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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August 29, 2012

Syngenta Acquires DuPont Professional Products Business

Syngenta announced Aug. 29, 2012 that it will acquire the DuPont Professional Products insecticide business, including a number of registered trademark brands. Created in 2002, the DuPont Professional Products insecticide business specializes in the development and marketing of innovative branded products for the professional turf and pest control markets, including Altriset, Advion Arilon and Acelepryn. The acquisition price is $125 million. “This is the next step in our strategy to scale our Turf and Landscape business within Lawn and Garden to further support our customers,” says Tim Kroenke, head of Syngenta Lawn and Garden North America. “This acquisition will help Syngenta gain leadership in the professional pest management market and increase our presence in turf.” As a result of this transaction, Syngenta can pursue opportunities in adjacent markets such as the ornamental horticulture and consumer markets. Finally, Syngenta Research & Development investment will drive growth in opportunities to extend the […]

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August 27, 2012

FNGLA, OFA and PLANET Partner For TPIE Educational Sessions

The Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association (FNGLA) will partner with OFA –The Association of Horticulture Professionals and The Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) to plan and promote the 2013 TPIE Short Course. The TPIE Short Course will be held during FNGLA’s Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition (TPIE) on January 23 to 25, 2013 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “In an ever-changing industry environment, FNGLA, OFA and PLANET embrace the benefits of working together to deliver extraordinary educational opportunities for all of their members,” FNGLA said in a press release. “This is a grand opportunity to offer an exciting venue and great industry resources designed to provide interiorscape professionals with critical take-away tools to make their businesses more successful.” FNGLA will continue its administrative role of the TPIE Short Course and will handle logistical coordination and registration. OFA and PLANET will participate directly in the program’s development and promotion. All three associations will […]

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August 21, 2012

Rough Brothers Acquires The Assets Of XS Smith

Rough Brothers Greenhouses announced Aug. 15, 2012 that it has bought the assets of XS Smith, Inc. The XS Smith purchased assets include all manufacturing equipment and inventory, trade names and all greenhouse structures, systems, products and designs. As part of the transaction, Rough Brothers intends to utilize the existing XS Smith production facility in North Carolina as an additional manufacturing facility. The XS Smith facility is a modern and efficient manufacturing facility which adds to existing Rough Brothers production operations in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Shanghai, China.  The additional space in Washington, N.C., allows Rough Brothers to expand its production capability and simultaneously reduce shipping costs for customers in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Southern markets. “We believe that the greenhouse structures offered by XS Smith will expand our product line options for our customers and we look forward to working with them,” says Rough Brothers President Richard Reilly. “We have […]

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August 21, 2012

Darrell Messick Of Messick Company Dies

The following statement was issued by Messick’s nephew, Kurt: Long-time industry legend, Darrell Messick (1930-2012), passed away due to natural causes in Saratoga, Calif., on Aug. 13, 2012 at the age of 81. Darrell spent nearly 60 years in the horticultural industry. His contribution and impact on our industry was immense and far-reaching throughout the world. Darrell spent the first half of his career working for George J. Ball Company. The long time vice president of ‘Ball,’ he was a driving force in the company’s explosive growth of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. One of the industries’ top salesmen early on, he evolved into a real industry leader. He had a huge impact in developing the West Coast azalea industry, was a major factor in the Easter lily bulb business and among other areas he had considerable involvement in the bare root rose industry.   Always dedicated to the industry […]

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August 14, 2012

Monrovia Brand Will Be In Lowe’s

Monrovia will begin selling its branded plants in Lowe’s stores in 2013. As a result of an exclusive agreement with Lowe’s, Monrovia plants, currently sold in Home Depot in plain pots, will pull out of Home Depot. The new relationship differs significantly from what the industry expects of a mass merchant agreement. The Monrovia plants will not be sold to Lowe’s at a deep discount, and Lowe’s will not have access to exclusive varieties. “They will have the standard trade discount that applies to all our customers. So, no additional sideline pricing for Lowe’s,” says David Kirby, Monrovia’s new vice president of sales. Kirby says that Lowe’s agreeing to maintain the premium brand image, partly through pricing, was key to Monrovia making the agreement. Until 2010, Monrovia had sold exclusively to independent garden centers. In late 2010, Monrovia’s lenders demanded the grower prove its current business mode was viable by […]

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August 7, 2012

Green Fuse Botanicals Moves To Santa Paula, Calif.

Green Fuse Botanicals has tripled its greenhouse space with a move to new facilities in Santa Paula, Calif. The new location at Fides Oro gives Green Fuse the opportunity to test and trial many more plants. “This is a big step forward in our ability to evaluate plants and bringnew products to market,” says Steve Jones, Green Fuse founder. “It gives us the flexibility to trial a wide variety of genera in different growing environments. With this expanded control, we can closely replicate our customers’ conditions in North America and overseas.” Previously, Green Fuse was trialing new plants at GroLink in Oxnard, Calif. They will continue that strong working relationship, including producing Ipomoea ‘Sweet Georgia’ crops for the coming season. “The Santa Paula site was needed to accommodate the expanding genetics we plan to introduce in the future,” Jones says. “With the move, we’re a stronger trialing resource for our […]

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August 7, 2012

Costa Layman Farms Holds 7th Annual Health Fair

‘Miracles happen where you plant them’ was printed on the t-shirts of more than 425 Costa Layman Farms’ employees at the 7th Annual Interdisciplinary Health Fair on July 20, 2012 in Trenton, S.C. Costa Layman Farms, one of the leading perennial companies in the U.S., teamed up with Georgia Health Sciences University College of Nursing (GHSU) to plant other miracles: free health assessments for farm workers and academic hours for student nurses. The health fair featured dental screenings, HIV testing, cholesterol and glucose screenings, pulmonary function testing, grip strength and screenings for vision, bone density, sleep apnea, height, weight, blood pressure, BMI, cholesterol and glucose and body mechanics classes. “The comprehensive health screenings provided by GHSU are of the highest caliber and a wonderful benefit we are able to offer our employees,” says Debbie Layman from Costa Layman Farms and founder of the health fair. “We are extremely fortunate to partner […]

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