March 21, 2011

SAF Members Bring Flower Power To Capitol Hill

Energy was high and the mood upbeat as dozens of SAF members talked up the power of the floral industry across Capitol Hill on March 15, during SAF’s Congressional Action Days (CAD). Attendees represented every type and size of floral business — retail florists, independent designers, wholesalers, suppliers, importers and growers.    Traveling together as state or regional teams (and occasionally as a confident solo), they worked their way through more than a quarter of congressional offices talking about their businesses and sharing the industry’s concerns.   Dave Self, owner of Wyld West Annuals in Loxahatchee, Fla., says the only thing that could lure him away from the Sunshine State’s balmy weather was “the opportunity to get my representatives thinking about what matters to my business.” Of utmost importance to him: repealing 1099 regulations and immigration reform.    SAF President Leo Roozen of Washington Bulb Company in Mount Vernon, Wash., […]

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March 17, 2011

Perspective: Paul Fisher, Associate Professor/Extension Specialist

As more growers recapture and reuse irrigation water, they are going to have to become water treatment experts. For three years, Paul Fisher from the University of Florida has been filling this educational void through the Water Education Alliance for Horticulture. In addition to looking to other industries for solutions, this summer he will be attending water treatment classes in Delft, Holland, to learn how growers can set up small-scale water treatment options. GG: How did the idea for the Water Education Alliance originate? PF: The idea came from growers in the Young Plant Research Center group. We prioritize projects each year and a top one was developing educational resources for the water treatment of pathogens. Many growers are recirculating irrigation water, using flood floors and benches. Young plants are susceptible to waterborne diseases and growers’ reputations are on the line to deliver healthy plugs and liners. They also were […]

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March 10, 2011

SNA Board Appoints Interim Executive VP

Karen Summers has been appointed interim executive vice president of the Southern Nursery Association (SNA), filling the position made vacant by the departure of Steve Newton last year. The appointment comes after the SNA board of directors set new directives to rebuild and strengthen the association to achieve financial health and once again become an integral part of the horticulture industry in the Southeast. Over the past few years, the association’s financial stability has been shaken by the economic downturn, a decline in membership and no longer depending on a trade show as the major source of income. The newly elected board of directors plans to focus on member services that will promote the economic welfare of members, as well as the association. The goal of the current board is to not only survive but thrive. Summers will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the association, as well as […]

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March 9, 2011

Village Nurseries Doubles Annual Sales In Texas

Village Nurseries, a specialty grower for landscape professionals, has announced that sales are rebounding, especially in Texas where 2010 sales doubled over 2009 even as other wholesale nurseries have gone out of business or reduced operations in the wake of the recent recession. Village Nurseries penetrated the Texas market seven years ago as part of its expansion outside California. But unlike California, where the company sells directly to landscape professionals, Texas uses a different model in which professionals buy from independent rewholesalers. Village Nurseries works exclusively with rewholesalers in Texas rather than selling directly to the landscape professionals. “Since I live in Texas I know the client base, and I’ve developed long relationships with the rewholesaler and the independent garden centers,” explains Michael A. Mireles, territory manager for Village Nurseries. “We have a diverse product line of high quality shrubs and trees, so rewholesalers can get all their needs met […]

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February 11, 2011

Industry Leaders Resign From ANSI Committees

Ball Horticultural Company’s Will Healy, D.S. Cole Growers’ Doug Cole and Metrolina Greenhouse’s Mark Yelanich have resigned from the committees developing national agricultural sustainability standards. In a letter to Leonardo Academy President Michael Arny, the three former committee members write that floriculture is committed to developing standards but that those resigning do not see standards on the horizon after two-plus years of deliberation. The Feb. 9 letter to Arny is as follows: After months of careful and deliberate discussions we the undersigned have decided to withdraw from the ANSI process organized by Leonardo Academy to develop a National Standard for Sustainable Agricultural. A large number of people have dedicated considerable effort towards creation of this standard but after 2+ years of effort only modest progress has occurred. We are committed to developing a sustainable standard for agriculture but feel that the Leonardo Academy process will not accomplish this goal. There […]

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January 5, 2011

Slideshow: Tornado Strikes N.G. Heimos Greenhouse

A tornado swept through N.G. Heimos Greenhouse’s facilities last week in Sunset Hills, Mo. No one was seriously hurt but damage to facilities is significant. “We are very lucky. We had a full crew working when this hit and we only had a couple minor cuts,” says Amy Morris, head grower.

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January 5, 2011

Download: State Of The Industry Whitepaper

Did you know that 57.7 percent of growers say the number one crop category they’re most optimistic about for 2011 is herbs and vegetables? Find out more in our 2011 State Of The Industry White Paper, which includes the results of our latest State Of The Industry survey and feedback from growers on the challenges and opportunities their businesses face. Download the white paper here.  

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December 29, 2010

State Of The Industry: Greenhouse Trends And Predictions

  Is the greenhouse floriculture industry a healthy industry? Your answer likely depends, in part, on the health of your own business. Sales are up for a number of growers–or at least flat compared to 2009–and expectations are high as we enter a new year. Still, whether you’re pleased with your past year’s sales or not, every business is but a drop in the bucket that is the greenhouse floriculture industry. Collectively, growers tend to agree the industry has work to do to achieve everyone’s ultimate goals: reaching more consumers and selling more plants. Growers, of course, are big believers in the value of plants, as are the retailers they serve. So why, industry leaders continually wonder, can’t a grower’s passion carry over to consumers on a bigger scale? It’s a question to which growers have always been searching for answers. And when the answers are found, the possibilities, growers […]

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December 29, 2010

State Of The Industry: Modernizing The IGCs

The frustration in Jason Parks’ voice mounts as he discusses the independent garden center (IGC) market in the southern United States. As Parks describes, once great IGC retailers are approaching retirement age, and there isn’t a generation on their heels to take their place. The next potential retailers watched their parents or bosses work their back sides off to barely make a living. So why, Parks asks, would potential up-and-comers want to make a career as an IGC retailer? “It is different here in the South, with some exceptions, because the people we deal with are mostly small and mid-sized garden centers,” says Parks, the operations manager at Parks Brothers Farm in Van Buren, Ark. “A lot of them are hanging on for dear life.” Most retailers in the South are at least 50 years old, Parks says, and his family’s wholesale greenhouse operation has been doing business with many […]

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December 29, 2010

State Of The Industry: Survey Says!

Characterizing the state of the commercial greenhouse industry is a daunting task considering how segmented the industry is. Some growers supply box stores while others serve independent retailers. Some specialize in bedding plants while others primarily grow container perennials or flowering potted plants. And some have facilities that warrant their own zip codes while others produce plants in single greenhouses. The list of differences between U.S. greenhouse businesses is certainly a long one. At the end of each year, though, we survey growers to find out how the industry is doing as a whole. We ask growers about the year’s sales and their sales expectations for the coming year, as well as questions about opportunities and challenges their businesses are facing. This year, we also surveyed suppliers of growers (i.e. chemicals, containers, fertilizers, etc.) about their sales, prices and priorities for 2011. Here’s what we learned. Sales Analysis Both growers […]

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December 29, 2010

State Of The Industry: What Keeps You Up At Night?

A grower’s list of concerns these days is a long one. From poor spring weather and disinterested consumers to increasing government regulations and succession plans, growers have more weight on their minds than ever. But as stressful as rainy spring weekends and wondering whether your kids are willing to handle the load of your business, the issue keeping more growers up at night than any other is, perhaps no surprise, the economy. “I sleep well but the economy is my number one concern,” says Steve Free, Grass Creek Greenhouse. “In the past, I felt our industry was relatively recession proof, but growing federal debt and the current administration’s intent to raise taxes troubles me.” In our annual State Of The Industry Survey, we asked growers to rate their level of concern about a list of 10 topics on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being not concerned at […]

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December 22, 2010

Nursery News & Blues

We’ve been hearing how nursery growers focused on woody ornamentals are faring much worse than greenhouse growers producing spring annuals. The headlines we published last fall indicate there will be a pretty big shakeout in the nursery landscape next year, even plant shortages. Hines Nurseries is back in Chapter 11 for the second time in two years. Carolina Nurseries has closed its doors. Monrovia is asking for a $20 million bailout from its faithful indpendent garden center customers, while seriously considering serving the box stores for the first time in 15 years. Hines and Monrovia have iconic histories. Both were founded in the same region of California in the 1920s but pursued different paths. Monrovia built a brand based on quality and selection and focused on the independent garden center channel to uphold the value of its brand. Hines gravitated more to the box stores while still serving independents. Hines […]

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