December 28, 2009

Quantifying The Quality

For greenhouse growers, the U.S. Green Building Council is a tough nut to crack, especially when it comes to its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification process. LEED is a prestigious third-party certification program and a national benchmark that promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability in five key areas of human and environmental health, says Dr. Bodie Pennisi, Horticulture Department, University of Georgia. These five areas include: LEED development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. This certification lacks any official agricultural connection to indoor plants and the role they play in improving human health by improving indoor air quality, Pennisi says. Green Plants For Green Buildings (GPGB) President Mike Lewis adds, “Ironically enough, you can have the greenest building on the planet and do not have a single living plant in it. Isn’t that weird? “If you look at the ads and catalogs of […]

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November 30, 2009

Terra Nova Donates 2,500 Perennials

Terra Nova Nurseries recently donated 2,500 perennials, a retail value of more than $10,000, to the International Rose Test Garden, a public garden in Portland, Ore. The test garden features thousands of roses from around the world, and the newly planted 9,000 square-foot bed is located near the entrance of the garden. Dan Heims, president and co-founder of Terra Nova, was recently featured on GardenTime TV for the company’s donation. The episode focused on the plants selected by Terra Nova for the perennial bed, as well as the overall concept behind the donation. Terra Nova not only wanted to provide the public garden with perennials to beautify the empty space, but also wanted to conduct a true test of how the plants will perform under natural conditions.  “We wanted to showcase perennials, shrubs and roses mixed,” says Harry Landers, the Botanic specialist for the International Rose Test Garden. “The plants […]

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November 16, 2009

Reader Reaction: National Promotion Must Attract New Customers

Danielle Ernest, public relations and brand development coordinator for Proven Winners, reacts to Laurie Scullin’s November column about national promotion. Danielle supports the idea and stresses the importance of creating a national promotion that attracts new customers–and not just the ones we already have. Directly below are Danielle’s comments to Laurie, and below her comments is Laurie’s response to Danielle. Laurie, I enjoyed your article in the November issue of Greenhouse Grower. It sparks many questions I have regarding this type of promotion. In the article, the “Got Milk?” campaign is mentioned multiple times. I want to reference a recent book I read titled “The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR” by Al and Laura Ries. The book directly talks about this campaign. The authors write: Over the years no advertising campaign has attracted as much attention as the milk mustache ‘Got Milk?’ program run by the National […]

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November 3, 2009

MSU Extension Spared In Budget Cuts – For Now

Michigan was on the brink of becoming the first state without an Extension service had its governor decided to completely eliminate funds from Michigan State University (MSU) Extension and the Michigan Agriculture Experiment Station (MAES) late last week. Fortunately, Governor Jennifer Granholm spared MSU Extension by including funds for the program in the state’s new budget signed last Friday. But there’s a catch with the funds: MSU Extension will be restructured to reflect priorities that support and nurture a “green economy,” and the program still faces potential budget cuts of up to 44 percent one year from now when federal surplus funds deplete. “Could you imagine Michigan without a 4-H or a Master Gardener program? That’s what we’re looking at,” says Mark Elzinga, president of Elzinga & Hoeksema Greenhouses. “There are so many things Extension does for us. We have the Extension specialists who quantify research for us to find […]

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November 3, 2009

View: The Power Of Flowers In China

Berl Thomas, an international consultant focused on expanding floriculture in China, shares an article explaining how flowers reduce mental illnesses and provides insight for floriculture potential in China: A recent BBC News article indicated our industry has the power to heal mental illnesses. BBC News relayed a Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health study that says living near green spaces reduces mental illnesses. Other articles have been published in the last couple years reporting related health benefits of living near green spaces, such as the effects of tree-lined streets. Doctors say a simple walk in the park can relieve stress when people come in contact with flowers, trees and grass. In the United States, it has been reported many times that when the U.S. economy is down, the flower industry seems to be somewhat recession proof. Maybe the reason is people want to feel good and flowers help fill this […]

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October 20, 2009

SAF Names New Officers, Board & Council Members

Leo Roozen began his two-year term as SAF president late last month at SAF Phoenix 2009, and he named marketing flowers to consumers, dealing with negative publicity and the Employee Free Choice Act as issues he plans to prioritize as president. Roozen is the president of Washington Bulb Company in Mt. Vernon, Wash. Serving with Roozen on SAF’s executive committee are: –President-Elect Robert Williams II, Smithers-Oasis Company–Treasurer Dwight Larimer, Design Master–Rod Saline, SAF board chairman–Peter J. Moran New SAF Growers Council members include: –Robert Milks, Van Wingerden International, Mills River, N.C.–PJ Ellison, Ellison’s Greenhouses, Brenham, Texas–Donald Snow, Goldsmith Seeds, Gilroy, Calif. For more information on SAF, visit SAFnow.org.

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October 15, 2009

Bonnie’s Cabbage Contest Grows Gardeners

National garden vegetable grower Bonnie Plants turns millions of third graders onto gardening through its educational program and contest growing cabbages. Students participating in the Bonnie Plants Third Grade Cabbage Program receive a free Bonnie oversized cabbage plant to cultivate, nurture and grow. These humongous cabbages often grow bigger than a basket ball and can weigh up to 50 pounds! At the end of the season, teachers from each class select a student who has grown the best cabbage, based on size and appearance. A picture of the cabbage and student entry is submitted to Bonnie Plants by mail or online. That student’s name is then included in a statewide drawing to receive a $1,000 scholarship towards education. The winner of each statewide drawing is chosen by the state’s commission of agriculture. Last year approximately 2 million children in 45 states participated in the program and 45 winners were issued […]

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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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