October 14, 2009

Sustainability Times Ten

You can’t venture more than a few hundred yards without encountering a sustainable concept in Amsterdam and its surrounding areas. Windmills and wind turbines are everywhere, bicycles outnumber people and, as a South African journalist joked today, the sheep are the lawn mowers here. Sustainable products have made their way into the greenhouse, as well. The one that struck me most Wednesday was a fibrous material called Rockwool that Tomato World uses as its growing media. A company called Grotop manufactures the Rockwool, which Tomato World uses for all tomatoes on site. Once Rockwool has run its course, it is shredded and stored for six weeks before being converted into brick. The plastic residue is also recycled for synthetics companies, making the media 100 percent recylable.

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October 6, 2009

Ravin’ Traven Rants Again

On occasion, wholesale grower Lloyd Traven of Peace Tree Farm in Pennsylvania sends out an engaging and opinionated rant to his garden center customers, along with the most current availability, order forms and pictures of plants in the greenhouse. Here is Traven’s latest rant following the America In Bloom Symposium last week in Hershey, Pa. Last week, we had the pleasure of spending a day working for the setup of the America in Bloom Symposium in Hershey, Pa. There was no shortage of chocolate after much careful observation. We donated the plants for the stage decorations and also the centerpieces for the gala and awards ceremony on Saturday. We were honored to be asked, especially for something that does nothing except put plants and flowers in front of the public and show them how they work to beautify their towns. Not much downside to that! What was surprising to me, […]

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October 6, 2009

Grower Wins Community Champion Award

    America In Bloom’s (AIB) new Community Champion Award honoring OFA’s CEO John Holmes was a big hit this year. Thirty nominations were received for twenty individuals who have been leading AIB efforts in their towns the last eight years. The very first honoree happens to be a grower. Rick Webb of Webb Perennials in Logan, Ohio, received the John R. Holmes III Community Champion Award on Saturday during the AIB awards banquet in Hershey, Pa. The award recognizes an individual who best exemplifies community leadership through actions that reflect the mission of AIB and demonstrated a vision and selfless commitment to moving the community forward. “Rick’s work to help a suffering downtown Logan began when our former mayor asked him to plant hanging baskets for the downtown,” nominator Bobbi Bishop says. “When AIB came along, he gathered a group of volunteers to help him beautify the community. He […]

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October 6, 2009

First Lady Talking Gardening On ‘Sesame Street’

Michelle Obama will be appearing on the premier of “Sesame Street’s” 40th Season, encouraging kids to plant gardens and eat healthier. The show’s producers say Obama will teach the furry “residents” of Sesame Street about the benefits of growing a garden and healthy living, and she’ll show children how to plant tomato, cucumber and lettuce seeds, reports Reuters. For more information on the First Lady’s Sesame Street appearance, click here. Check out a clip from Mrs. Obama’s “Sesame Street” visit, below. 

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September 28, 2009

Eagle Creek Leads Green Movement

Progressive grower-retailer Eagle Creek Garden Center in Bainbridge and Mantua, Ohio, received an Emerald Award from Crain’s Cleveland Business last week for leading the region in sustainable initiatives. The Emerald Awards recognize Northeast Ohio companies that have implemented sustainable strategic priorities that significantly trim costs or increase cash flow with innovations and products that reduce their environmental footprint. An independent panel of judges reviewed nominations that included information on an organization’s sustainability initiative and goals, as well as the results and impact of those efforts on the triple bottom line–people, planet and profit. Eagle Creek won the award in the medium for-profit company category, with $9.9 million in annual revenues or less. “Eagle Creek Garden Center hopes to become nearly fossil-fuel independent by 2011 and employ a 100 percent local work force,” Crain’s reported. “Eagle Creek strives to use biodegradable and environmentally safe products and to recycle 100 percent of […]

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September 22, 2009

Hershey Hosts America In Bloom

Next week will be a sweet one in Hershey, Pa., when America In Bloom (AIB) celebrates the shared victories of the communities participating in this year’s competition. AIB is a national revitalization program and contest funded by our industry and managed by OFA. Hershey is a past AIB winner and considered one of the nation’s cleanest and greenest cities. Founder Milton S. Hershey dreamed of building the perfect town to live, work and play for the employees of his chocolate company. What began as a town that chocolate built has become a year-round, world-class resort destination with outstanding heritage, beautiful gardens and landscaped areas, community pride and environmental awareness. The eighth annual symposium begins Thursday, Oct. 1, with an opening reception. Greenhouse Grower’s Editor Delilah Onofrey and Alex Pearl will present the criteria awards, recognizing the towns that really stood out in the eight judging criteria–floral displays, landscaped areas, urban […]

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September 18, 2009

SAF Honors Entomologist Lance Osborne

The Society of American Florists (SAF) will present its Alex Laurie Award for Research and Education to Lance Osborne, professor of entomology/nematology at the University of Florida during its annual convention in Phoenix this week. Active in teaching and research on managing insects in ornamental and vegetable crops, Osborne has advanced new biological control methods in greenhouses and nurseries and worked with growers to help them adopt those new methods. He is known for pioneer work using banker plants as a source for insect predators, which are becoming an important tool in growers’ efforts to control insects in an environmentally friendly way. “Lance is a seeker of the truth rather than a seeker of the limelight,” says Margery Daughtrey, senior extension associate with Cornell University’s department of plant pathology. “He is a source of reliable research, extensive knowledge and sound judgment that you would want on any team of scientists […]

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August 5, 2009

South Carolina Association Creates Fund For HRI

The Horticultural Research Institute (HRI), the research affiliate of the American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA), has announced the establishment of the South Carolina Nursery & Landscape Association (SCNLA) Fund. “The South Carolina Nursery and Landscape Association is excited to be a part of an endowment fund that has such a good track record in supporting horticultural research,” says Donna Shealy Foster, SCNLA executive director. “The SCNLA Board of Directors felt the time had come to invest in the industry that has given so much to all of us.  We are proud to be a part of the HRI family.” HRI was established in 1962 as the research arm of ANLA. HRI’s mission is to direct, fund, promote and communicate horticultural research, which increases the quality and value of ornamental plants, improves the productivity and profitability of the nursery and landscape industry, and protects and enhances the environment.

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August 1, 2009

Listening To Leaders

A large crowd of growers gathered at this year’s Southeast Greenhouse Conference (SGC) to hear Charlie Hall, a Texas A&M professor and Greenhouse Grower contributor, make a presentation on the state of our industry and the factors impacting it. Unfortunately, as one of our industry’s information All-Stars was delivering vital economic news to growers, another grower crowd was gathering just a few yards away to feast on appetizers during the conference’s opening night. The dinner crowd, of course, doesn’t spell the end of our industry. It does, however, reflect priorities that need changing. We’ve all heard about growers who’ve folded, declared bankruptcy or are barely surviving. Perhaps that’s you. So now is the most critical time to tune in to industry leaders who can help steer your operation through the tough times. On the bright side, many growers are tuned in to industry leaders and they’re actively searching for ways […]

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July 21, 2009

Industry-Wide Grassroots Marketing Initiative

Two industry members have sparked a new interest in an industry-wide marketing initiative, this time on a grassroots level. A meeting at OFA Short Course drew an invited crowd of about 40 people from all different aspects of the floriculture industry to gauge interest in a basic, comprehensive marketing message that would cover everything from garden retailers (big box and independent) and growers to florists and landscapers. The message would be in addition to any branding efforts and could appear alongside a retailer or grower brand. The industry members, Frank Zaunscherb of ZMI Marketing in Canada and Laurie Scullin of The New Product Group marketing company who’s also a Greenhouse Grower contributor, led the discussion. The discussion included creating a simple message and building a website and marketing campaign behind it. The goal is to build interest in floriculture by communicating directly with consumers. Scullin says there hasn’t been any […]

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May 8, 2009

Kicking Around Industry Careers

Chicago’s John Marshall High School will host a free community event from 9:30 a.m. to noon called Plant a Garden, Grow an Opportunity next Saturday. Speakers will discuss careers in agriculture and horticulture, from marketing and business to science and the environment. Syngenta is among the event’s sponsors, and Jim Jenkins, head of the corporate alliance for Syngenta, is scheduled to present along with other industry speakers.  To attend the event, contact Barb Anderson at anderagcom@sbcglobal.net.

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