December 20, 2009

Metrolina’s Tom Van Wingerden Dies In Accident

We lost one of our industry’s greatest visionaries on Saturday when Tom Van Wingerden, founder of Metrolina Greenhouses in Huntersville, N.C, died in a utility vehicle accident early in the morning at the greenhouses. He was 63. Born in Holland on Feb. 12, 1946, Tom was one of the eldest children of Art and Cora Van Wingerden, who are credited with building the modern greenhouse floriculture industry in the United States. Tom immigrated to the United States in 1971 and started Metrolina a year later in his mid 20s. Today, Metrolina Greenhouses is ranked at No. 6 on our Top 100 Growers with the largest single-site location in the nation with 5.4 million square feet of greenhouse production on a 150-acre site. Beyond sheer size and excelling at serving the nation’s largest retailers, Metrolina has always been known for its pioneering use of technology, on the cutting edge of automation. […]

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December 18, 2009

North Florida Poinsettia Retail Report

With cool and wet weather, the traffic in many stores on Friday, December 4 was much lower than I anticipated. However, with less rain on Saturday, many stores experienced an increase in consumer shopping. By the afternoon of Saturday, December 5, the sun came out and more consumers were out shopping. Poinsettias were seen in many shopping carts and live Christmas trees were moving out at a furious pace. Walmart Walmart focused on high-volume items offering 6-inch, 6.5-inch, 1-gallon, 8-inch and a really nice poinsettia/foliage 12-inch bowl. The 8-inch poinsettia retailing for $9 was an exceptional value, as well as the poinsettia/foliage Bowl at $15. Walmart’s overall product quality from Metrolina Greenhouses was above average with good packaging and well-placed displays. The biggest challenge Walmart faces is having enough covered selling areas with some stores forced to sell in shade structures and outside areas. Overall, Walmart continues to upgrade its […]

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December 17, 2009

PIA Honors Todd Bachman Posthumously

Three long-time industry leaders were inducted into the Interior Plantscape Hall of Fame at the Interior Plantscape Hall of Fame and Plantscape Industry Alliance (PIA) awards banquet held during CalScape Expo in October. The 2009 Interior Plantscape Hall of Fame inductees are: –Richard Parker, Plantscaping Professional; –Tom Acklin, Allied Trade Professional; and –Todd Bachman, Posthumous Inductee   Nominations for the 2010 Interior Plantscape Hall of Fame are currently being accepted. All nominations are due January 8. Complete information about the Hall of Fame inductees and program may be found by clicking the Hall of Fame navigation bar at PIAgrows.org. CalScape Expo 2010 will be held in San Diego. E-mail pia@piagrows.org for more information.

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December 16, 2009

The Palazzo’s Poinsettia Polar Bears

The highly anticipated poinsettia polar bears have been unveiled at The Palazzo in Las Vegas. The flower topiaries are made up of 8,000 ‘Polar Bear’ poinsettias, and the tallest stands 16 feet high. Audra Danzak, horticulture director for The Palazzo and Venetian, developed the concept and enlisted world-renowned designer Stephen Stefanou of Design Solutions in Texas for the actual design and construction. Armstrong Growers and The Ecke Ranch worked together with Danzak and Stefanou to devise a way to keep the poinsettias in place and looking fresh. The structure incorporates a drip irrigation system that is supplemented with hand watering to keep the poinsettia polar bears looking fresh. The ‘Polar Bear’ poinsettias were planted one at a time by a crew of 12 people during the night for nearly a week. For each ‘Polar Bear’ poinsettia sold, the Ecke Ranch will make a donation to Polar Bears International (PBI). PBI […]

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December 16, 2009

Using Distribution Hubs

Producing a quality plant is just the first step. Finding an efficient and cost-effective way to get that quality plant from the greenhouse to the customer is something else entirely. A number of growers have responded by using distribution hubs to control delivery costs, get plants to their final destination in better shape, and in some cases, open doors to new opportunities and markets. Delivering New Relationships EuroAmerican Propagators’ efforts to refine its shipping schedules will most likely lead to improved deliveries for its propagation facility, as well as a number of fellow propagators in Southern California this spring. Rich Ouellet, EuroAmerican’s director of marketing and sales, says the Euro Transportation Team, led by manager Kenny Soles, spent a great deal of time over the last several months sorting through delivery records and building a historical picture of its last five years of orders. EuroAmerican used the information to develop a new […]

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December 16, 2009

Bailey Nurseries’ Bee Balm For Summer

This third edition to the Grand Bee Balm series, the Grand Mum Bee Balm starts blooming in mid-summer, showing off large, pink flowers and fragrant foliage. Its compact height of 20- to 24-inches makes it a good addition to your perennial garden, attracting hummingbirds, bees and butterflies. Grand Mum also makes a great container plant. Bred at the Morden Research Centre in Morden, Manitoba, Canada, Grand Mum features a tight, rounded habit with dark green leaves and square stems. Grand Mum is very disease resistant, easy to grow and hardy to Zone 3. For more on Grand Mum, visit BaileyNurseries.com.

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December 15, 2009

Poinsettia Retail Report

Marketing consultant Jerry Montgomery spent time last Friday visiting big box garden centers and supermarkets in Jacksonville, Fla. Here are his findings: December 11 was a cool overcast day with temperatures in the 40s, but it did not seem to deter shoppers as they were in abundance at most retailers. Poinsettias and live Christmas trees were moving off shelves at a good pace. As we get to the end of poinsettia season discounts were starting to appear on select items. Most inventories were leaning to more red with very few novelties available. Walmart With a focus on fewer but high volume SKUs and high-performing vendors, Walmart has clearly enhanced the poinsettia category. Some stores have built attractive displays that garner the attention of their customers. Walmart’s seemingly biggest challenge is the outside displays with the potential of frost and rain. Product quality and packaging has improved year over year and […]

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December 15, 2009

Four Questions With … John Bonner

As part of our State Of The Industry report, we asked industry leaders to answer questions about the state of all things greenhouse floriculture. John Bonner, general manager of Eagle Creek Wholesale in Mantua, Ohio, shares his take on the state of the industry this week. How would you describe the state of the greenhouse floriculture industry today? The industry is in flux and going through some serious changes. Has our industry entered a new era or paradigm shift? Please explain why or why not. Yes, the new paradigm is one of accountability for making sure not only our customer is successful, but even more importantly, the consumer. This mantra is rippling back through the supply channels. Creating value also seems to be the law of the land today. What are the greatest challenges growers are facing today? Our greatest challenges are creating programs and products that are relevant to […]

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December 15, 2009

Growing In The Mountain States

The last 30 years have been a steady climb for Olson’s Greenhouse serving national retailers in the Rocky Mountain States. Based just south of Salt Lake City in Salem, Utah, the business began four generations ago in 1942, when Bart Olson’s grandfather, Roy, was working in the mines and produced tomato plants to sell to his fellow miners. He built wooden A-frame structures and expanded production to include bedding plants, which were sold retail and to other mom-and-pop retailers throughout the state. Meanwhile, Bart’s father, Jack, started his own operation three blocks away completely focused on producing greenhouse-grown tomatoes in three acres of wooden structures. “We all helped grandpa as well,” Bart recalls. “In the early 1970s my mother also wanted to grow bedding plants, and we bought grandpa’s place. Then in 1979, my two brothers and I decided we would really make something of this business and set up […]

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