December 7, 2012

How James Greenhouses Will Improve In 2013

On Sharpening Business Management Cost of production is something near and dear to us all. Saving money is not about beating up your suppliers. There are tremendous gains to be made internally. For the coming year, we have a renewed focus on defining our processes. If you can define exactly how your company works, making improvements is easy. This philosophy has been part of our culture for a long time, but it is more important than ever to stay competitive. Start with a simple process. Dissect it, step by step. Time each movement, and in simple terms, list the skills required to perform each step. It becomes clear where things don’t make sense or are wasteful. You might find that your process is great, but your people are not qualified. Either way, you have a map for improvement. Do some specific training or adjust your process. Measure it again. You […]

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December 7, 2012

Bob’s Market Focuses On Quality To Improve Business

The word “quality” has always been a mantra at Bob’s Market. Industry-wide, there is too much variation or perception of what quality is, but for us, quality means not only plant quality but the quality of order fulfillment. It means giving the customer what they expect. It means the quality of on-time delivery and consistency of products. How To Keep GROWing As anyone planning to make a change in the New Year can tell you, coming up with resolutions is the easy part. Willoway Nurseries’ Danny Gouge gives tips to help you keep the momentum going into 2014 and beyond. Flexibility is going to be a big factor for most operations in 2013. We are all sharpening our business management skills, reviewing costs and trying to increase efficiencies. Consumers expect quality at a fair price. They will pay for a product that meets their expectations. The industry overall is doing […]

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December 3, 2012

Perspective: Bridget Behe

In the October issue of Greenhouse Grower, we introduced the 10% Project, an initiative of sister magazine Today’s Garden Center to raise sales by 10 percent. This month, Michigan State University professor Dr. Bridget Behe, who was instrumental in getting the 10% Project’s pricing study off the ground, talks about what the study and future 10% Project initiatives mean for growers. Greenhouse Grower: How did you first get involved in the 10% Project? Bridget Behe: [Today’s Garden Center Editor] Carol Miller gave me a call very early spring, late winter last year and said, “I am interested in studying or investigating how price changes would influence demand of quantity sold.” I said, “That sounds really exciting. Count me in. How can I help?” I helped with the setup of the study, in terms of how the data should be collected and what data should be collected. Carol was instrumental in […]

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November 30, 2012

The National Green Centre Receives USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant

The National Green Centre has received a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant worth $15,636 to provide education on the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) to plant growers looking to meet SITES requirements and provide plants for SITES-certified projects. Missouri growers will be able to attend this portion of the education free of charge thanks to the funds provided by the grant. The SITES education will kick off with a panel discussion looking at the Business Impact of SITES for Missouri growers. The following eight sessions will address each of the SITES requirements within the Support Sustainable Practices in Plant Production section, including: Use sustainable soil amendments Reduce runoff from irrigation Reduce greenhouse gas emissions Reduce energy consumption Use integrated pest management Reduce use of potable water or other natural surface or subsurface water resources Reduce waste Recycle organic matter According to the SITES website, “The Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) is an […]

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November 28, 2012

The Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association Supports Hort Students With Internship Program

The Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) has announced the TOCA Internship Program, sponsored by Bayer. The internship program will involve the selection of a college student for an eight- to 10-week summer employment with a green industry publication that’s a member of TOCA. A selection committee of TOCA members will choose the student for the internship. The intern will receive a $3,000 stipend (to be paid by TOCA). The program will begin in 2013. “We are thrilled to be implementing this brand new program through TOCA,” says Scott Welge, head of marketing for Bayer’s Professional Lawn and Golf businesses. “It’s important for young college communicators to better understand the green industry and an internship at a major TOCA publication is one step in the right direction in that learning curve.” TOCA Executive Director Den Gardner adds that Bayer’s new Platinum Sponsorship of TOCA is just one of the new […]

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November 28, 2012

Invest In A Horticulture Student’s Education Through A National Floriculture Forum Grant

The National Floriculture Forum (NFF) is an educational meeting of university professors, Extension specialists and educators, graduate students, government scientists, and industry leaders in floriculture that has been held annually for more than a decade. This meeting brings together the floricultural community to address issues of importance to the industry, form collaborative relationships and learn through tours and connecting with each other. This year’s theme will revolve around “Creative Thinking, Creative Funding: Research, Extension, and Teaching Consortiums.” Greenhouse tours will include three of Northern New England’s top operations: D.S. Cole Growers, Pleasant View Gardens and Cavicchio Greenhouses. This meeting is the only one of its kind and continues to bring more members of the floriculture community together each year. The importance of the NFF has increased recently as the number of horticulture departments and associated funding levels have decreased. The impacts of the meeting are far-reaching: strengthening relationships between industry and […]

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November 26, 2012

Toro Selects Four Finalists For Green Spaces Make Great Places Grant Program

It’s down to the final four in The Toro Company’s Green Spaces Make Great Places grant program, and Project EverGreen is one of the finalists. The all-new community grant program will award $15,000 to communities and non-profits to The public can vote through Dec. 14, 2012, and help determine which organization receives the largest grant to support their program. The organization with the most votes via the Facebook contest will receive $7,000. The program with the second most votes will receive $4,000, and the third- and fourth-place winners will each receive $2,000. Click here to cast your vote. “We created this grant program to give back to the community and carry on our tradition of beautifying green spaces around the country,” says Judson McNeil of the Toro Giving Program. “Every organization deserves to win, and we’re thrilled to help in some way with their effort.” The Green Spaces Make Great […]

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Richard Jones

November 15, 2012

The Tipping Point With Biocontrols [Opinion]

We’ve heard a lot of growers talking about biocontrols in the last few months. The phrases, “We’re already using biologicals,” or, “We’re not using them now, but we know it’s something we need to be looking at” have come up so often, we decided to dig further into the trend with this month’s special Biocontrols Report. The number of people considering biocontrols surprised me a bit. It’s not that this is really new stuff or that we haven’t already seen growers having success with the technology. It’s just that until recently, buy-in on the idea of entrusting your high-value crop to bugs and microbes has been, well, less than overwhelming. So why, all of a sudden, are people giving biological controls a closer look? In talking with growers for this report, the environmentally and employee-friendly angle popped up often, but it didn’t seem to be the main reason. Costs and […]

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Richard Jones

November 13, 2012

Bob Dolibois, GROW And Change For The Better [Opinion]

When we came up with the plan for Greenhouse Grower’s GROW Summit in the summer of 2011, American Nursery & Landscape Association Executive Vice President Bob Dolibois was one of the first people we invited. And he was the first to accept. The mission of the GROW Summit — generating actionable ideas to help get the greenhouse business growing again — is right up Dolibois’ alley. After two decades as the head of one of the industry’s leading trade organizations, he’s seen just about everything. More importantly, he’s not shy about asking a question when it needs to be asked or expressing an opinion when it needs to be expressed. A little more than a year later, we’re talking with Dolibois again, this time for December’s cover story. The time seemed right for a couple of reasons. For one, Greenhouse Grower is wrapping up a successful first year of GROW. […]

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November 9, 2012

Kube-Pak’s Bill Swanekamp: Preparing For Downy Mildew In 2013

Impatiens downy mildew was one of the biggest disease stories of 2012, and the potential for more issues next spring has growers considering new ways to manage the situation. Impatiens walleriana is traditionally a big crop for Top 100 Grower Kube-Pak, in Allentown, N.J. Greenhouse Grower asked president Bill Swanekamp to talk about his plans for impatiens in 2013 and how he’s already working hard to protect his customers and his business this season. Greenhouse Grower: How was Kube-Pak impacted by downy mildew last year? Swanekamp: Even though there was downy mildew in our region, there wasn’t much of an impact on our 2011 season. We didn’t really hear about it from our customers because it showed up late in the summer. I think, in many cases, people assumed it was from the hot weather or the plants were just petering at the end of the season. Then, as we […]

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November 8, 2012

American Nursery & Landscape Association’s Bob Dolibois Offers His Take On The Future Of Floriculture

Bob Dolibois, executive vice president of the American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA), is retiring in December after 21 years with the organization. He leaves a market that is significantly different than when he arrived — in some ways better off and in some ways more challenged. Both sides of the coin, he’s quick to explain, are due to outside forces as well as decisions we have made as business owners and as an industry. Dolibois, one of the founding attendees of the GROW Summit, sat down with Greenhouse Grower to share his view — “the world according to Bob,” as he calls it — of the state of our industry. It was a wide-ranging interview in which we discussed his career, ANLA, his plans for the future and, most importantly, his perspective on where floriculture stands today and where it is headed. It’s a story best told in his […]

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