April 17, 2012

Store Displays, Customer Service & Pricing In Southern Florida Retailer Locations

The temperatures were ideal with days in the high-70s and nights in the mid-60s, but there was some intermittent rainfall.  The stores were jammed with product. April 7 was a strong retail day with good, but not overwhelming, consumer traffic. Flamingo Road Nursery Davis, Fla., however, had so many cars it took me 15 minutes to finds a parking spot. It was by far the busiest garden center of the more than 30 visited. The tables in most garden centers were still fairly full, possibly with the exception of hanging baskets where we saw a lot of empty basket lines.  It seemed to me that traditional bedding plants were not that strong, especially seed grown basic annuals, and that many shopping carts had more of the premium items along with landscape foliage plants. The vegetable displays were not as busy as one would expect this time of year, and it […]

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April 11, 2012

A New Editor For Greenhouse Grower

Spring has sprung early throughout much of the country this year. The warm, sunny weather has customers streaming into neighborhood retailers, hungry for plants and anxious to get out into the garden. Signs are pointing to a very good 2012 for greenhouse growers. As I write this, we’re just back from a week at California Spring Trials, where the mood was also enthusiastic. After a rough couple of cold, rainy springs, everyone seems energized, excited, and ready for a fresh start.  And we have another reason to feel energized and excited here at the magazine.I’m pleased to introduce Robin Siktberg to you as the new Editor of Greenhouse Grower. Robin joins us well-prepared for the job with an impressive background in horticulture. She’s a graduate of The Ohio State University with a B.S. in Agricultural Communications with an emphasis in horticulture. Her career prior to joining us here at Greenhouse […]

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February 29, 2012

Why OFA Is Adapting – And Why Your Business Should Too

If you Google the expression “adapt or die,” you find thousands of references to books, whitepapers, newspaper articles, speeches and journal articles confirming the need to change. “Adapt or die” is not a creative phrase, but it’s certainly clear: Like death and taxes, we seem to have no alternative. The need to transform is not unique to horticulture. All industries have experienced pain over the last few years and still today. Businesses are struggling, consumers are just starting to gain some financial ground, and we know it’s going to be a few more years before the global economy is back to normal– whatever “normal” means. In the meantime, we cannot sit back and wait for change to come to us. OFA is certainly not going to relax and hope for the best. As we announced two years ago, OFA’s strategic plan includes an objective to expand our relationships with other […]

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January 25, 2012

The New USDA Zone Map: Why And What Opportunity It Offers Plant Retailers

The USDA has released an updated version of the Plant Hardiness Zone map, shifting many zones one half zone warmer than the previous version of the map, released in 1990. This new edition of the map is based on weather data over a 30 year period, from 1976 to 2005. So why the changes? The 1990 map used temperature as the basis for mapping the zones, whereas this version of the map uses data like elevation, slope, wind and proximity to water to determine zone. The new map also uses data from more weather stations than the 1990 map did. “The USDA was very careful to downplay that this has anything to do with global warming, and I was happy to hear that, because to me it’s comparing apples to oranges,” says Cornell’s Bill Miller. “The mathematical models are different. The ability to handle the data is different. I don’t […]

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January 20, 2012

The Home Depot Acquires Redbeacon

The Home Depot has acquired Redbeacon, an online home services platform connecting consumers with contractors for their home maintenance, repair and remodeling needs. Currently, users request a service on the Redbeacon website, such as house cleaning and home repairs, and the site matches the request with a service provider in the customer’s area. Quotes are sent to the user, and appointments for the service are booked through the Redbeacon site. The site and service were launched in 2009 at the TechCrunch 50 Conference. “One of the things that sets Redbeacon apart is the sophisticated algorithms we’ve developed to match consumers’ service needs to local providers who are best qualified for the job,” says Aaron Lee, Cofounder and Software Engineering lead at Redbeacon. The site began serving the San Francisco Bay area at launch, and then expanded into Seattle/Tacoma in September 2010, Washington D.C. in early 2011 and San Francisco, Seattle, […]

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January 19, 2012

Overcoming Spring Freight Challenges

Here we are again, with spring upon us as well as the worst freight market in modern history. What do I mean by “worst in modern history?” In the trucking and logistics world that I live in, we are experiencing the toughest capacity crunch in more than 50 years. It is a perfect storm of driver demographics, government regulations, lack of financing and shippers willing to pay top dollar to move their freight. Let me explain. Driver DemographicsDrivers are leaving the workforce faster than ever before. Many trucking companies are paying sign-on bonuses of up to $10,000 for drivers to change companies rather than allowing the truck and trailer to sit idle. Unused vehicles cost the trucking company money. As a whole, our workforce is getting older, and the drivers aren’t necessarily the youngest (nor the fittest) bunch. Moreover, strict immigration laws and government regulations have virtually stopped foreign drivers […]

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January 17, 2012

Evonik Names John Wynne Business Development Manager – Horticulture

Creasorb, a business under Evonik Industries, a Germany-based creative industrial group, is pleased to announce the appointment of John Wynne as Business Development Manager – Horticulture. In this capacity, he is responsible for developing sales of Stockosorb, a superabsorbent soil conditioner, to the horticultural, turf and ornamental markets in the NAFTA region. “John’s strong background in developing business and sales opportunities in green industry markets will be a great asset to our efforts in the NAFTA region,” says Bobby Mitra, Business Director Creasorb Wynne brings 12 years of industry experience, developing business relationships and sales both locally and nationally in the golf, lawn care and greenhouse businesses. Most recently, he was Territory Sales Manager for Agrium Advanced Technologies in Loveland, Colo., where he developed new business in Connecticut and Western Massachusetts.

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January 11, 2012

Greenhouse Grower Columnist Armitage to Take on Spokesperson Role

The Perennial Farm is proud to announce that Dr. Allan Armitage will serve as strategic advisor and spokesperson for two exciting new lines of plant material- Treadwell Perennials and Perennial Farm Premium. Dr. Allan Armitage is well-known as a writer, speaker and researcher throughout the world. As a teacher and speaker, Dr. Armitage has been invited to lecture in Canada, South America, New Zealand, Australia and many countries in Europe. He has studied annuals, perennials, cut flowers and greenhouse crops internationally. His plant introductions and research in the Trial gardens at UGA are recognized throughout the world. He continues to be a  positive influence in American horticulture and shares his expertise with everyone in our business. In his latest role, Armitage will be involved with the following products and services:  – Treadwell Perennials tolerate foot traffic and act as groundcovers along pathways or between stepping stones and throughout the garden, […]

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January 6, 2012

The New Face of American Gardeners

GG. What are some of the biggest opportunities you see for greenhouse growers in 2012? Why? SL: I see the ‘typical’ American gardener changing—not disappearing—but changing. Younger American families seem to have less time to devote to traditional gardening activities such as creating landscape beds, planting, weeding, etc. Their busy schedules include family activities like sports and traveling but not sweating it out in the backyard together. Younger American’s also expect fast results. For them, today’s garden will be smaller, more concentrated and instantly productive, and it needs to be easy to care for. Older families and ’empty nesters’ may invest in something outdoors other than a traditional garden landscaping: think outdoor grills, pools, patios and extensive container-grown plants, including large, containerized trees and shrubs. The opportunities for growers are to meet the needs of the changing customer. That would include plants that bring instant gratification, such as combination containers, […]

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January 4, 2012

Details About The OFA-ANLA Joint Venture

Why are ANLA and OFA creating this joint venture? The industry is facing significant opportunities and challenges that require its national trade associations to respond as never before. In meeting those challenges, the national associations have a choice: to compete against each other or join together. OFA and ANLA have decided to join forces. Therefore, we are forming a joint venture that involves sharing resources, including appropriate staff, to expand the capacity of the organizations to better support our members and the industry. How does the joint venture benefit OFA and ANLA members? ANLA and OFA members will have access to the best of both of our organizations. OFA is the horticulture industry leader in technical and business development education, industry marketing and conducting a major trade show with international ties. ANLA is the industry leader in representing the industry before government, interpreting major industry trends and providing owner/senior management […]

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January 4, 2012

OFA, ANLA Merger A Distant Possibility

OFA has established itself as an industry leader in technical and business development education, industry marketing and conducting a major international trade show. The American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA), meanwhile, has become a leader representing the industry before government, interpreting industry trends and providing its own education for business owners and senior management. Now, the two associations are bringing their strengths together in a joint venture that both sides say could one day result in a merger between OFA and ANLA. “In several years, if both organizations see the joint venture as a value to our members and they can benefit from further collaboration to better serve them and the industry, both boards of directors already support the intention to form a new, single premier horticulture organization serving North America,” says Michael Geary, OFA’s CEO. According to Geary, OFA’s next step is to integrate ANLA into its educational programs, […]

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January 3, 2012

Seeley’s Run Of 26 Straight Conferences Halted

The Seeley Conference, held annually for 26 years at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., has been postponed this year to allow the conference’s board of directors a year to overhaul the event. Following the last conference in June 2011, the board met to assess the event and discuss its future. The board determined then that a possible venue change and format may be necessary to best serve those who attend the conference that promotes the discussion of issues that are critical to commercial floriculture’s future. “One of the trends we’ve noticed over the last 26 years in the floriculture industry is that there have been a lot of mergers,” says Neil Mattson, executive secretary of the Seeley board. “If you look at the total number of operations there were 26 years ago, the number of growers has been reduced by maybe 40 percent. “In line with that notion, attendance has […]

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