October 10, 2013

Horticulture Student Kellie Walters Named 2013-2014 Shinoda Scholar Of The Year

Kellie Walters of Iowa State University has been named the recipient of the prestigious Shinoda Scholar of the Year award for 2013-14. “Students like Kellie represent the true potential of horticulture’s growth,” says Paul Ecke III, president of the Shinoda Foundation. “The Shinoda Scholar of the Year award recognizes the unique accomplishments and abilities that she and students like her bring to our industry.” After graduating with a horticulture degree from Iowa State University, Kellie plans to pursue a career in commercial greenhouse floriculture production, with a goal of advancing to a greenhouse management position. “Kellie grew up on a farm and has developed an excellent work ethic,” a teacher says of the 20-year-old junior. “She is a respectful, enthusiastic and motivated young woman who will accomplish much during her professional career.” In addition to her horticulture academic studies, Kellie continues to expand her knowledge and education, completing several internships, […]

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September 17, 2013

Atlanta Braves And PNC Bank Team Up For Grow Up Great Gardening Event

The Atlanta Braves partnered with a local preschool and community development non-profit City of Refuge for PNC’s Grow Up Great Gardening program, which aims to teach kids where their food comes from and how to eat healthy. Preschoolers harvested herbs and peppers, picked cherry tomatoes, dug for worms, fed fish in the greenhouse and interacted with hissing cockroaches at the City of Refuge’s gardening center. Another activity taught the kids how different produce like apples, carrots and celery can be used to make a healthy juice. The day finished off with Braves David Carpenter encouraging the children to eat healthy and play outside. “The Atlanta Braves organization understands the importance of healthy living and the value of nutritional foods. It is vital to ensure our next generation has the knowledge and tools necessary to carry out healthy and abundant lifestyles,” says Ericka Newsome-Hill, director of community affairs for the Atlanta Braves, […]

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September 3, 2013

Plant Something Campaign Making Progress In Marketing Plants

“Want to improve your quality of life? Plant Something. Seriously.” This is the message of the Plant Something marketing campaign in a nutshell. Plant Something targets the sweet spots that could get consumers to participate in gardening—increased home values, reduced home heating and cooling costs and community beautification, among others.  Get more details from Cheryl Goar of the Arizona Nursery Association, the organization behind Plant Something.  GG: What Is Plant Something and what is its goal? Goar: The Plant Something campaign is a grassroots marketing campaign for the nursery industry. Plant Something promotes the environmental, financial and health benefits of gardening and landscaping. The original goal of the campaign was to increase the sale of plant and trees in Arizona and has now expanded to eventually increase the sale in the U.S. and Canada. GG: Who are the participants? Who is the audience for this campaign? Goar: The primary audience […]

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August 20, 2013

Rocket Farms Turns A Food Truck Into A Flower Truck To Promote Herbs

September will be a delicious month in the San Francisco Bay area, when Rocket Farms turns its popular Flower Truck back toward its origins as a food truck. The grower will visit neighborhoods in the area on one day in September to offer tastings of food prepared with its fresh herbs. As a grower of many crops, including a full line of herbs, Rocket Farms wants to enable people to taste different herbs and understand their flavors. The company will coordinate with a local chef to prepare tastings that will highlight memorable and delicious flavors, while still making the herbs the focus. As with Rocket Farms’ other Flower Truck adventures, announcements of the herb events will be posted via the company’s social media channels and live updates will be posted throughout the events. Rocket Farms is based in Northern California, with two locations in Half Moon Bay and the Salinas […]

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Richard Jones

August 16, 2013

iPads, Automobile Cameras And The Future Of Your Business

Greenhouse Grower’s Top 100 Growers Breakfast has become a great annual event during OFA Short Course. We get together with representatives from the country’s largest greenhouse operations to talk about trends and developments in different areas of the business. And while the meeting is targeted for the Top 100, there are invariably interesting lessons that apply to growers across the board. This year’s breakfast featured a panel discussion on “The Even-Higher-Tech Future Of The Top 100.” (You can read about some of the highlights from the event on page 32.) Our panelists included Gary Falkenstein, president and CEO of the new online live goods broker, ePlantSource; Paul Pilon, owner of Perennial Solutions Consulting; and Charles Grinnell, COO of Harvest Automation (whose plant-moving robots were one of the highlights on the trade show floor at Short Course this year). They shared their opinions on what exciting new developments growers may have […]

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August 14, 2013

Gardens At Veteran Hospital Help Patients Heal With Plants

The Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Battle Creek, Mich., has made plants and gardens part of its healing program for veterans for more than 60 years. At one time the hospital, located on 70 acres, was nearly self-sustaining, with orchards, vegetable gardens, dairy and beef cattle and a root cellar. Today there are beautifully landscaped gardens and four 2,500-square-foot greenhouses. Veterans care for the plants as part of two work therapy programs offered by the hospital. “In my work therapy program, guys are here specifically for mental health or substance abuse issues,” says Laura Singh, therapeutic horticulturist at the hospital. “Each one is unique — it could be brain injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder or just anxiety issues from being in the service. Working with plants just calms people and helps with the whole healing process. It’s empowering to work with plants because you’re caring for something else.” Sales of the […]

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August 14, 2013

Growing With Ecology In Mind

North Creek Nurseries, based in Landenberg, Pa., is making a name for itself providing sustainably grown plants for ecological installations, including working with LEED-certified engineers and landscapers. We talked to the operation’s owner, Steve Castorani, about how this market impacts his business, and how you can take advantage of the growing ecological trend. GG: When did North Creek Nurseries begin growing native plants and plants for ecological applications? Castorani: We founded our nursery with an emphasis on ecological plantings. One of our bylines is, “Where horticulture meets ecology,” and we’ve stayed true to that value statement. We use it as a barometer when we introduce plants to determine how sustainable they are and what their life span is in the market. Our mission is to propagate and market plants that develop a relationship between people and sustainable outdoor environments, so we look for plants that will thrive and last for […]

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July 19, 2013

Hit A Homer, Plant A Tree

Baseball fans in Philadelphia have even more to cheer about when their favorite players hit home runs this season. For the second year, for each home run hit by the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, a tree will be planted this fall in the region. The Home Runs For Trees program is a partnership between the Phillies and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), in its effort to Plant One Million trees. At press time, the home run count for the season was 87. Last year, 158 trees were planted. The team is also giving away trees to lucky fans. Plant One Million is an ambitious, multi-state tree-planting campaign, encompassing 13 counties in southeastern Pennsylvania, and parts of New Jersey and Delaware. The goal is to increase the tree canopy cover, the area of land shaded by trees, in the tri-state area to 20 percent, by planting one million trees by […]

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July 19, 2013

All-America Selections Announces Branded Pots

All-America Selections (AAS) is now making it easier for consumers to recognize outstanding plants. For the first time, the organization is offering three broker/retailer programs featuring AAS winners — as well as branded pots to plant them in. AAS has selected winning plants in three categories: Tomato-Peppers, Container Edibles and Perennials. AAS is working with Summit Plastic Company to create printed pots featuring the AAS logo and program description, geared for the consumer’s benefit. The pots will let consumers instantly locate award-winning plants at their local garden retailer. The AAS-winning peppers in the Tomato-Pepper program include: ‘Cajun Belle,’ ‘Orange Blaze,’ ‘Cayenetta,’ ‘Mexibell,’ and ‘Carmen.’ The tomatoes are: ‘Lizzano,’ ‘Terenzo,’ ‘Jasper,’ ‘Big Beef’ and ‘Husky Gold.’Varieties included in the Container Edibles program include the best-selling multi-colored 1998 winner, ‘Bright Lights’ Swiss chard, and the just-announced 2014 winner, ‘Mascotte’ bean, bred for both container and in-ground gardening. Also included are two violas: […]

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Richard Jones

July 11, 2013

Communication: Are You Listening?

Every issue of Greenhouse Grower is built around a theme (or two, or three). They’re usually pretty easy to spot — this month, for example, we’re focusing on shipping logistics, software programs and fall crops. Sometimes, when we dive into actually putting the magazine together, however, other recurring concepts begin to emerge. This month, the theme I kept seeing again and again as we wrote and edited features was communication. Communication between people, between tools, between departments, between businesses. You’ll see it in this month’s Perspective Q&A where it’s the positioned as the driver behind making changes in a greenhouse operation. And it shows up in different places too, including digital tools that help tie together software or reporting or equipment and make them work more effectively. You’ll see it most clearly in this month’s cover story on Hermann Engelmann Greenhouses. The folks at Engelmann continually come up with great […]

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July 10, 2013

Perspective: How To Make Changes In Your Greenhouse Business

Change is almost never easy. But in today’s market, the ability to adapt, evolve and make changes efficiently and effectively is one of the most important qualities of a greenhouse business. Tom Costamagna, director of plant quality for Mid-American Growers in Granville, Ill., has brought a number of changes, big and small, to this Top 100 operation over the past few years. We asked him to share some of the steps he’s taken in getting buy-in and making  change happen in an established operation. Communication, he says, is the key. GG: You’re a big proponent of involving all the different segments of the business in making changes at Mid-American Growers. Why is that? Costamagna: I think of our business as a team sport. I like to use stock-car racing as an analogy because many do not think of that as a team sport. Racing certainly seems like an individual sport, […]

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