June 23, 2010

Southeast Conference Finds New Equilibrium

Rebranded as the Southeast Color Connection, the former Southeast Greenhouse Conference returned to its roots as a more intimate regional conference and trade show, June 16-18. The past few years the conference has been rightsizing itself. A prolonged period of severe drought conditions in 2006-2008 significantly impacted growers, garden centers and landscapers in the Southeast. A number of businesses did not survive it. This regional weather disaster combined with a national economic recession has hurt show attendance and commercial support the past few years. Economic belt tightening has also forced exhibitors to be more selective where they exhibit nationally and to send fewer people to events. Changes that were made to improve the event were well received, including moving the trade show to Thursday and Friday, having dedicated trade show hours that did not compete with educational sessions and hosting a free lunch on the trade show floor. The event’s […]

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June 22, 2010

State Of The Industry Report: Spring Recap

The weather wasn’t cooperative for every grower this spring but it was good enough for most to declare 2010 a success. In fact, 88 percent of the growers we surveyed at the end of May declared spring a success for their business. We surveyed 120 growers in all, and only 12 percent called spring a failure. As usual, those who didn’t fare well cited the weather as their biggest seasonal challenge. Sixty-one percent of growers say the weather was their No. 1 challenge this year. The economy (23 percent) was the second-biggest challenge growers faced this spring. “Weather played a huge role in our spring sales,” says Lee Wright, a grower-retailer in the Northeastern United States. “We went from frost every other night to 85- to 90-degree temperatures. It was too big of a swing for customers to handle.” When we asked growers for more details about their weather, the […]

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June 22, 2010

OFA President Danny Takao: Fitting Into The Market

Danny Takao has a greenhouse operation to run, and he’s been doing just that at Takao Nursery for nearly 30 years. But Takao wonders where his operation and others will be in the next 30 if the industry fails to connect with the next generation of consumers. “We need to think beyond our own little companies,” Takao says. “If we band together and can have an organization that’s really focused and well funded to educate the next group of consumers â€“from kindergarteners to college students–it would really pull all the supply chains together. Everybody would benefit.” Part of Takao’s mission as OFA‘s current president is to cultivate that next generation of consumers so our industry remains relevant and prosperous in the coming years. Takao wants to engage more young people with OFA–as part of its board of directors, committees or as members. Getting Involved Financially, OFA took off under John Holmes, […]

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June 22, 2010

Spring 2010 Is A Success For Greenhouse Growers

The weather wasn’t cooperative for every grower this spring but it was good enough for most to declare 2010 a success. In fact, 88 percent of the growers we surveyed at the end of May declared spring a success for their business. We surveyed 120 growers in all, and only 12 percent called spring a failure. As usual, those who didn’t fare well cited the weather as their biggest seasonal challenge. Sixty-one percent of growers say the weather was their No. 1 challenge this year. The economy (23 percent) was the second-biggest challenge growers faced this spring. “Weather played a huge role in our spring sales,” says Lee Wright, a grower-retailer in the Northeastern United States. “We went from frost every other night to 85- to 90-degree temperatures. It was too big of a swing for customers to handle.” When we asked growers for more details about their weather, the […]

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June 15, 2010

2010 Operation Of The Year Finalists

Greenhouse Grower has recognized one operation as its Grower of the Year for each of the last 25 years. A 26th operation will be added to the prestigious list at our Evening of Excellence ceremony July 12 at OFA Short Course, but Greenhouse Grower and its event partner, BASF, are taking the Grower of the Year awards program to yet another level this year with the introduction of a second award. For the first time, we’ll recognize a Head Grower of the Year as part of our program. We’ve designed Grower of the Year as a program with two distinct categories–one that recognizes a head grower and the other that spotlights our Operation of the Year. We opened up our Grower of the Year program to nominations for the first time in 2009, when George and Louise Lucas of Lucas Greenhouses were honored as Grower of the Year. The industry’s […]

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June 11, 2010

Royal Wedding Enhanced With 40,000 Flowers

Forty thousand Colombian flowers will enhance one of Europe’s major 2010 social events: the June 19 wedding of Princess Victoria of Sweden to entrepreneur Daniel Westling in Stockholm.   Twenty-four Colombian flower farms, with the support of Proexport Office, will contribute to the flowers needed for the arrangements, bouquets and floral decorations. All flowers have earned the Florverde certification label, which ensures socio-environmental standards for flower production are met. “Colombia has earned its position as the top provider of flowers to the United States and as the second largest exporter worldwide,” says Augusto Solano, president of the Association of Colombian Flower Exporters (Asocolflores). “Colombia is proud to have our beautiful flowers play an important role in this marriage.”

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June 7, 2010

Tornado Strikes Aris Facility In Canada

Aris Horticulture’s Keepsake Plants production facility in Leamington, Ontario, sustained damage during a tornado over the weekend. This tornado was part of the same system that passed through Ohio and Michigan on Saturday night. No one was hurt but several of the greenhouses were damaged. The office building received minimal damage. No disruption to daily shipments is anticipated due to the storm and Aris is operating as normal. Growers relying on product distribution will receive material on schedule. Local greenhouse growers are banding together to provide assistance. Over the next week, Aris will be doing an assessment of the damage to the property and developing a long-term facility recovery plan. This will ensure Aris can continue to provide a reliable supply of product for its customers through a combination of repairing existing facilities and constructing new buildings.

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June 1, 2010

Hines Nurseries Leader Returns

David Hernandez has returned to Hines Nurseries as general manager of the Fallbrook, Calif., location and director of new products. Hernandez most recently served as general manager at Altman Specialty Plants in Vista, Calif.  “This is major news for Hines and our customers,” says Steve Thigpen, CEO of Hines Nurseries. “David was a key manager at Hines for almost 30 years and is returning to continue our forward momentum. His strong management skills, nursery business knowledge and leadership assure our customers Hines will continue to deliver exciting products, on-time delivery and attentive customer service. His experience at Altman’s, coupled with that as general manager at Hines Irvine, color manager and operations process improvement manager, make him well-positioned to lead us into rapid growth and expansion.” For more information on Hines Nurseries, visit HinesHort.com.

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May 25, 2010

Perspective: Sakata’s Ron Cramer

With a 30-year tenure at Paul Ecke Ranch before directing Sakata’s marketing activities on the cuttings side, Ron Cramer offers a unique perspective in bringing innovative varieties to market globally. At Ecke Ranch, Cramer managed licensing activities in Europe and Asia, working directly with breeders like Sakata and Kientzler in vegetative annuals, while also managing poinsettia propagation licensing abroad. Sakata has a long history of introducing innovative genetics in both seed and cuttings. Noteworthy recent introductions include Profusion zinnias and Kong coleus from seed and SunPatiens and SuperCal petchoas from cuttings. GG: What is the role of the independent breeder in today’s globally more consolidated and vertically integrated marketplace? RC: While of course some independent breeders like Sakata have relatively broad assortments, they are able to devote more resources to creating totally new categories like xPetchoa (SuperCal and Calitunia) or SunPatiens since they do not have to use breeding resources […]

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May 21, 2010

View: Industry Power Shift Approaching

Growers proved they weren’t immune from change and accountability when retailers began putting downward pressure on them in the 1990s. Now, marketing consultant Jerry Montgomery says another power shift is coming, and it involves growers making suppliers just as accountable. Below is Jerry’s commentary: Our industry was in the era of “Grower In Charge” up until the 1990s. The retailers followed the growers during that era, and the growers made almost all of the decisions relative to green goods marketing at retail. Growers selected the sizes, the varieties, the packaging and in many cases dictated the seasonality. Of this was also the period where the supply was less than the demand and the hay days of industry growth, where it was not unusual for the wholesale value of bedding plants to increase 8-10 percent annually. In the early ’90s, as the national retailers were becoming the leaders in retailing green […]

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May 3, 2010

Mother’s Day Weekend Forecast

Mother’s Day is the second biggest holiday for consumer spending after the winter holidays, so it stands to reason weather plays a large factor in retail success. Planalytics, a company that looks at weather forecasts in retail terms, predicts the week leading up to Mother’s Day will include near seasonal temperatures throughout much of the United States and Canada. That means typical spring-like weather, and not the volatile conditions some areas have seen in the last few weeks. For the actual Mother’s Day weekend, the Northeast will trend back toward normal (versus near-record highs predicted for the weekend of April 30-May 2), so sales will remain similar to last year but trend down from the previous weekend, according to Planalytics. New England and Eastern Canada could be cooler than normal, and showers and thunderstorms could disrupt sales in the Central Plains, Midwest and Ohio Valley. In the Southeast, warmer-than-typical temperatures […]

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April 28, 2010

Three Questions With … OFA CEO Michael Geary

Michael Geary began his tenure as OFA’s new CEO about two months ago. We caught up with Geary shortly after he started and asked him about his attraction to floriculture and his vision for OFA: GG: What attracted you to floriculture? MG: As a child, my father was a graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Ph.D. in botany sciences. He had an opportunity early on, before I was even born, to work at a research station in Northern Rhodesia on the African continent. As a little kid, I have memories of going with him to the research station, and I was in the labs with him. I was measuring things and doing calculations. I would go out to the greenhouses and turn on the water. I never thought, at some point in my life, I would be working with it. Beyond that, my parents were big gardeners. We […]

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