December 31, 2009

Top Stories, Conversations And Videos Of 2009

Top News Stories: #1 Hines Announces New Name & Management Team One of the year’s most-read stories was about Hines Horticulture, the company’s rebranding as Hines Nurseries back in April and the unveiling of its new management team. The story also generated a couple dozen comments from readers reacting to the story. #2 Disease Costs Bonnie Plants $1M In Recall The Late Blight epidemic that struck the Northeast this year was one of the most-talked-about stories of the summer. Bonnie Plants was at the center of the scandal, which led to a he-said, she-said debate between the company, university officials and growers.  #3 SUV Crashes Into Michigan Greenhouse This September 2009 story didn’t generate the reader reaction the Hines Nurseries and Late Blight stories did earlier in the year, but the unimaginable sight of an overturned SUV that crashed into a Michigan greenhouse still caught the attention of our eager readers.  #4 Anna Ball’s […]

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December 30, 2009

Not Afraid Of Change Anymore

My wife Susan and I made the big decision about a year ago. We decided to move from our old, very comfortable house to a new location in Athens, Ga. It was time. The house was too big, the stairs too steep and the commute too long. None of those reasons particularly validated a move, and we certainly could have stayed. But after lots of waffling and indecision, we determined we should just do it. Regardless of the verdict, though, I was having a lot of trouble with it.   For me, the house was not the problem. I could live in a mud hut and be just fine. For me, it was our garden, a place filled with magnificent trees I could stroll with a cup of tea. Our garden was a long-term testing laboratory for so many new annuals and perennials–it was a real garden I could show […]

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December 30, 2009

Steamy Tropicals And Foliage

    Kalanchoe thyrsiflora `Fantastic’ is a new variegated version of the popular flapjack/paddle plant.  It has all the positive traits of the non-variegated form with the addition of a rich gold variegation, which accents the red margins of the leaves.     ‘Zing’ is a breakthrough hybrid for a large flowering anthurium, in that it is heat tolerant and disease resistant. Brilliant red flowers contrast perfectly above glossy green foliage. Flowers are long lasting and the color is vivid even during summer temperatures. It’s recommended for 6- to 10-inch containers.   With a long-lasting deep rose color, neoregelia ‘Puppy Love’ is excellent for the interior or tropical landscape. Unlike other neoregelia, Oglesby hybrids develop vivid color before the natural bloom cycle, giving the consumer extended beauty and value. Six months or more of color is not unusual. ‘Puppy Love’ is low maintenance and virtually disease-free with low water requirements. […]

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December 30, 2009

Up Close On Ray Petunia

Danziger’s Ray varieties are well established in the marketplace and known to growers for incredible garden performance, dependable plant vigor, superior heat tolerance and improved disease resistance. Plants are covered with an attractive canopy of very large flowers. Flower size measures about 3.5 inches in diameter.   The series includes six breeding innovations: Candy Pink Ray, Purple Ray, Purple Vein Ray, Red Ray, Sun Ray (yellow) and White Ray.   Rays have a naturally compact habit and superior center branching, making for endless possibilities in patio combinations, borders, landscape, hanging baskets, window boxes and pots of all sizes. Rays are self cleaning, easy to grow, sun loving and self maintaining. They are very desirable to the commercial grower and the homeowner. Culture Tips Media: Use a sterile, well-drained soil with a pH range of 5.5 to 6.2. Water and let soil dry between irrigations. Too much water, lack of oxygen […]

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December 30, 2009

Oglesby Plants: Liner Pioneers

    Young Plant Possibilities “The young plant division is built around the idea that not everyone wants to wean plants from tissue culture,” Oglesby President Gary Hennen says. “We offer plants already grown, already greenhouse hardened and it makes customers’ lives much easier.” Since Oglesby started selling liners in 1978, the young plant division has leaped ahead, becoming the company’s largest component. More than 150,000 square feet of greenhouse space is dedicated to converting microcuttings to stage IV young plants. To help meet their uncompromising quality standards, Oglesby’s facilities employ a mix of advanced technology. Poly and polycarbonate greenhouses are computer climate-controlled and equipped with rolling European-style benches, cooling pads and Nexus shade and heat-retention systems. “Oglesby has maintained a very high bar on quality through the long history of the company,” Dagen says. “People rely on us to deliver the highest quality possible on our young plant liners.” […]

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December 29, 2009

Become A Business Driver

Finishing up 2009 and heading in to 2010, it feels like we’ve entered a new era in the greenhouse floriculture industry, like we’ve come out the other end of a long and somewhat painful transition. For the last 10 years, we’ve been collectively bracing ourselves for a lot of what has happened: more growing operations of all sizes leaving the industry and a mature market where overall sales are flat. As some businesses leave, others are gaining market share. While some of this is normal and generational with growers retiring without successors, for others it’s an inability to compete and turn a profit. This is especially true when owners don’t reinvest in their business over time and have dilapidated structures and use inefficient methods. If you’re running the business the same as you did 20 years ago, chances are, you have fallen behind. Those who made it through 2009 on […]

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December 29, 2009

State Of The Industry: Driving Sales In A Down Economy

At a time when so many companies are filled with doom and gloom, we’re seeking out the success stories–growers who are defying the recession and excelling. The three growers we’re featuring offer strategies you can implement in your business. Dedication & Reputation Bettinger Farms in Swanton, Ohio, near Toledo is mostly focused on spring production, serving independent garden centers in the South and Eastern Midwest. At a time when maintaining sales is the new up, Bettinger’s sales continue to grow–12 percent in 2007, 3 percent in 2008 and 4 percent in 2009. The business was founded in 1940 by the legendary Leonard Bettinger, a pioneer in the bedding plant revolution. The 11-acre operation is now run by son Ron Bettinger, his son Brian and John Pawlaczyk. “Even though the company has gone through many changes in the past 50 years, the key to our company’s success hasn’t changed–excellent employees and […]

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December 29, 2009

Four Questions With Linda Reindl

1. Project Carbon…why is this research effort important, and what are you hoping will come out of it? In 2009, the National Foliage Foundation (NFF) funded the project called Quantification of Carbon Assimilation in Interiorscape Plants. Tag-named Project Carbon: this project, being conducted by University of Georgia researchers, Drs. Bodie Pennisi and Marc van Iersel, seeks to provide supporting data to substantiate the argument for using indoor plants as part of sustainable certification programs such as LEED. LEED is a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. Architects, landscape architects, facility managers, engineers, interior designers, construction managers, lenders and government officials all use LEED as a measure of a building’s green efficiency and, as you likely know, the LEED status is a prestigious and highly sought designation among green builders. While plants are recognized as a green building […]

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December 29, 2009

State Of The Industry: Top Trends For 2010

Much of what we can expect to see in 2010 is a progression of what we saw in 2009. Here are the top 10 trends shaping the greenhouse floriculture industry. 1. Supply Chain Correction The industry had been in a state of oversupply for a long time. The past two years, we’ve seen growers become more conservative with production. One reason for this shift is the advent of pay by scan or vendor managed inventory, where growers only get paid for plants rung through the cash register. The dumpster is no longer a paying customer. Another is fear to committing to too much inventory that’s not presold. Wholesale growers who successfully serve independent retailers are used to driving a lot of sales on speculation, but across the board, our industry is minimizing risk. This was clearly evident this past poinsettia season. While growers overproduced in 2008 and threw a lot […]

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December 28, 2009

Make It Happen Again

Every obstacle presents an opportunity. Our industry has taken advantage of opportunities before, and now we have to do it again. At Christmas, you could see big changes in approach occurring at the major retailers. The major Christmas toy sales started in mid-October, and the major toy stores and mega-chains started selling toys at year-end prices. Walmart had a Black Friday sale that lasted all day and all night. Brand name toys were selling at $10 apiece, with hundreds of different toys priced in this range. Kmart advertised layaway plans with little or no interest that attracted many early buyers and also helped them pay for purchases made in October over a three-month period. If you read any of the business magazines, you’ve realized the large retailers were going to get their product early and sell as much as they could at discount prices. Their goal was to make certain […]

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