October 20, 2012

Garden Retail 2012: Observations From Columbus, Ohio

The weather was ideal May 25-26, 2012, with temperatures in the 80s, moderate humidity and sunshine – perfect for gardening. The stores were very busy especially on Saturday, May 26, with consumers anxious to start their spring planting. The edible displays were particularly busy as interest in that category continues to grow – although it is somewhat surprising that Bonnie Plants seemed to be the only real organized brand with great distribution. It supplied all three national retailers with seemingly no challengers. Home Depot As we observed in Baltimore and Philadelphia, Home Depot has spectacular stores offering great products and even better merchandising, both supplied by Bell Nursery. These stores all had annuals and perennials with far more color than the competition leading back to the old basic axiom that “color sells.” Color really sells when you combine the WOW factor with great merchandising executed by passionate, well-trained and highly […]

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October 20, 2012

Garden Retail 2012: Observations In Cleveland, Ohio

The weather was warm on May 27 and 28, 2012, in the 80s, and the shoppers were out in force buying plants and a lot of related garden items. It should have been a great retail weekend for growers and retailers. This is another market where Home Depot is the most dominant, displaying good-quality green goods in conjunction with very good merchandising. Cleveland is also the home of Petitti Garden Centers, a family-owned group of nine garden centers throughout northeastern Ohio and one of the leading independents in North America. Petitti opened new locations over the past three years, an indication of how a well-managed independent garden center can survive and flourish during these times. If you want to visit garden centers that know how to sell plants, this is the place to go. Petitti Garden Centers I had the pleasure of visiting two Petitti stores in Mentor and in […]

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September 27, 2012

Garden Retail 2012: Observations In Charlotte, N.C.

The weather on Saturday, April 28, 2012, was overcast and in the low 60s (farenheit). This obviously impacted the shopper turnout, which was extremely low and very disappointing. However, on Sunday the 29th the sun came out and the temperatures zoomed into the low 80s by afternoon; stores were filled with shoppers. Lowe’s In Charlotte you will find some of the best Lowe’s garden centers in the country. This quality is driven by a combination of a very relevant assortment of products, crack merchandising and very consistent product quality with a lot of color, or as I prefer to say, “The WOW Factor.”  One often neglected part of merchandising is customer interaction, but in the Charlotte store it appears to be SOP. Merchandisers constantly assist consumers by answering their questions and making a lot of suggestions. This obviously leads towards both higher sales and customer satisfaction. On the product side, […]

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September 27, 2012

Innovation And Investment Are The Keys To Success

In the early 1960s, certain zones in the south of Spain developed into what we call “the sea of plastic.” This vast extension of greenhouses covers nearly 350 square kilometers and can be confused with the sea when the sun reflects off their plastic surfaces. Within years of increasing the area dedicated to intensive crops, Campo de Dalias, Almería, became famous for its production of vegetables, with a total business of $1.5 billion a year. From Fruit To Flowers On the other side of Andalusia, in the province of Cádiz, the tourist village of Chipiona produced its own revolution. In the 1970s, most of the farmers there successfully moved from strawberry and tomato production to carnations, eventually exporting millions and millions of flowers all over the world. The climate — with mild winters, warm summers and moderate winds — made it easy to grow plants. Water was not a problem […]

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September 27, 2012

Global Cooperation Helps The Industry

Generally, the greenhouse industry is commonly known as being a part of the horticulture industry. I’m doing my internship at Geremia Farm in Connecticut. The Geremia Farm contributes to the horticulture industry. This farm is equipped lots of automation systems to produce quality plants. This has given me insight into the U.S. greenhouse industry. The industries in the U.S. and South Korea are very different. The Geographic Environment The U.S. comprises a lot of land. It is about 98 times larger than Korea. You need four hours to drive across the Korea by car. Think about how long this would take in the U.S. In many parts of the U.S., people are able to have a large garden or yard. People in the U.S. need more plants for decorating their gardens than those who live in Korea. Koreans don’t have a lot of space for adornment. Therefore, they want a […]

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September 27, 2012

Greenhouse Operations In Indonesia

When I got an email confirming my placement with this internship, I thought nurseries in the U.S. are all very modern and machine-automated. I thought everything was computerized, and the processes of filling up pots with soil, planting and watering were all done by machine. But I was wrong. Not all nurseries in U.S. are modern, but there are some nurseries that are semi-modern — meaning aside from using machines, they also need quite a bit of human labor to get the job done. One of these nurseries is my internship placement, Monterey Bay Nursery (MBN) in California. I think MBN is similar to the nurseries in Indonesia. Everything is simple. The greenhouses are made from wood or bamboo and have plastic covers. The tables are made from wood and covered by plastic, as well. The watering system consists of a sprinkler or hose. These systems are adaptable and could […]

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September 26, 2012

Randolph’s Greenhouses To Close

Randolph’s Greenhouses, Jackson, Tenn., will close its doors at the end of September. Rita Randolph shared a letter on Facebook explaining the closing of the 70-year-old operation (see the full letter below), citing the economy and costs of repairing old greenhouses as causes. “I want more time to do what I love most — gardening, writing, lecturing about plants, spending time with family and friends (and sleeping through cold winter nights instead of fretting about antique greenhouse heaters going out in the middle of the night),” Randolph writes. Randolph plans to open Rita’s Rare Plants, a mail order company. “I just want life on a smaller scale than 10 greenhouses on 20 acres,” she says. Here is the full letter, which is posted on the Randolph’s Greenhouses’ Facebook page: “To all our friends, “We’ve decided to close Randolph’s Greenhouses as a retail business and I wanted to let you know […]

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September 26, 2012

Garden Retail 2012: Observations On Spring From Jerry Montgomery

After enduring the spring of 2011 — arguably one of the worst years weather-wise in the past two decades — 2012 brought a spark back to the industry. A number of areas, especially in parts of the West, encountered really good weather. Other areas had a good start with many reporting record sales in March, only to see cold and rain return in April and erratic weather patterns in May. But when the weather was decent, consumers were out in force. Our team has visited 5012 garden centers since 2005. During this spring season, we visited 412 — boxes and independents — in California, the deep South, Mid-South, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest. Here are the trends we saw this year. Retailers At most retailers we visited we saw fewer employees than in previous years. The exception was in independents where we observed more staff on the sales floor. A good example […]

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September 20, 2012

BASF Acquires Becker Underwood For $1.02 Billion

BASF plans to acquire Becker Underwood for a price of $1.02 billion (€785 million). BASF came to an agreement with Norwest Equity Partners (NEP) to acquire Becker Underwood, which has been a portfolio company of NEP since 2004. The purchase is subject to approval by the responsible authorities and legal closing of the transaction is expected by the end of 2012. Becker Underwood, headquartered in Ames, Iowa, is one of the leading global providers of technologies for biological seed treatment, seed treatment colors and polymers, as well as products in the areas of biological crop protection, turf and horticulture, animal nutrition and landscape colorants and coatings. The company has 10 production sites worldwide and 479 employees. “We are impressed with Becker Underwood’s ability to translate growers’ needs into innovative, tailor-made solutions that can promote higher yields while conserving resources. Becker Underwood is to become part of BASF and we are […]

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September 19, 2012

Top Ten Cuttings Producers Of 2012

The recent acquisition of Ecke Ranch by the Agribio Group — which already owns number one cuttings producer Fides Oro — won’t impact our Top 10 Cuttings Producer rankings until next year. But adding the 95,000,000 cuttings Ecke produced this year to Fides Oro’s more than one billion will further cement its place as the top cuttings producer. This continues the industry trend toward consolidation; in 2011, Agribio purchased Guatemalan cuttings producer Oro Farms, creating Fides Oro. The combined output of cuttings topped one billion for the first time.     There was some other shifting among the ranks. Selecta Klemm increased cuttings production by 23 million in 2012, moving up one into the number four spot. Because Innovaplant reduced production by 5 to 10 million this year, dropping from number eight to number ten, Florexpo moved into the number eight position and GGG Grüenwald into number nine. New Products, Crops and […]

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September 13, 2012

Our 2012 OFA Short Course Favorites

OFA Short Course abounds in sights and sounds, from amazing plants to steel drum bands. Tours of greenhouses and gardens added to the visual overload. We could fill most of an issue with favorites, but since that’s not an option, we chose a few highlights.

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