April 16, 2008

Intelligent Use Of Water Award Nominations

Rain Bird Corporation, a manufacturer and provider of irrigation products and services, is now accepting nominations for its 2008 Intelligent Use of Water Award. The award recognizes people or organizations whose innovation, leadership, ingenuity and commitment to improved landscape water efficiency has raised the standard for outdoor water conservation. The recipient of the 2008 award will receive $10,000 and be featured in a short film highlighting their contributions. “As more and more demand is placed on the world’s supply of fresh water, increased scrutiny of water use leaves professionals, businesses and everyday consumers to find and implement practical solutions that provide both economic and environmental benefits,” says Dave Johnson, director of corporate marketing at Rain Bird. “By recognizing these achievements through the Intelligent Use of Water award, we aim to inspire others to do the same.” Both consumers and professionals are encouraged to submit their nominations for the award by […]

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April 2, 2008

Specialists Form Sustainability Research Coalition

Faculty from Purdue University, the University of Maine and the University of New Hampshire have joined together to tackle sustainable issues facing growers. Purdue’s Jennifer Dennis and Roberto Lopez, Maine’s Stephanie Burnett and New Hampshire’s Brian Krug will combine their research and Extension efforts to help growers make informed decisions when it comes to sustainable production practices. Issues the group will address are irrigation, crop production and energy efficiency, plant nutrition and the marketing of local, sustainable and organic floriculture crops. Group members can be contacted at the following places: Jennifer H. Dennis Purdue University Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture & Agricultural Economics 625 Agriculture Mall Dr. West Lafayette, IN 47907-2010 [email protected] Roberto G. Lopez Purdue University Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture 625 Agriculture Mall Dr. West Lafayette, IN 47907-2010 [email protected] Stephanie E. Burnett The University of Maine Department of Plant, Soil & Environmental Sciences 5722 Deering Hall […]

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March 19, 2008

Grower Tool: Big Green Book

Northwest Horticulture has released a 136-page reference book titled the Big Green Book, a catalog of information and suggestions to help growers succeed in the greenhouse and nursery.  The book has information on quality cuttings, plugs and field-grown liners, but it also details programs growers can use for their perennials, roses and ornamental grasses.  “At Northwest Horticulture, we are committed to bringing our customers the quality, capacity and performance they’ve come to expect from our company,” says Richard Gigot, director of sales and marketing. “The Big Green Book is one more way in which we demonstrate our commitment to providing information our customers need to have a competitive edge.”  The book includes details on Northwest Horticulture’s product lines, a selection guide for choosing the right varieties and colors, a theme guide listing plants for uses such as butterfly gardens, a planning matrix and much more.  For additional information, contact Peggy […]

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March 12, 2008

UGA Committed To Sustainability

The University of Georgia has made a commitment to make its trial gardens completely sustainable by 2009. The support of companies like Ball Horticulture, Daniels Plant Food Inc., Ellegard Inc. and the Blackmore Company should make the movement toward sustainability an easier process, says Allan Armitage, Greenhouse Grower’s contributing editor and world renowned professor of horticulture at Georgia. The university is already practicing sustainability by reducing water waste, using drip irrigation and spreading mulch to reduce water runoff and erosion. Sometime next year, it plans for those practices to become the norm. To visit Georgia’s trial gardens, go to www.uga.edu/ugatrial.

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March 5, 2008

Rancho Tissue Pursues VeriFlora Certification

Rancho Tissue Technologies, a tissue culture lab in California that develops new, innovative and high-quality plant varieties for the horticulture industry, is working with VeriFlora to earn sustainability certification. “Certification through VeriFlora will allow us to state our micro-cuttings are ‘certified sustainably grown,'” RTT owner Heather May says. The certification process involves detailed on-site inspections, document audits, in-depth interviews and an annual follow-up. For RTT, a movement toward sustainability makes sense because the green movement is becoming more engrained in the economy, May says. And the more that happens, the more sustainably grown plants will be in demand by consumers and retailers, she says. “Offering Stage III VeriFlora-certified micro-cuttings to growers should be a real boon for clients purchasing them.”

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February 27, 2008

Top 25 Innovations For Producing Greenhouse Floriculture Crops

Ask 20 different people the same questions and you just may get completely different answers. In January, we kicked off our 25th anniversary celebration by publishing the “Top 25 Innovations For Producing Greenhouse Crops” after seeking input from 20 experts. Then we made the same extensive survey available to Benchrunner readers at large and compiled the results. While a ranking of 1 was “not important or relevant,” a ranking of 10 was “revolutionary, completely changed the industry.” With the 20 evaluators, the most points an innovation could have received is 200. The innovations were sorted into 14 categories to group related products and concepts together. JANUARY LIST                                                NEW LIST 1) Plugs                                                             1) Plastic plug & liner trays 2) Seeders                                                         2) Plastic carrying trays 3t.) Carts/Rolling Racks                                 3t.) Internet 3t.) Photoperiod                                               3t.) Plastic flats 5.) Plant Growth Regulators                         3t.) Plastic pots 6.) Plastic Plug & Liner Trays                       6t.) Biological controls […]

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February 20, 2008

UConn Hosts Perennial Conference

The University of Connecticut is hosting a day-long perennial plant conference for professional horticulturists on March 13 at the Storrs campus. This all-day educational conference will address a wide range of topics focusing on herbaceous perennial production, landscape design and retail marketing. Topics were selected to appeal to nursery and greenhouse producers, retail garden centers, and professional landscapers and designers. Two concurrent educational sessions will feature nationally recognized speakers from both industry and academia.  The speakers featured at the conference will include: Rick Darke from Landscape Ethics, Photography and Contextual Design in Landenberg, PA who will be speaking on Sustainable Design using Grasses, Sedges and Rushes.   Stephanie Cohen, Horticultural Consultant from Collegeville, PA will be speaking on New and Underused Perennials. She will also be speaking on Fallscaping: Extending Your Gardening into Autumn, based upon her new book. Ian Baldwin from Nursery Business Consultants in Elk Grove, CA will […]

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February 13, 2008

Georgia Lifts Watering Restrictions

The very same week the city of Raleigh, N.C., voted to impose a watering ban, Georgia’s governor responded to our industry and eased watering restrictions. At the Georgia Agribusiness Council’s legislative breakfast Governor Sonny Perdue announced the state will ease outdoor watering limitations through exemptions to the Level Four drought restrictions implemented in September 2007.  Taking this action strikes a balance between sound management of our water resources and support of Georgia’s industries that depend on water use. Governor Perdue also announced that his call for 10 percent water use reductions on water permit holders will continue using last year’s April to September average monthly water use as the baseline. “Georgians have demonstrated their dedication to a culture of conservation,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “It is important to continue to encourage conservation with the 10 percent reduction, which I believe we can achieve while also supporting industries that are so […]

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February 13, 2008

Benchrunner Relay: Mobilizing Against Watering Bans

While Tony Avent of Plant Delights Nursery gives the city of Raleigh a piece of his mind, Kellie Bowen, who owns a garden center in northern Georgia, shares insight on what it will take to influence local governments to be responsive. Click here for the article on the Raleigh watering ban. Click here for Tony Avent’s open letter to the City of Raleigh. Click here for Kellie Bowen’s advice to other growers, retailers and landscapers. Click here for Kellie Bowen’s letter to the Gainesville Times in Georgia.

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January 30, 2008

VeriFlora Certifies Two More Growers

Seville Farms of Mansfield, Texas, and Neal Mast & Son Greenhouses of Grand Rapids, Mich., have recently earned VeriFlora certification. The VeriFlora label represents potted and bedding plants and cut flowers that have been produced in an environmentally and socially responsible manner while meeting the highest standards for freshness and quality. These claims are certified by Scientific Certification Systems (SCS). Both Seville Farms and Neal Mast & Son learned about VeriFlora through a collaborative initiative launched by Ball Horticultural Co. for Wal-Mart aimed at identifying products meeting rigorous sustainability standards, SCS reports. Neal Mast & Son’s VeriFlora certification applies to its complete selection of indoor holiday and promotional plants, as well as garden and bedding plants grown at its two locations in Grand Rapids. Combined, these two locations add up to about 600,000 square feet of production. The company has distinguished itself in a number of sustainability accomplishments, including an […]

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January 30, 2008

Sounding Off On Sustainability

We received quite a response to grower Mark Shaw’s rant on being sick of sustainability and have posted the responses. Here is the link to his original letter to us: Benchrunner Relay: Sick Of Sustainability!   And here are the responses we received last week:   Phillip Wilhelm, Hartford Greenhouse, Ohio I think that in the long run, sustainability and survivability are the same thing. We as an industry are so dependent on oil, we will all be in trouble to survive in the not so distant future. We must find alternatives to plastic (pots, greenhouse coverings, etc.), heat, pesticides, fertilizers, fuel for transportation that are not dependent on oil. Dale Deppe, Spring Meadow Nursery, Michigan My definition of sustainability is making enough money to be able to do it all over again next year!! Sara Wilcox, Keeline Wilcox Nurseries, California “Sustainability” is like, huh? what? Everything I already do […]

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January 23, 2008

Benchrunner Relay: Sick Of Sustainability!

One Alabama grower vents to us after returning from the Gulf States Horticultural Expo (GSHE) in Mobile, Ala., last week. Dear Benchrunner, Please, enough with sustainability. I was at the GSHE in beautiful Mobile this past weekend, which in most people’s opinions is one of the premier shows for the Southeast now. The one topic that came up, “Sustainability.” Most of the small- to medium-size growers feel pretty much the same as I do. Right now with the economy, drought, high fuel prices, soaring health costs and insurance, it’s not sustainability anymore, it’s “SURVIVABILITY.” How can y’all keep asking growers to spend money to just about totally revamp their operations when they are on the verge of closing or getting gobbled up by a mega grower? I really believe you need to rethink your slogan for 2008. Y’all need to try and come up with articles to help small to […]

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