Dream On

We sure had fun putting this issue together. It was an opportunity to reflect on the strides our industry has made in 25 years, but the best part was dreaming about the future. Brainstorming with our readers about what the next 25 years could bring was really liberating. Day to day, we’re so focused on immediate business challenges it’s hard to open our minds and think outside the greenhouse.

Many of you shared your “wildest dreams” with us for new products, technology and varieties. We really got a kick out of our “Joe the Future Grower” interview. He is bold, going where no grower has gone before, in a space-age market.

When I was looking through our early issues to put together our timeline capturing the last 25 years, I couldn’t help but wonder what the growers we featured in 1983 would think about 2008. Could they fathom a greenhouse operation producing more than 2 million poinsettias for Christmas at a single location and most of those plants going to two retailers?

Then I thought about Joe the Future Grower’s grandfather, Rip Van Winkle, of Van Winkle’s Greenhouses. He built a new greenhouse in 1983, complete with the first generation of computerized environmental controls. He was so happy to have this new automated system. “Now I can relax!” he said. “No more sleepless nights wondering if the heat is still on or if the greenhouses will be at the right temperature.”

In the tale from Washington Irving, Rip fell into a deep sleep for 20 years. Let’s say our grower Rip woke up 25 years later in 2008. What would he see in his greenhouse?

The first thing he’d see is women gathered along a dual conveyor belt sticking line, sticking cuttings of varieties he had never seen before – osteospermums, calibrachoas, scaevolas, argyranthemums and even trailing snapdragons.

Where did these cuttings come from? The cargo stamps say Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Brazil, Israel, Uganda and South Africa. He feels more reassured when he sees the familiar geranium cuttings, but he wonders where all the stock plants are. In 25 years, his greenhouse has become a global hub.
He trips over his beard and runs out to another greenhouse and sees benches full of petunias in bright pink pots! Where could these possibly be going? “Lowe’s, a big national home improvement chain,” Rip Jr. tells him.

“But what happened to DIY, Handy Andy and Builder’s Square?” Rip asks. He learns his former customers are no longer in business and the Wave petunias are very special varieties recognized in pink pots.

He sits down and ponders how his markets and crops have changed since he fell asleep 25 years ago. Just as Rip’s world changed beyond his wildest dreams, we will achieve a future we barely recognize. The key will be to stay alert and not get complacent. Keep reinvesting in your business, new technology, new partnerships and finding more ways to connect with consumers. Keep pursuing your wildest dreams!

Leave a Reply

Latest Stories
Laura Drotleff

December 6, 2016

Are You Driving Young Growers Away? [Opinion]

In a time when the industry is facing a critical shortage of both labor and skilled, educated growers, it's important that grower operations don't unwittingly turn candidates off to a career at their business or in the industry in general. Take a closer look at your hiring practices to ensure you are being inclusive and not breaking any laws.

Read More

December 6, 2016

America In Bloom Moves Forward With New Management Comp…

Effective Jan. 1, 2017, management of America In Bloom will transition from AmericanHort to Second Wind Management, which is owned by long-time AIB Executive Director Laura Kunkle.

Read More
bailey-nurseries-team-feature

December 5, 2016

How Bailey Nurseries Has Found Solutions To The Labor S…

A changing seasonal workforce led this Minnesota-based company to explore new labor sources through the H-2A program and refugee organizations, and it’s working out for the better.

Read More
mycoapply-from-mycorrhizal-applications-feature

December 5, 2016

New Growing Media Advancements Giving Growers More Opti…

With innovative, sustainable growing media components, growers will be able to improve plant health, achieve consistency among crops, save money, and reduce inputs, while saving space on storage.

Read More

December 5, 2016

Benary’s Jennifer Calhoun: How We Can Make Plants…

I see one main issue facing our industry in getting more people to buy plants — we assume that the way we used to sell plants is the way millennials will want to buy them. Nothing could be further from the truth. We sell plants in small packs that you plant in a hole in your garden, with a generic label that says “blooms all season.” Millennials don’t have gardens, so they want a plant they can put on their fourth floor apartment balcony, or better yet on a shelf in their living room near a window.  We give them too little information to help them be successful under those circumstances. But what we don’t realize is that if the plant dies, they feel personally responsible for killing another living thing which is so painful that they would prefer not to take the chance a second time. If we sold […]

Read More

December 5, 2016

A Visual Guide To Garden Retail Merchandising

Antje Verstl, a German visual merchandiser who has worked with many high level garden retailers in Europe, has a lot of practical, and inspirational advice on how to transform your plant yard into an exciting place to shop. Take a look at this gallery, and enjoy a visual guide from Verstl. Her book, “Eagle & Frog!,” is now available for purchase by an American market through her website.

Read More
mikaela-hermstedt-penn-state-university

December 4, 2016

Shinoda Foundation Names Penn State Horticulture Major …

Mikaela Hermstedt, a 21-year-old senior from Lincoln, DE, plans to pursue a career in commercial greenhouse production of flowering plants.

Read More
all-america-selections-new-website-home-page

December 3, 2016

New Mobile Responsive Website From All-America Selectio…

All-America Selections has launched a newly redesigned and revamped mobile-responsive website that includes a more attractive design, enhanced search tools, and easier and simpler navigation.

Read More
Sea Breeze Catharanthus combo

December 2, 2016

Four Mixed Container Trends To Watch

Mixed containers are still one of the best-selling SKUs at retail. Pay attention to these four trends that are making their mark on multi-liner mixes and combination containers.

Read More
kelly-norris

December 2, 2016

Kelly Norris: How The “Me Too” Philosophy Affects Plant…

When you’re selling the exact same thing as everyone else, it’s unrealistic to expect customers to buy only from you.

Read More
mcconkey-plastic-shelves-feature

December 1, 2016

How Color Point Is Stopping Cart Theft With Plastic She…

Plastic shelving on carts acts as a deterrent to theft, and employees enjoy the benefits of being able to handle the racks without difficulty or injuries.

Read More
oasis-water-valve-feature

November 30, 2016

How You Can Water Plants Based On Basket Weight

The Oasis from Control Dekk is designed to reduce water use by giving baskets the exact amount of water they need.

Read More

November 29, 2016

How Changes In Plant Patent Law Could Affect Your Varie…

There is an ongoing discussion happening among plant genetics companies about the current laws and ethics of plant breeding, and what the future holds for the improved lawful protection of genetics.

Read More
foxglove-aphid

November 29, 2016

How Greenhouse Growers Can Manage The Foxglove Aphid

Recent research is shedding new light on the foxglove aphid. Understanding host plants, identification, and biology will help growers deal with this pest.

Read More
endless-summer

November 29, 2016

Endless Summer Hydrangeas Will Soon Feature New Identit…

Bailey Nurseries, which first introduced the reblooming hydrangea a decade ago, says the new identity will feature a more contemporary look to appeal to current and future gardeners.

Read More
Trays move on an overhead conveyor to the end of the production line, where workers carefully pack the cleaned, sized, graded, counted and sorted Calla tubers

November 29, 2016

Texas Judge Halts Overtime Rule; Here’s What It Means F…

According to Craig Regelbrugge at AmericanHort, the injunction against the overtime rule is welcome news for horticulture.

Read More

November 29, 2016

How The Industry Is Ensuring Consumer Success With Plan…

Greenhouse Grower RETAILING reached out to growers and suppliers for their ideas on how to attract and keep new plant customers. Here's what they had to say about ensuring gardening success.

Read More

November 29, 2016

Heroes To Hives Seeks Veterans For Beekeeping Training

Michigan State University is bringing together two great causes of our times — supporting vets and boosting pollinators — in its new program aimed at teaching professional beekeeping to former soldiers.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]