September 11, 2012

James Greenhouses: New Perspectives In A Traditional Industry

Looking at most of the greenhouse operations in the industry, it may seem like having a long line of growers in the family is a requirement. If so, Greenhouse Grower’s Operation of the Year winners Ken and Leah James of James Greenhouses are breaking the tradition. With hard work, an eye for opportunity and insights from industry professionals, this young couple has grown a first-generation business from two workers (themselves) in 1998 to 36 dedicated employees today. The Jameses see both the pros and cons of being newcomers. “It’s a challenge. It really is. We just don’t have that depth of experience to draw on. Even though our customers and our suppliers are certainly the best in the world, in my opinion, we just don’t have that innate knowledge of the industry and how things work. We have made some really expensive mistakes along the way,” Ken says. “But on […]

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Richard Jones

September 10, 2012

Plant Quality Isn’t Enough [Opinion]

Any time I talk with a grower and ask, “What’s different about your greenhouse business?” the answer invariably involves some mention of “our people” and “our quality.” I seldom disagree with those responses in principle. You can’t be a successful business of any kind in 2012 without having a pretty good staff in place. And I think we’ll all agree that the quality of plants growers are bringing to market these days is higher than it’s ever been. But the part about your quality making you different from everyone else? I’m not so sure about that. One of Greenhouse Grower’s Top 100 growers shared the following thought at OFA Short Course this summer. There’s no doubt in my mind he’s correct: “We all talk about how good the quality of our product is. And you know, we’re right. Most growers do produce very high quality plants these days. But it’s […]

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September 5, 2012

Plant Breeding Changes Through The Years

As a plant breeder, Steve Jones has been around the block a few times. His career spans more than 20 years, during which time he established the Bodger Botanical program at Bodger Seeds. When Bodger dissolved, Jones purchased the program, renaming it Green Fuse Botanicals. As CEO of Green Fuse, Jones collaborates with independent plant breeders from around the world to bring innovative plant varieties to the market. He introduced the well-known Salvia Cathedral series, Petunia Blanket series and Ipomoea ‘Sweet Georgia.’ Jones has seen many changes in how plants are developed during the course of his career, and he recently shared his thoughts with Greenhouse Grower. GG: How has plant breeding changed during your career in the industry? SJ: I have been working in plant breeding for more than 20 years. I see many, many changes large and small that would take far too long to talk about. There […]

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September 4, 2012

Head Grower Of The Year Joe Moore: The Best Growers Lead By Example

Dedicated. Innovative. Enthusiastic. Thoughtful. Leader. All words that describe an ideal employee in any business, and they have all been used to describe Joe Moore, recipient of Greenhouse Grower’s 2012 Head Grower of the Year Award. As head grower for Lucas Greenhouses in Monroeville, N.J., Moore is responsible for everything that happens in 22 acres of heated space and 30 acres of outdoor growing area. He directly oversees 15 growers and is also head of production, which means responsibility for planting and production lines and liner pulling crews — about 100 people in all. Lucas propagates 24 million rooted cuttings and grows a full line of prefinished poinsettias and spring material. Lucas also produces finished crops for independent garden centers and landscapers, including annual flats, 4.5-inch pots, hanging baskets, patio planters, spring bulbs, pansies, mums and other fall crops. Moore not only handles all of this, he handles it well, […]

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August 2, 2012

Is Low-Maintenance The Way To Reach The Millennial Generation?

Joe Lamp’l is creator, host and executive producer of the award winning PBS series Growing a Greener World, which focuses on the stories of people ,places and organizations that are doing good things for the planet, with an emphasis on gardening. As an industry leader in environmental media, he also shares his expertise on the Today Show, Good Morning America, The Victory Garden and other national media. Lamp’l talked with Greenhouse Grower about how our industry can grow its customer base by connecting with potential gardeners ­­­— and the Millennial generation in particular. GG: What are some of the shared characteristics of Millennials? JL: What we know in general, whether it’s the horticulture industry or the television industry or anything else is that this Millennial, the Generation Y group that is age 17 to 32 right now doesn’t have a lot of money and marriage and home buying aren’t top […]

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July 27, 2012

Summer Plant Tours And Open Houses For 2012

Michigan Garden Plant Tour Monday, July 30 to Friday, Aug. 10, 2012 Locations: C. Raker and Sons, 10371 Rainey Road, Lichfield, MI; Four Star Greenhouses, 1015 Indian Trail Road, Carleton, MI; Mast Young Plants, 3525 Bristol Road NW, Grand Rapids, MI; MSU Horticulture Gardens, 1066 Bogue Street, East Lansing, MI; Pell Greenhouses, 5115 Baldwin Road, Hudsonville, MI; Spring Meadow Nursery, 12601 120th Avenue, Grand Haven, MI; Walters Gardens, 1992 96th Avenue, Zeeland, MI Times: C. Raker and Sons, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Four Star Greenhouses, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mast Young Plants, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. MSU Horticulture Gardens, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pell Greenhouses, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Spring Meadow Nursery, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Walters Gardens, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.   All-American Selections Summer Summit Tuesday, Aug. 7 to Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012 (held in Michigan during the Michigan Garden Plant […]

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July 20, 2012

Perspective: Jose Smith Of Costa Farms

GG: Costa Farms recently acquired Layman Wholesale Nurseries. What was the motivation to get into perennial plants? JS: As the lines between annuals and perennial growers blurred, we decided to add a full perennial line. Layman was a natural choice for us because of their quality, offerings and reputation in the industry. As we explored this option over the last couple of years, we were convinced they were a good fit. In addition to perennials, they offer woody ornamentals, a category we were also looking to expand on. GG: In addition to the new perennials line, Costa Farms has recently gotten into young plant production with Total Growth Solutions and getting kids interested in gardening with Growums. What are your motivations for continuing to grow the business? JS: Our mission statement focuses on teams, solutions and growth. Our commitment to growth is only if it presents a sound business opportunity. […]

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July 20, 2012

#GrowSomething’s Social Media Success Story

More than 200 million Americans have registered their phone numbers on the FTC’s Do Not Call list. With DVR capabilites, 86 percent of people skip TV ads and 44 percent of direct mail is never opened. Social media, however, continues to grow. And something that becomes viral online can originate with just one person. Greenhouse Grower and Today’s Garden Center wanted to see if we could take advantage of this. So do your friends and family know the benefits of plants and flowers? That’s the question the #GrowSomething social media takeover posed to growers, retailers and gardeners this May 14 to 18, with an effort that generated more than 75,000 impression for gardening and why plants and flowers are great. “#GrowSomething really made you take a step back and take a look at things,” says Hort Couture Plants’ Jennifer Hatalski. “We lose that in the hustle and bustle in our […]

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July 16, 2012

Burpee Home Gardens Launches Grow Anywhere Tour

Burpee Home Gardens launched its Grow Anything initiative at the 2012 OFA Short Course. This new initiative features a Grow Anywhere Tour in which the newly wrapped Burpee food truck travels around the country, providing fresh vegetables and vegetable plants to people who do not have access to fresh produce. “We asked ourselves, ‘How do we bring [vegetables and plants] to these areas,’” says Diane Hund, director of marketing for Burpee. “Easy, we put it in a food truck.” This 13-week tour will make stops in 25 cities where food deserts, or places where there is a fairly dense population and nowhere to get fresh produce, are common. The tour begins in March 2013 and will distribute approximately 13,000 plants and 40,000 pounds of produce. Burpee is also working with local growers in each city to get vegetable plants that will grow well in the areas the truck visits. Hund […]

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June 12, 2012

Enter Greenhouse Grower’s Flower Children Contest

Plants are not the only thing this industry grows. Many of our readers are growing some pretty remarkable children too, and in an industry that is still composed predominantly of family-owned businesses, they are the future of horticulture. Now is your chance to show them off! Every year, Greenhouse Grower hosts the Flower Children contest in which readers’ children are included in the magazine. Submit your best photo of your child interacting with plants. All photos will be published in the September issue; first, second and third place will be voted on by the staff of Meister Media Worldwide. Submission Guidelines: Please include the child’s name and the name of your business or organization. Photos should be high-resolution (300 dpi). If you use your camera’s “best” quality setting, this should be sufficient. If you’re not sure, send it anyway and we’ll let you know. Deadline: July 20, 2012 Send to: […]

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June 5, 2012

#GrowSomething Is A Success Story

Thanks to all of you who participated in #GrowSomething social media takeover! There was a really great response to the idea. Hundreds of social media posts used the hashtag and spread the word about why gardening and plants are great. The hashtag is still being used on Twitter. You can check out #GrowSomething on Twitter here. We’re still tallying the numbers on how many impressions were generated. Take a look at Greenhouse Grower’s July issue for a complete #GrowSomething wrapup. Here are a few of the impressive posts we saw during #GrowSomething. How did you participate? Send us a screen cap or link at [email protected] or let us know in the comments below.

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May 25, 2012

Grow Your Bottom Line With The Right Plants

Focusing on quality means creating a culture of quality within your company. How do we look upon quality within our businesses, and how does it relate to the quality of our products? It is the responsibility of everyone who is involved with the creation of the products or services offered by an organization. In other words, true quality capitalizes on the involvement of management, workforce, suppliers and even customers, in order to meet or exceed customer expectations. For organizations to survive and grow in today’s challenging marketplace they need to create a culture of continuous improvement for products and services. A high level of good employee attitudes and enthusiasm is critical. All of these help with the ultimate goal of improved quality, productivity and customer satisfaction, which is an important competitive advantage in today’s marketplace. Consider Your Business Model Do you know where you are going, and what strategy works […]

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