March 27, 2012

BioWorks Offers Floriculture Scholarship

BioWorks is offering the “BioWorks IPM/Sustainable Practices Scholarship” scholarship. Sponsored through the American Floral Endowment (AFE), a non-for-profit organization that works to fund floriculture and environmental horticulture research and educational programs in the United States, the scholarship is designed to assist students pursuing a career in floriculture. Preference will be given to students interested in furthering the use of integrated pest management (IPM) or sustainable practices in the industry. “This is the fifth year BioWorks has offered this scholarship in conjunction with AFE,” says Joe Gionta, BioWorks’ director of sales and marketing. “We strongly support furthering education in the floriculture and horticulture industries and make it a top priority to assist students working toward that goal.” Selection will be based on sound academic performance and a grade point average of 3.0 (where 4.0 is equivalent to an A) or better. Applications for this scholarship can be found on the AFE […]

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March 26, 2012

My Garden Designer Makes Choosing Plants Simple

A lot has been said about the need to find ways to create new customers. One of the best ways to do that is to make it easier for them to be successful and have fun both during and after their purchase. Burpee Home Gardens is doing both of those things with its My Garden Designer program this spring. My Garden Designer goes a long way toward encouraging the younger, less-experienced gardener in two different ways. One, it takes advantage of smart phone technology so many in this demographic use almost 24 hours a day (or so it seems). Second, it takes all the uncertainty out of making a plant purchase, and at the same time, makes the process simple and enjoyable. How does it work? All plants in the Burpee Home Gardens program have a QR code on the tag. When the customer scans the tag with her cell […]

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March 24, 2012

Ecke Ranch Alleviating Marketing Stresses By Doing Work For You

There’s no doubting Paul Ecke Ranch is a breeder and grower first above all things. But a changing floriculture industry means a changing business model for the longtime poinsettia and geranium breeder. So in addition to introducing about 30 new varieties Friday as a prelude to the California Spring Trials, Ecke Ranch showed off its new Design Center that was created to help growers put seasonal plant programs together. “Some growers are still in the mindset of grow the plant and push out the door,” says CherylAnn Crysler, an Ecke Ranch marketing specialist. “Having to figure out how to package plants for the retailer is a big task.” To ease its grower customers’ troubles, Ecke Ranch has partnered with about a dozen packaging suppliers across the globe to build custom programs for particular seasons. Novelty Manufacturing, Scheurich and Wald Imports are among the packaging suppliers Ecke is teaming with. In […]

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March 14, 2012

Danny Summers Named Executive Vice President Of The Sydney B. Meadows Scholarship Endowment

The Sidney B. Meadows Scholarship Endowment Fund board of directors announced that Danny Summers of Summers & Associates was recently appointed executive vice president for the fund on March 8, 2012. Summers will be responsible for the day-to-day activities of the fund, donor development, scholarship announcements, applications, evaluations and awards, as well as implementing the board’s strategic vision and direction. Summers, who helped develop the fund during his tenure as executive vice president of the Southern Nursery Association from 1988 to 2006, brings nearly two decades of previous fund and association management experience. “I am pleased that Danny will once again be involved in the management of the fund. His previous experience and leadership will be a valuable asset as we actively promote the fund and prepare to award scholarships later this year,” says newly-elected president Dr. Doug Bailey, professor and head of the department of horticulture at the University […]

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March 6, 2012

Plant Availability: Bridging The Grower-Retailer Gap

Availability of live goods is a moving target. It means growers have to know what retailers will request at any point though the short gardening season and be able to deliver while consumer demand is still strong. Of course, growers would like all live goods orders to be booked well in advance, while many retailers are moving to a lean inventory model ooking to buy on a just-in-time basis. When it comes down to it, serving the consumer is what will make both growers and retailers successful. So how are growers and retailers working together to make the right inventory available at the right time? The Consumer Is A Step Ahead Of You Between the internet and consumer gardening magazines, it’s easier than ever for consumers to get a peek up the supply chain, into the plant breeders’ gameplan for the future. Many times, customers come looking for plants that […]

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March 2, 2012

Mangum Scholarship Encourages Studies In Ornamental Horticulture

The Robert and Shirley Mangum Memorial Scholarship is now accepting applications from Montgomery County residents interested in pursuing studies and careers in the fields of ornamental horticulture, floriculture, greenhouse growing, interior landscaping and related studies. The deadline for application is April 27, and the winner will be notified in May. Administered by the Montgomery County Farm Bureau, the $2000 Mangum Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually to a county resident who has demonstrated character, scholarship and talent, and who is interested in pursuing an education and eventual career in the Maryland horticultural industry.  Previous coursework and experience should demonstrate an interest in the horticulture industry as a whole.  The applicant must have excellent references from employers, instructors, and/or industry contacts. Other requirements include an overall grade point average of 3.0 or greater in their current studies. The scholarship can be used to attend any accredited two-year or four-year educational institution located within the United […]

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February 28, 2012

Fostering Gen Y Growers

For kids who consider themselves “plant nerds,” a high school horticulture program can provide a much-needed escape from the daily grind of traditional learning. The sad truth, however, is that many of these programs lack adequate funding, equipment and instruction to encourage high schoolers enough to make horticulture a career. In his December editorial on GreenhouseGrower.com, Ryan Knauer, a grower for Gro’n Sell, addressed the value of fostering the next generation’s passion for plants through better high school programming. Knauer argued that investing in future growers should be a priority, and donating resources and offering support empowers kids to view a career in the horticulture industry as an attractive choice. Today’s High School Programs Young plant and garden aficionados have a few options if they choose to explore a career in horticulture. Knauer’s high school program was part of the vocational tech school or career center. The program, which was […]

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January 26, 2012

Growers Should Open Their Eyes To Opportunities

Adapt or die. Well, death as a consequence is probably a bit extreme. The adapt-or-become-irrelevant concept, however, has never been truer for greenhouse floriculture. These are tough times. Unfair times, even. But the more your business’s value proposition mirrors your neighbor’s, the closer you are to becoming irrelevant. Silver Vase, the South Florida orchid and bromeliad grower, recently faced these facts and decided to change its value proposition. As an orchid grower, Silver Vase is already somewhat unique in that it sources some young plant varieties from Europe, where it pays a premium price for material it considers hardier. Still, Silver Vase hasn’t stopped there in differentiating itself. By now, the industry is well aware of Silver Vase’s dye-infused Mystique orchid line. The dye-infusion technique may represent everything you’re not as a horticulturist. But the dye-infusion question the industry should really be asking is, “Can we capture new customers and […]

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January 26, 2012

Are Kids Thinking About Gardening? Hell No!

Christmas has come and gone. So has the end of the year and a little time for reflection. It’s one year later and one year older for all of us, including my demon grandchildren. As I spent time with the wonderful little monsters over the winter holiday, I started thinking back about the experiences they had with plants and gardens. I wondered if they might become interested in gardening a little more this year. After all, we as an industry are always discussing our angst about young people not gardening, and I wanted to be part of the conversation. Is There Hope?We occasionally host school kids in the trial gardens at the University of Georgia. These kids enjoy the beauty and the stories, but really, what choice do they have – their teachers brought them. Nope, I wanted to check out real kids, like my crazy brood. You think I […]

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January 26, 2012

Better Communication Equals More Profit

Everyone is trying to manage costs, inventory, labor and margins and increase turns. Goals like these aren’t unique to our industry. They’re common for all businesses. The group Greenhouse Grower brought together last year at The Grow Summit shares these goals. Businesses from all areas of greenhouse floriculture were present, and we discussed how we can address the industry’s many concerns. Consumers were a big part of our discussions. If we can get consumers to have a higher perceived value and a good experience with our products, they’ll pay more. We see other industries that are successful in this approach. So how can we increase margins and the perceived value of our products and services? Communicate With Consumers Let’s start by facing the facts: Most consumers today are not avid gardeners. People want their yard to be nice, but they have limited time for research or maintenance. They want a […]

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January 23, 2012

What Should Our Marketing Message Be?

When the subject of a national marketing effort comes up in the industry, the debate begins as to how it will be paid for, but what would the marketing message for a national campaign be? Here’s what garden centers and growers have tried in the past and a few nuggets of ideas to kick around.  Life.PlantLife The message: Shows some simple images of life without plants – then life with plants. From Laurie Scullin and Frank Zaunscherb of ZMI Marketing. “An advantage to us all using the same slogan is we could support the slogan with a website – with public relations and social media outreach (think Facebook for plants). Think about a bunch of YouTube videos all with fun information on plants and all telling the world how great plants are,” Scullin says. America In Bloom America in Bloom promotes nationwide beautification through education and community involvement by encouraging […]

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