seal. In 2007, ‘Flower Carpet Scarlet’ received the honor, earning a 90 percent approval rating. For more information on Flower Carpet roses, go to www.flowercarpet.com.

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December 9, 2008

Two New Roses Added To Easy Elegance Collection

The Easy Elegance Rose Collection has new additions for Spring 2009: ‘High Voltage’ and ‘Kashmir.’ Both roses have large, full blooms that are ideal for landscapes and containers, and feature disease resistance for greater success. ‘High Voltage’ provides beautiful medium yellow flowers with an upright growth pattern. Hardy in Zones 4-9, double blooms are 2 to 3 inches wide. Its petal count is 22. ‘Kashmir’ features soft wine-colored petals that mature into a breathtaking rich hybrid tea bloom. Blooms measure 3 inches, and it is hardy to Zones 4-9. The rose’s petal count is 50. For more information, visit www.EasyEleganceRoses.com.

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December 8, 2008

View: Jerry Montgomery On Big Box Poinsettias

Marketing consultant Jerry Montgomery visited an assortment of Home Depot, Lowe’s and Walmart garden centers in North Florida two weekends ago and shared his assessment of each retailer’s poinsettias with us. He concluded Walmart will lead the poinsettia sales charge, although sales will be soft this season. Introduction Although there were a lot of shoppers out (Nov. 28-29), there was not much activity in the garden centers of the three national retailers with the exception of Walmart, where many shopping carts contained poinsettias. On Black Friday, Home Depot promoted 5-inch poinsettias at $0.99 each, and Lowe’s promoted a quart poinsettia at $1.49. These were both “door-buster” specials seemingly with minimal impact. Home Depot Of the three national retailers, Home Depot had the smallest inventories and a limited number of SKUs compared to Lowe’s. Home Depot did, however, have the best Christmas we have seen in many years produced by Peckett’s […]

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December 3, 2008

Software Partnerships And Integration

Unity within our industry is a huge catalyst for growth so we are committed to expanding our value through strategic partnerships and integrations. Our most recent partnership and integration is with Ball Seed. It will allow growers to receive purchase orders (PO) from Ball Seed, confirm plantings of POs, verify weekly availability and receive shipments all electronically over the Internet. In the future, more growers will demand from technology the ability to produce better products more efficiently. This is why we believe handhelds and production management software are the future.  In a nutshell, handhelds increase inventory visibility while reducing labor and increasing accuracy. Production management software gives growers the ability to manage production based on historical data, not just intuition, which will ultimately help grow better product with less resources. Another piece of technology on the horizon for us is the use of radio-frequency identification (RFID). With RFID, truckloads of plants […]

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December 3, 2008

Delivering Content In 2033

Before the Internet, the way we shared information hadn’t changed too much over the last 100 years. Though the technologies and mediums have evolved, the media operated in a one-to-many model – I’m one person talking to many of you. The Internet has changed all that. A Glimpse Into The Future As I write this, my husband is at a software developers conference. Thousands of computer geeks are there, attending several sessions over five days, and milling around a pretty good-sized trade show. There’s really little need for traditional magazine coverage of the show to get the gist of what happened, though. Why? Because of Twitter – the microblogging site used by people all over the world to make their voices heard. Attendees themselves are reporting from cell phones and laptops. Hundreds of posts per minute, on everything that’s going on. And I mean everything – whether the speakers are […]

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December 3, 2008

Remember When…

Q: Share an example of how you’re producing crops differently now than in 1983. A: We started out in the 1980s growing in recycled cut-off milk cartons (waxed paper) that we collected year-round before moving to plastic pots and packs later in the 80s. Now, we are back to growing in biodegradable pots, but they are made of rice hulls. Q: How has pricing changed? Can you give an example of prices you are getting now for products compared to 1983? A: The business started out as Mom’s hobby, so pricing in 1983 was based on what Mom thought things were worth. Now, my brother and I have increased pricing to what our customers think they’re worth, particularly with the quality we grow. I don’t have exact figures from 1983, but we’re thinking tomato plants in cut-off quart milk cartons (equivalent to a 4.5-inch deep pot) were around $0.50, and […]

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