Author Archives: Jennifer Polanz

About Jennifer Polanz

Jennifer Polanz is a freelance writer with Grasshopper Freelance. She can be eMailed at

Back To Basics

Mitch and Patty Rabin know in tough economic times, it’s best to stick with what you know. The duo, who are partners in life as well as in business, have streamlined their business–Living Colors Nursery in Homestead, Fla.–to focus primarily on their bread and butter: guzmania bromeliads. When the operation started in 1993, they had

2008 Field Trials: Putting Newcomers To The Test

Each year the country’s extension agents, university horticulture professors and botanic experts put varieties to the test with field trials. Sure that begonia performs perfectly in a grower’s greenhouse or for a few weeks on the bench. But how does it do in action? We asked for information about the location, such as the trial

Cooking Up Sales

Ask Karen and Mark Langan of Mulberry Creek Herb Farm in Huron, Ohio, and they’ll tell you they have an herb farm first, and it just happens to be all certified organic. “Growing plants is the priority, and we just happen to do that organically,” says grower Mark Langan. It’s a small but important distinction

Teaching Green

The entire planet seems to be on a shift toward “green” living. Because of the fairly recent change in the zeitgeist, many garden center retailers have been taking the opportunity to look at what they’re selling and ask, “Is this what my customers are looking for?” But to carry new lines of products that are

Growing Green: Marketing Sustainability

    Gary McColeman of Bellan International watched closely as the sustainability revolution took off in the United States. McColeman’s company manufactures biopots–biodegradable containers made of rice husks, bamboo and straw. The pots made their debut three years ago at OFA Short Course, and McColeman has since seen an evolution as some ornamentals growers transitioned

Do You Know HD?

You may think you know Home Depot, but do you really? I only ask that because I thought I did – only to find out a few new juicy tidbits about the mega-retailer during a Retail Forward Webinar recently. And why should it matter? Because Depot is looking to diversify its offerings, hire more qualified

A New Way To Bid

Bruce Knox’s first experience with West Auctions’ online capabilities came when he watched the public sale of another grower operation. "I had followed one of their auctions in California," says Knox, president of Knox Nursery in Florida. "I had one of my truck drivers go to pick up and he said that everything sold. Everything!"

Cutting Costs By Giving Back

Missouri Botanical Gardens’ Dr. Steve Cline created a recycling program for consumers, retailers and greenhouses. The idea of saving money while helping the environment used to be a bit of wishful thinking. However, with the price of oil continuing to rise, the latest trend popping up all over the country is plastic recyclers. This can