The State Of The Greenhouse Grower In 2013

GG_30_Logo

The world of the greenhouse ornamentals producer has changed dramatically since 1983, when Greenhouse Grower magazine published its first issue. Thirty years ago, small growers served independent garden centers with seed-based production of bedding plants. They sold everything they could grow at nice margins and spent much of their time focused on the plants.

Today, mega growers serve the big boxes with vegetative production of broad crop mixes. Business plans call for zero shrink and razor-thin margins. And the grower spends as much time on the numbers as on the plants.

These operations are still serving their original purpose: growing ornamentals for U.S. gardening consumers. But the business is now fundamentally different.

So, for this State of the Industry issue, we’re asking the question: Who exactly is the American greenhouse grower in 2013?

Changing Makeup Of The Market

Much has been made of grower consolidation in recent years. For reasons from economics to changing customers to oversupply, there are fewer growers in the industry today than 30 years ago.

The attrition of growers is a big issue, says Tim Brindley, president of Stacy’s Greenhouses. “There are fewer growers doing business with the big boxes, which is where the majority of the business goes. That consolidation has given even more power to the customer.”

“We’ve gone from primarily small family-owned operations in 1983 to a mix led by large, very professional operations servicing the chains and covering a much broader geography,” says Stan Pohmer, CEO and founder of Pohmer Consulting Group. “You still have the small growers, as well, which are becoming more niche growers, and in many cases are very active in the locally grown trend.”

And then, he says, there is the shrinking middle. “It’s one of the things we see in all industries, where you’re too big to be small and too small to be big. It’s increasingly tough to be a mid-size grower.”

Many of those struggling mid-sized growers have changed their business models to survive by serving as contract producers for larger growers.

One thing hasn’t changed: greenhouse growing, even among the largest operations, is still a family business.

“I would say that’s true of most greenhouse operations,” says Joel Goldsmith, former president and CEO of Goldsmith Seeds. “Some are quite large, but I think they’re still family businesses. They just look different than they used to.”

“Large multi-nursery corporations don’t seem to work,” says Tom Demaline, president of Willoway Nurseries. “There are so many moving parts, you can’t have someone in an office in Chicago making decisions for someone on the ground in Ohio or California. You need a keen understanding of the operation.”

Change Driven By Technology

Much of the change in the last 30 years has been driven by  some amazing improvements in production methods.

“We have gotten smarter. I don’t care if you’re in poly or in the greatest glass system known to man. You still have to know how to run it. You can get just as good a crop out of a single-poly greenhouse as you can in a Dutch glass system today if you know what you’re doing,” says Allan Armitage, professor emeritus of horticulture at the University of Georgia.

“That knowledge has led to more specialization among growers. There’s a division of labor at the system level now,” Armitage says. “The grower who is finishing plants is probably not starting the products and the plug grower isn’t finishing it. It’s a whole new system.”

The development of the plug in starting plants altered the nature of the business.

“Thirty years ago, most of the seeds were still sown in seeding flats and hand transplanted. The plug system of growing brought tremendous development in machinery and automation, and gave growers a better understanding of their costs,” Goldsmith says.

“All of a sudden, we went to having a defined area — a cell — dedicated to each young plant. Growers were paying for seed, water, fertilizer, heat, cooling and greenhouse space, whether they had a viable plant in there or not. It didn’t take long to figure out that having a plant in every cell was more economical,” he says.

“That one major change in how plants were grown led to any number of changes,” Goldsmith says. “Rolling benches. Automatic seeders. Transplanters. All this mechanization we have now creates different growers. If you’re going to be an effective producer of any real size, it requires a substantial investment. It’s much more of a manufacturing operation than it was 30 years ago.”

Doug Cole, president of D.S. Cole Growers, agrees that technology, particularly from Europe, has changed the job of the grower for the better.

“As our labor became more expensive and our ranges became larger, we found the need to borrow Dutch technology to increase our efficiency of growing. This has been seen in our structures, our internal transport, robotics, our cart system for shipping and our our interest in sustainability,” Cole says. “With tighter margins, we need to make use of technological developments we did not have in the past.”

Of course, advances often have unintended consequences. “In the past, our industry could never quite meet market demand. We were able to raise prices and everyone in the supply chain was happy. With current technology, we are now able to grow our facilities into large manufacturing plants,” Cole says. “We are now in an oversupply situation. Our success has made us compete with each other much more than in the past.”

Change Driven By Customers

External forces have shaped the role of the grower, as well. The biggest driver of change over the last three decades has almost certainly been the evolution of the box stores. The rise of Walmart, Home Depot and Lowe’s forever altered the world for the greenhouse grower.

“A lot of people will tell you it has been good overall,” says Jeff Warschauer, vice president of sales for Nexus Greenhouse Systems. “Others will say it has not. But there’s no doubt that the big box has had a tremendous impact on our industry.”

“You have to ask whether these advances to mega greenhouse production of thousands and millions of plants, all uniform and standardized for mass markets, are a good thing,” says Dick Meister, chairman emeritus of Meister Media Worldwide and Greenhouse Grower’s first editor-in-chief.

“Obviously, an important market is served. But we must not lose sight of the need for the beautiful specialty plants grown by the smaller grower who has the skill and focus and instinct not found on the big production lines,” Meister says. “These flowers from the boutique producer truly excite the senses and set a high standard for the whole industry. There is a special significance to the smaller grower and the important role he fills in turning consumer’s attention towards flowers.”

One area that has been impacted by the boxes is the crop mix growers produce, says Bobby Barnitz, vice president of Bob’s Market and Greenhouses.

“Thirty years ago the business was bedding plants in cell packs and hanging baskets. The box stores needed a complete line, and that put pressure on the grower to be more diverse and grow more product lines,” he says. “Now growers are growing perennials, hanging baskets and annual bedding plants. They might be growing annuals in 4-inch pots or 6-inch pots. All of that has become a much bigger part of the business as bedding plants have declined.”

Some of these changes in crop mix may also be due to working closely with these box store retailers who pay attention to what consumers really want.

“There’s a mindset shift that’s evolved,” Pohmer says. “When we talked about the customer 30 years ago, we meant the retailer. Today, if you ask who your customer is, we automatically translate that to mean ‘consumer.’ We were a production-driven industry then. We are market-driven today.”

“It’s our job to innovate for the consumer,” says Mark Foertmeyer, owner/president of Foertmeyer & Sons Greenhouse Company. “Sometimes they don’t respond well. But sometimes they really like it. Our job is to keep doing that.”

Of course, as the power in the supply chain shifted to the retailer, the pressure to supply higher quality plants at smaller and smaller margins has become a reality.

“When we look around now, we see that no matter where we are in the supply chain, margins are tighter due to supply and demand and the box stores now handle well over half of all plant sales,” Cole says.

Brindley agrees. “The execution piece is so much more important than it ever was before. Today quality is a given. You have to have extremely high quality. That can’t ever be sacrificed,” he says.

The rise of the box stores has also made transportation and logistics both more important and more challenging. As growers have expanded delivery areas from local to regional, managing shipping is now a key part of the business.

“Distribution and logistics is where half a grower’s labor is tied up right now,” says Charlie Hall, professor and Ellison Chair in International Floriculture at Texas A&M University. “Twenty-five percent is getting the product on the bench, 25 percent is taking care of it and 50 percent is in distribution and logistics: order pulling, assembly and getting it to the customer.”

Better Businesspeople

Regardless of where you stand on the boxes, it’s hard to deny the changes they have brought to the market have forced growers to be better businesspeople.

“Greenhouses are operated as real businesses today. In the ’80s, there was a lot of ‘gut feel.’ The level of sophistication we have today compared to what we had back then is like night and day,” Pohmer says.

“Thirty years ago the industry was growing at double-digit rates,” Hall says. “When an industry is growing every year from 9 to 11 percent, you can make money in spite of yourself.”

Quite obviously, that situation is different now. But as the market conditions have changed, growers have adapted the ways they run their businesses.

“Over the last 30 years, the business skills of the average grower have increased dramatically. We’re a very mature industry right now, barely growing at all. To survive you have to have developed a pretty good business acumen,” Hall says.

Much of that change has been in deciding how much to produce each year. With miniscule margins and supply exceeding demand, growers are producing less product that doesn’t have orders in place in advance. Pohmer estimates growers servicing the boxes are growing less than 5 percent on spec. Even the small and medium-sized growers may have reduced their spec numbers from half of production to 15 or 20 percent at most, he says.

“Today you have to be more focused on how to sell 99 percent of what you grow in order to not have shrink and not lose money,” Barnitz says.

“It was a lot less challenging in the 1980s,” says Demaline. “If you wanted to grow your business, all you had to do was grow more stuff. That isn’t the case anymore. You better know what you’re going to grow and where it’s going to go.

“All of this has made us better businessmen. We now have no fluff in our management style or our staffing. We’re running really lean,” Demaline says. “It’s good from that standpoint.”

It’s A Different Job Now

While the ultimate goal — producing plants — is the same, the job of being a grower truly is different than in 1983.

“Back then you grew plants on spec. You had black pots with no UPCs. You didn’t price anything, and a lot of times you didn’t even have tags,” Brindley says.

Today, he says, growers talk about the plants last because everything else — the planning for each individual customer, the advertising, the pots and tags and UPCs — has to be timed so you have the least amount of cash out at one time.

“I spend 70 percent of my time on operational planning and 30 percent on varieties, plant health and nutrition. Fifteen years ago, I spent 70 percent of my time on the plants and learning how to grow them and 30 percent on all the rest. It’s 100 percent different today,” Brindley says.

Another change is the evolution to year-round production.

“Thirty years ago, the greenhouse business was seasonal,” Goldsmith says. “Almost every grower shut down once spring was over and started back up to have plants in the fall. Nobody does that now. They have such an investment in their infrastructure and their margins are significantly less than they were 30 years ago. They don’t have that luxury. They have to keep cranking out plant material.”

“A factory wouldn’t shut down for three months,” Warschauer says. “Leaving high-value greenhouse space idle for several months is not a good thing.”

Getting the necessary return on investment is a top priority today, Pohmer says. “The grower’s job is about producing better and more consistent quality. Having better cost controls. Using more mechanization and managing production more intelligently.Building partnerships with key customers. Taking an active role in marketing. These things weren’t even on the radar screen back in the ’80s. It’s become a much more complex business.”

It’s a different job, and not always easier. “But change is inevitable. You ride the wave of change or get left behind,” Barnitz says. “It’s made us better.”

And despite all these challenges, the greenhouse can still be a good place to go to work every day.

“I have appreciated my choice to get into this industry,” Foertmeyer says. “Seeing the value of what we do, working with family, being able to provide jobs, developing people — that’s very satisfying to me. I think we’re all doing really good work that makes lives a little nicer.”

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

More From Grow Initiative...
crider-rd2-internal_Rough-Brothers_featured

July 1, 2015

Rough Brothers Is Acquired By Gibraltar Industries

RBI Solar Inc., Rough Brothers Manufacturing Inc. and affiliates have been acquired by Gibraltar Industries, a manufacturer and distributor of products for residential and industrial markets, for $130 million. Capitalizing on its 80 years of design-build experience and leadership as the largest greenhouse manufacturer in North America, Ohio-based RBI has established itself during the past five years as North America’s fastest-growing provider of photovoltaic (PV) solar racking solutions. The transaction will enable Gibraltar to leverage its expertise in structural metals manufacturing and materials sourcing to meet global demand for solar racking solutions. The company also announced that it anticipates its second-quarter 2015 financial results will be in line with its previous expectations. “Acquiring RBI is an important step in the transformation of Gibraltar into a company with a higher rate of growth and best-in-class financial metrics,” says Gibraltar CEO Frank Heard. “This acquisition directly aligns with key end markets and product platforms […]

Read More

June 30, 2015

Opportunities Abound For Women In Horticulture, Says Dosatron International’s Lela Kelly

My love for horticulture goes back to my grandparents who were farmers in upstate New York. My family’s involvement in agriculture left a lasting impression that has spanned decades, and still drives my passion for our industry today. I started my career in horticulture when I owned a greenhouse, nursery and garden center in Sayville, Long Island, N.Y. We specialized in ground cover production, later branching out to producing perennials and bedding plants.     I then went onto wholesale hard goods distribution. In the 1980s, I was the first woman salesperson on Long Island. What an eye opener that was! New York is a very special place, different from anywhere else in the country. You cannot imagine how difficult it was walking into greenhouses and nurseries as a woman, in a man’s world. Luckily, I grew up in New York City in an Italian family, who taught me great […]

Read More
Medal of Excellence Award

June 30, 2015

Get To Know The 9 Variety Finalists For Editor’s Choice And Industry’s Choice Awards

Greenhouse Grower‘s Evening Of Excellence reception is rapidly approaching. Here, you can learn more about the varieties that are finalists for the Medal Of Excellence Editor’s Choice and Industry’s Choice Breeding Awards. Thank you to the 2015 sponsors of Greenhouse Grower‘s Medal Of Excellence Awards, Landmark Plastic, Nufarm and Stockosorb. Editor’s Choice Asclepias ‘Monarch Promise’ (Hort Couture) Basil ‘Balsamic Blooms’ (EuroAmerican Propagators) Celosia ‘Dragon’s Breath’ (Sakata Seed) Dianthus Jolt Series (PanAmerican Seed) Salvia Grandstand Series (Green Fuse Botanicals) Scabiosa ‘Kudos Pink’ (Hishtil Nurseries) Industry’s Choice Basil ‘Balsamic Blooms’ (EuroAmerican Propagators) Bidens BeeDance Series (Suntory Flowers) Celosia ‘Dragon’s Breath’ (Sakata Seed) Dianthus Jolt Series (PanAmerican Seed) Lobelia ‘Starship Deep Rose’ (Kieft Seed) Vinca Valiant Series (PanAmerican Seed)     Join us Monday, July 13 in Ballroom 2 at the Columbus Convention Center to find out which varieties will receive the coveted awards. The reception begins at 5:15 p.m. and the ceremony […]

Read More
Latest Stories
LuxFlora logo feature image

June 29, 2015

Luxflora Wants To Create A Lifestyle Movement

A new organization for women in horticulture plans to take on some of the industry’s toughest marketing challenges by promoting the use of flowers and plants in everyday living.

Read More
AmericanHort_HortScholars

June 23, 2015

AmericanHort Announces 2015 HortScholars

AmericanHort has selected six students from across the country to serve as this year’s HortScholars. This rigorous, competitive application process identifies some of the industry’s brightest professionals and helps to launch their careers in horticulture by providing education and networking opportunities. The goal of the HortScholars program is to provide students with an enriching professional development experience that increases their knowledge, industry awareness and career enthusiasm. 2015 HortScholars: • Sarah Leach Smith, University of Delaware • Bobby Nance, Virginia Tech • Madeline Olberg, Purdue University • Nick Sobecki, Ohio University • Emily Teng, University of Hawaii • William Yoho Jr,, Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute HortScholars will be on-site at Cultivate’15 (July 11-14 in Columbus, Ohio) and receive complimentary Cultivate registration, lodging and meals. Additionally, they will receive a complimentary one-year AmericanHort membership. On-site at Cultivate’15, HortScholars will assist the Generation Next Community with events, conduct presentations that share […]

Read More
July 2015_GROW Perspective_Katie Ketelson

June 23, 2015

MegaMashups Take Plants To The People

It’s no secret I love plants. It’s probably not much of a secret that I love beer, too. And in my perfect world, I’d have a permanent beer garden decorated with galvanized containers stuffed full of flowers, high-rising arches of hops and endless rows of hydroponic strawberries for everbearing enjoyment. But all that costs mega money, so I’ve settled (for now) on orchestrating mega mashups focused on my loves mentioned above, striving to reach an audience that doesn’t even know our industry exists. I’ve long preached about how we need to go to the people. Meet them on their turf, so-to-speak. We can’t expect Gen X or the Millennials, or heck, even my parents, to walk into our garden centers on a whimsy. And frankly, why would you want to be so passive? Your customer spends their extra dollars at the coffee shop, at the mall and at the bar. […]

Read More
Michigan State University’s Bailey GREENhouse Sells Produce And Tea To Campus Dining Facilities

June 20, 2015

Michigan State University’s Bailey GREENhouse Sells Pro…

A greenhouse operated primarily by Michigan State University (MSU) students has begun exploring new crops, including herbs, to produce a line of tea. The Bailey GREENhouse, completed in 2012, gives students from MSU’s Residential Initiative for the Study of the Environment (RISE) the opportunity to experience hands-on learning about organic growing methods, composting and the food cycle. The greenhouse, which was built in partnership with Residential and Hospitality Services, the Department of Community Sustainability, RISE and the Student Organic Farm, is a passive solar hoop house intended for the production of certified organic culinary herbs and salad mixes. Students plant, grow and harvest herbs and microgreens using soil from university composts. All of the produce is certified organic, and is sold to MSU dining facilities, including Brody Square, The Gallery at Snyder and Phillips Halls, the McDonel test kitchen and the Kellogg Center Hotel & Conference Center. The new tea line […]

Read More
Sporticulture Offers A Way For Growers To Promote Plants And Football

June 20, 2015

Sporticulture Offers A Way For Growers To Promote Plant…

Cortland Smith, the president of Walnut Springs Nursery in Glenwood, Md., has two passions: plants and sports, specifically football. Earlier this year, he found an opportunity to blend them together in a way he hopes will benefit the entire industry. This past spring, Smith launched a company called Sporticulture, Inc., which provides access to sports licensing and marketing opportunities to growers, retailers and landscape contractors. The company’s first partnership is with the National Football League. Working through Sporticulture, growers will have the ability to produce team color plants in officially licensed NFL containers and tags. “Walnut Springs is a grower first and foremost, and Cort wants a program to benefit growers and give them the opportunity to add profit margins and sell plants at a higher price utilizing the power of the NFL brand,” says Pete Gilmore, director of business development at Sporticulture. “We are encouraging growers to utilize their […]

Read More
Urban Gardens

June 19, 2015

Urban Gardens Feed The World On A Local Level

Growing food in small spaces and urban gardening go hand in hand, no surprise there. But the fact that there are 200 million urban farmers worldwide, supplying food to 700 million people may be a startling revelation to those who equate food production with large rural farms. According to a fact sheet report from the Food of Agriculture Organization of the United Nations entitled “Feeding Cities, The Role of Urban Agriculture,” the 700 million people urban farmers supply with produce accounts for 12 percent of the world population. Aside from the obvious benefit of helping to feed a burgeoning world population, urban farms, the newest trend in a greener future, are a source of revenue for under- or unemployed residents. They also provide on-the-job youth training and community education and shorten the journey from farm to plate. And the benefits don’t end there. Urban farms may be small, but they have […]

Read More
american-hort-logo

June 18, 2015

Introducing SHIFT: An AmericanHort Initiative

AmericanHort, along with its research affiliate the Horticultural Research Institute (HRI), introduces SHIFT: An AmericanHort initiative. This innovative research project takes a hard look at the future of the industry. What was once announced as the “the future of retail” research project isn’t just about retail anymore — it’s about how the collective industry can rise to the challenge of meeting modern and future consumers’ expectations. This research demands a shift in strategies, thinking and paradigms. It forces us to think and to ask ourselves, “What if we started doing things differently?” SHIFT is the largest research initiative of its kind for the industry. The resulting data, insights and recommendations paint a clear picture of opportunity for all industry businesses to capitalize on trends and even get ahead of the curve. SHIFT is the future of consumers, the future of retail, the future of the supply chain and the future […]

Read More
AFE young professionals council

June 17, 2015

AFE Launches Young Professionals Council

The American Floral Endowment (AFE) has established the Young Professionals Council (YPC), which consists of 21- to 35-year-old students and professionals in the floral industry. YPC members will use their skills and strengths to help reach other young professionals interested in becoming leaders in the floral industry, provide guidance and feedback on AFE’s programs, and get involved in leadership and learning opportunities through AFE’s programs. “There are crucial industry challenges that need to be addressed, and the YPC is a significant program that I believe will help benefit the industry. I look forward to working with the driven young members of this group to help spread awareness of AFE and build a stronger future,” says AFE trustee and YPC board liaison Dwight Larimer. Current members include: • Tha Cha, grower at Cha Veggies • Joshua Craver, Ph.D. student at Purdue University • Eric Fernandez, director of mass markets and business […]

Read More
growing for futures logo

June 15, 2015

National Garden Bureau To Offer Grants To Therapeutic G…

National Garden Bureau (NGB) will grant $10,000 this fall to be split among three therapeutic gardens in North America as part of an ongoing effort to raise awareness of horticulture and support the benefits of gardening. After fundraising for a vocational therapeutic garden in Chicago last year, NGB is expanding its support of gardens that promote the health and healing powers of human interaction with plants. Beginning this month, NGB will begin accepting applications from therapeutic gardens that meet the following set of criteria: 1. Have a defined program using the garden to further particular goals for participants lead by a qualified leader. Examples include horticultural therapy, occupational, physical, vocational or rehabilitation therapy in a garden setting or using gardening to promote positive social relationships within a community. 2. Offer a nature experience/interface for population served, including, but not limited to veterans, special-needs children or young adults, the elderly and/or those […]

Read More
James_featured

June 3, 2015

A Wait-And-See Approach To Variety Selection Serves The…

Greenhouse Grower’s Medal Of Excellence For Industry’s Choice panelist James Russell of Armstrong Growers discusses standout varieties from 2015 California Spring Trials and explains how his team decided on the plants that would be chosen for production at their operations. Team Armstrong included myself, Production Manager Heather Hydoski, Desert Operations Manager Anthony Pytel and Sales Manager John Mellon. We make variety selections for our own trials during this event that will ultimately make the actual changes in the programs we offer our customers. Over the years, we have learned to hold back and wait to see how plants perform in the ground before we make any additions or deletions. Many new plants stand out and tempt us to jump into full production, and, yes, we still break the rule occasionally in the name of getting a plant out before our competition does. We feel our customer should not be the test case, […]

Read More
Amy Daniel with daughters

May 20, 2015

Fall Creek Farm & Nursery’s Amy Daniel Suppor…

Amy Daniel, marketing and brand manager at Fall Creek Farm & Nursery, has a passion for marketing and branding that led her into the green industry early in her career, when she and a friend started their own agency, and she began helping her parents — then owners of a retail nursery — with marketing services. Daniel’s career in the field started in the 1980s, after she finished college with degrees in journalism and advertising. It wasn’t long before she began to feel frustrated with the status quo in the industry. She and a friend from college, agreeing there was a better way to do things, decided to start a business. “I guess now looking back, we were probably young and naive, but it all worked out really well,” Daniel says. “We started our own advertising agency/marketing and PR firm. I ran that for two decades. It was very successful.” […]

Read More
susie raker featured

May 12, 2015

Manage Costs To Increase Profitability

Business profitability and health is about more than just sales. Growers can get in trouble when they don’t look at the complete picture when it comes to cost accounting. Susie Raker Zimmerman shares how the team at C. Raker & Sons keeps costs and profits in check.

Read More
Suzi McCoy with GM Logo

May 6, 2015

Garden Media Group’s Suzi McCoy Urges Women In Horticul…

When Susan McCoy, owner of Garden Media Group, started promoting roses and shrubs for The Conard-Pyle Co. (Star Roses and Plants), she knew the horticulture industry was the right place for her. What she didn’t know was how much the journey would reshape her business for the better. Now, she encourages women in horticulture to invite others to be a part of the industry.

Read More
indoor-vertical-farm

May 5, 2015

World’s Largest Indoor Vertical Farm To Be Developed In…

A former industrial site in the Ironbound community of Newark, N.J., will be redeveloped into the world’s largest indoor vertical farm. The $30 million project was recently announced by RBH Group, Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group, Prudential Financial Inc. and AeroFarms, in partnership with the City of Newark and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA). The vertical farm will serve as the global headquarters for AeroFarms. “We are excited to redefine not only the Garden State but also agriculture overall,” says David Rosenberg, CEO for AeroFarms. “Partnering with RBH, Goldman Sachs, Prudential, the City of Newark and NJEDA allows us to bring our global headquarters and the world’s largest indoor vertical farm close to where the consumer is, offering a fresher, more nutritious and delicious product while also creating jobs in the community.” According to Ron Beit, founding partner and CEO of RBH Group, AeroFarms will anchor its broader Makers […]

Read More
fieldtovase

April 29, 2015

Field To Vase Dinner Tour Promotes American Grown Flowe…

For the first time last month, guests at The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, Calif. were treated to a four-course, gourmet, farm-to-fork style meal in the middle of the fields. The event was part of the 10-city Certified American Grown “Field to Vase” Dinner Tour. The tour is a series of private, intimate gatherings that place seasonal, local and sustainable American Grown flowers at the center of the table where locally grown food, beer and wine is served by a farm-to-table chef. The Flower Fields event was one of four dinners that will be held in the state this year. It featured chef Marissa Gerlach, executive chef at the Vista Valley Country Club, Vista, Calif. Mike Mellano, a third generation flower farmer with a Ph.D. in plant pathology, led guests on tours of the fields. Guests were given a floral arrangement as a symbol of the evening’s theme: Celebrating Local American […]

Read More
CrownBees_Blue-Orchard-Bee-Female_Artz

April 21, 2015

There’s Still Time Left In Crown Bees’ Camp…

There is a little more than a week left in Crown Bees’ Indiegogo fund-raising venture designed to give garden center retailers a chance to help increase awareness of native bees, and to increase the number of bees to pollinate local food. The company is raising $100,000 to redesign “Bee with Me,” a social network that connects, maps and empowers bee boosters across the U.S. Garden centers that take part in the campaign can: Be listed as a local resource for products and supplies in the online network Get access to and activate a new group of customers Be viewed as a leader in the community Be seen as a source of local expertise. Within your own store and brand, there are several ways you can also help to raise awareness about native bees, such as educating customers about the gentle nature of solitary bees. Visit CrownBees.com for some easy facts to pass […]

Read More
Todd Woodfield

April 8, 2015

Sustainable Horticulture Pays Off

Practicing holistic horticulture has saved money and improved plant quality for Abby Farms. Its manager shares where the operation has seen differences from conventional production.

Read More

April 1, 2015

Philadelphia Flower Show Draws More Than 250,000 Attend…

With more than 250,000 consumers attending the prestigious Philadelphia Flower Show in March each year, it's a great opportunity to get flowers and gardening products into the public eye. This year's show displays took on family favorites at the movies, with a focus on Disney and Pixar films. Check out some of the highlights in our slideshow.

Read More