November 3, 2009

New Niche For Struggling Nurseries

Oasis of the Sea, the world’s largest cruise ship, has created some much needed and unexpected business for Florida’s hard-hit landscaping market. More than 12,000 plants will be used in the ship’s Central Park, which is an open-air green space that spans more than a football field at the center of the 5,400-passenger ship. Florida’s Michaels Nursery and Southeast Growers are growing the bulk of the plants. “This is a real big thing for us, a real shot in the arm,” says Bill Churchill, general manager of Michaels. Churchill declined to disclose estimated profits but said the cost of the plants alone is about $15,000. One garden will have plants native to Caribbean destinations, so guests will see shade-grown coffee plants, budding pineapple plants and learn about the origin of spices, such as cinnamon and nutmeg. The park’s horticulturalist will give tours and offer passengers gardening tips, reports The Sun […]

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October 29, 2009

Survey: Economy Impacts Holiday Spending

The National Retail Federation (NRF) recently released the results of a survey that focused on the spending habits of Americans this holiday season. Last year, consumers spent an average of $705 on holiday-related shopping. This year, that amount is expected to drop to $682.74. Here are additional results from the survey: –Forty-three percent of holiday shoppers surveyed said sales and price discounts will be the most important shopping factor.–Seventy percent will shop discounters, though 55.8 percent will also purchase from department stores.–Thirty-nine percent of shoppers will begin holiday shopping before Halloween, and 75 percent of the holiday budget will be spent on gifts.–Spending on family members is expected to drop 2 percent, while spending on co-workers and friends is expected to see double-digit drops. For more results, read the entire NRF survey article.

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October 22, 2009

Checking In With John van Wingerden

One year ago, we asked Green Circle Growers’ founder John van Wingerden in Oberlin, Ohio, to contemplate what the future holds for the largest growing operations and what will define success moving forward the next 25 years as part of our special 25th anniversary issue in December 2008. We recently revisited the topic and reflected on strides the industry has made in just one year: Horticultural Distribution Hubs: “The horticultural hub solution is going full blast and coming to fruition quickly,” he says. “It makes carbon footprint sense. We’re doing this with quite a few fellow growers. Our facility is a hub. Customers value a full-service solution. The marketplace is asking for diversity and the system to respond is hub and spoke. The bedding plant business was point to point. Now we’re learning hub and spoke. As an industry, we’ve made tremendous progress cooperating with growers.” Sustainable Standards & Indexes: “A sustainability […]

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October 21, 2009

Taking Our Industry’s Pulse

Did cool weather arrive earlier than usual in your region this year? Later than usual? Did summer seemingly skip fall and become winter overnight? Odds are the weather did not completely cooperate with your mum production schedule if you’re even growing mums. Fortunately, at the time we surveyed growers in mid-September about their mum crop, the majority reported mum sales increasing over last year. Growers have a range of expectations about poinsettia season, though. Thirty percent of growers we surveyed expect poinsettia sales to be about the same as last year, but the remaining 70 percent is split: 35 percent expect sales increases while 35 percent expect decreases. We’ll know more about those sales numbers after next month. In the meantime, read on for a review of mum season and a look ahead to poinsettia season. In our latest Industry Pulse survey, we asked growers when they shipped mums, how […]

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October 21, 2009

Industry Pulse Fall Survey Results

We surveyed growers about mums and poinsettias, asking them what sizes they grew, when they shipped and if they had any suggestions for improving sell-through on mums and poinsettias, among other things. Here are the full results of our latest Industry Pulse survey. Q: Which of the following best describes your business? Grower-retailer … 48.5 percent Wholesale grower … 50.5 percent Young plant grower … 1.0 percent MUMS Q: If you grew mums this year, will you grow them again next year? Yes … 84.5 percent No … 8.3 percent Not sure … 7.1 percent Q: If you do grow mums, who is your primary customer? E-commerce sites … 0 Farm markets … 6.4 percent Home improvement chains … 5.1 percent Independent garden centers … 38.5 percent Mass merchandisers … 2.6 percent Other growers … 0 Supermarket chains … 7.7 percent Warehouse clubs … 2.6 percent Wholesale florists … 2.6 percent […]

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October 6, 2009

Trade Show Ends 33-Year Run

The California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers (CANGC) formally announced the closing of Garden Market Expo held in Las Vegas Nevada since 1995. The show, formerly called both the Pacific Horticultural Trade Show and the Western Nursery & Garden Expo, was an event CANGC produced since 1976. “The current economic recession necessitates change, and the time has come to move forward with a new business plan for the association.” says Chris Martinez, association Chairman of the board who’s general manager at Orchard Nursery and Florist, in Lafayette, Calif. “We greatly appreciate all the support we have received over the years for Garden Market Expo from both members and non-members whether exhibitors, attendees or hard-working volunteers who helped make the show possible.” CANGC announced the opening of a new show last week: the Nursery Mart. The show will feature products, supplies and equipment for growers, retailers and landscapers. Exhibitors from […]

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September 30, 2009

SUV Crashes Into Michigan Greenhouse

  A 38-year-old woman drove her SUV into a portion of Christians Greenhouse and Garden Center in Leroy Township, Mich., earlier this week. The SUV was overturned, and greenhouse employees found the woman and the vehicle when they first arrived for work at 7 a.m. According to the Lansing State Journal, which also took the photos to the right, the woman failed to stop where a road ends at a T intersection. Her SUV continued into the greenhouse/garden center parking lot, and it wound up in the greenhouse. Investigators are still rounding up details on the accident, and they were not initially sure exactly when the SUV crashed. Visit for a few more details about the accident.

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September 29, 2009

SAF Hall Of Fame Welcomes New Enshrinee

Jim Leider, CEO of Leider Horticultural Companies in Buffalo Grove, Ill., was inducted into the Floriculture Hall of Fame during the 125th annual Society of American Florists Convention last week. According to Bob Luthultz, SAF chairman, Leider saw and seized opportunities where others did not. When Leider first entered his family business, a key goal was to increase the marketing of plants. “One of the outlets where Leider saw an opportunity was supermarkets,” Luthultz says. “Forty years later, supermarkets sell more than 30 percent of all plants.” In the 1970s, as the use of indoor plants in businesses and homes grew, Leider and his brother Gerry saw another opportunity–to develop and draw attention to their interior plantscaping business. “Not only did he market and promote the value of having plants in the home and work environment,” Luthultz says, “[Leider] took it one step further and promoted the concept of plant […]

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September 11, 2009

Top 10 Cuttings Producers

Believe it or not, mums are the big story in this year’s report, as a common denominator among the top three cuttings producers in the world. We started our Top 10 Cuttings Producers survey and report four years ago to learn more about companies supplying vegetative propagation material globally. For many of these producers, Europe is the primary market and North America is a secondary but growing market, especially in vegetative annuals and blooming potted plants. One crop I didn’t appreciate enough when we began this survey was chrysanthemums, which are propagated for blooming potted plants, garden plants and mostly fresh cut flowers worldwide. There is trade protection prohibiting chrysanthemum cuttings from coming into the United States from outside sources to prevent diseases like chrysanthemum white rust from becoming established. As a result, Yoder Brothers always had the dominant position here and any competing lines were propagated in the United […]

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September 2, 2009

Perennial Plant Association Honors Young Professional

The winner of the Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Young Professional Award for 2009 is Paul Westervelt of Roseland, Va. The Young Professional Award is one of seven special awards granted each year by the PPA. It is given to a member to recognize, honor and encourage participation, achievement and growth of an individual in the industry who is a talented and promising newcomer. The award is given to a PPA member who has shown involvement in the PPA, has contributed to the success of that member’s company, and has portrayed a positive image of the perennial industry to the public. Nominations for the annual Special Awards come from PPA members. The award recipients are then selected by the PPA Board of Directors. Paul is a native of the Winchester area, and he has been an employee of Saunders Brothers, Inc., of Piney River, Va., for nearly five years. He is […]

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August 25, 2009

How’s Home Depot Doing?

The Home Depot reported fiscal second quarter profits fell 7.2 percent, spurred by high unemployment rates and a still-difficult housing market. The drop in profits, however, was less than expected, buoying the company and prompting share prices to rise. Sales in garden products performed better than average. According to a New York Times story, Home Depot reports transactions in the United States increased year-over-year for the first time in five years and same-store sales rates improved in Florida and California. Despite the bright spot in same-store improvement, CEO Frank Blake says he does not expect positive same-store sales to register until the second half of 2010. “Concerns about the housing market, rising unemployment and softness in the overall economy continue to pressure consumers,” Blake says. “Our business performed well in a down market, we captured market share and drove operating productivity. The combination made for a solid quarter relative to […]

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August 17, 2009

OFA Forms Search Committee For CEO

OFA has formed a search committee to make a recommendation on the organization’s next CEO. Those on the committee include:  – Bobby Barnitz, Bob’s Market & Greenhouse, Mason, W.Va.–Chris Bernacchi, Ball Horticultural Company, Marysville, Ohio–Mark Foertmeyer, Foertmeyer & Sons Greenhouse, Delaware, Ohio–Lisa Graf, Graf Growers, Akron, Ohio–Bob Jones, The Chef’s Garden, Huron, Ohio–Ralph Ostendorf, Ostendorf Greenhouses, Cincinnati, Ohio; and–Kelly Staats, Eason Horticultural Resources; Ft. Wright, Ky. OFA is receiving executive search and transition management services from Association Strategies Inc. (ASI) based in Alexandria, Va. Those interested in the position should contact Jim Zaniello at Association Strategies Inc. at 703-683-0580 or [email protected]

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