New Innovations for 2019 & Beyond

Jim Kennedy joins us for this episode of STEM: Insider Tips for Greenhouse Pros. Jim is National Sales Manager for Ball Seed and not only leads more than 60 sales professionals to best serve thousands of greenhouse growers across North America but truly cares about the success of our industry. Jim is humble but his influence is widespread and very much respected. Jim brings a unique perspective to new variety and trendspotting, having been involved in all levels of the chain from breeding and plant development all the way through to retail positioning with local garden centers and mass market stores. In this episode, Jim discusses New Innovations for 2019 and Beyond taking a high level look at the big picture goals of new breeding and a close look at new introductions for your 2019 product mix from the breeders and plant introduction companies seen at California Spring Trials in April 2018. But it doesn’t end there, Jim also shares tips and tricks for picking plants that will actually see the light of day at retail – meaning they will be reliably produced and supplied and succeed in landscapes and home gardens. Similarly, if a product isn’t trialed regionally or rooted and grown out in a production greenhouse, that’s a major red flag to consider. The episode concludes with some excellent advice for greenhouse professionals – pay attention to your percentage of new products related to your entire mix; focus on assortment management  – what are the “in addition tos” vs the “replacements” and most importantly, look at the data and regional documentation. What looks good in California isn’t always what is best for your specific market. As Jim says, these days there is little room for mistakes, if any. And this podcast includes many tools to help you identify the New Innovations for 2019 & Beyond.

Here are the 8 New Varieties Jim referenced in this episode. Ask your Ball Seed rep or Ball ColorLink rep to order these for you today or jump on WebTrack 24/7 for availability info:

  • Salvia Big Blue (PanAmerican Seed)
  • Verbena Firehouse and Cadet (Ball FloraPlant)
  • Begonia Portofino (Dummen Orange)
  • SuperCal Premium (Sakata)
  • Calendula Lady Godiva (Proven Winners)
  • Geranium Calliope (Syngenta)
  • Petunia Easy Wave Red (PanAmerican Seed)

In this episode’s Connect Four, I discuss four industry initiatives and campaigns in the news these days. There are many more – national and local – but I wanted to shine a spotlight on these four.

Many young students learn about how seeds grow – usually from about kindergarten through third grade. But unfortunately, that’s about when this type of education ends and classes move on to other types of life science and rarely is there ever discussion of horticulture as an exciting career option. So let’s start Connect Four with Seed Your Future – a national initiative to promote horticulture as a vital, viable and exciting career path for the nation’s youth. Seed Your Future’s Mission states: We envision a U.S. where: Everyone understands and values the importance of plants and the people who work in the art, science, technology and business of horticulture. How awesome is that!? Last Summer at the Cultivate event, I saw hundreds of industry professionals posing for photos with signs boasting the hashtag I Love My Hort Job. Don’t we all? Let’s spread the word and Seed Your Future is leading the charge. #ILoveMyHortJob

Seed Your Future:

Next, BLOOM! is the movement to improve the world through the power of plants based on a foundation of reasearch with middle-schoolers, their parents, their teachers and their school counselors. This is a movement to build awareness of the field of horticulture and the rewarding careers it provides at the middle school level.

In partnership with Scholastic, BLOOM offers a free toolkit of engaging and educational lesson plans and activities. Launched in March, features videos and other content to engage youth and help them understand their own personal plant power. It’s fun and engaging and built for a middle school audience. If you work with middle schools or know a middle school educator, tell them about BLOOM! Free resources from Scholastic include Lesson plans, Activity sheets, a Student magazine highlighting horticulture heroes and profiling young professionals in green-collar jobs, a Classroom poster featuring cool green-collar jobs and a classroom game with game board and game trivia cards.

BLOOM! From Scholastic:

Next, you’ve probably seen the engaging infographics released from NICH – the National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture using the hashtag Plants Do That. NICH has a clear mission: Growing a healthy world through plants, gardens, and landscapes. And an equally clear and aggressive Vision: Use stakeholder partnerships to increase the percentage of U.S. households participating in Consumer Horticulture to 90 % by 2025. Just the thought of a 90% increase gets me excited about this campaign! Consider these facts about how plants benefit society and expect NICH to work relentlessly (with our help) to drive these messages home:

  • Plants in the workplace reduce employee sick time by 14%
  • Well-landscaped homes are more valuable; since homes represent 25% of personal wealth, outdoor plants pack a powerful personal finance punch
  • American’s are growing more of their own food—25% of all Americans grow berries, veggies or fruit trees
  • Shaded roadways save 60% of repaving costs
  • America’s public gardens generate $2.3 billion in tourism spending

Let’s capitalize on these trends and grow the industry together! #PlantsDoThat

NICH (National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture):

The final chip in our game of Connect Four is a campaign that has been around for more than a decade and continues to promote the benefits of beautification in local communities – America In Bloom. Many of you are familiar with AIB but do you know the many benefits and programs it encourages? AIB is a quality of life improvement program; a community improvement program; a civic pride and community involvement program; an education and community engagement program; a source of information about what our industry has to offer; a catalyst to improve public image; a friendly competition bestowing annual awards on participating cities and communities and a valuable community-building tool. Best of all? All of our cities can be involved and you can lead the campaign because your business supplies the products and services needed to beautify – the rewards you’ll reap greatly outweigh the time and energy you put in!

America In Bloom:

Contact Links:

Email Guest Jim Kennedy: [email protected]

Email Host Bill Calkins: [email protected]

Tweet Host Bill Calkins: @billcalkins

Connect with Ball Seed on LinkedIn:

Follow The Gardens at Ball on Facebook:

See Ball Seed Videos on YouTube: