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
Adult Thrips feature

February 20, 2018

Thrips Causing Headaches? New Research Shows Bio-based …

Dr. Rose Buitenhuis will present practical knowledge for growers to implement immediately during Biocontrols West Conference in San Diego, March 7-9.

Read More
Sedum-Pillow-Talk

February 20, 2018

12 New Poinsettias and Succulents for Holiday Sales, Cr…

Poinsettias and succulents are both in-demand products with today’s consumers. Here’s a look at some of the newer introductions available for retail sales in 2018 and 2019.

Read More
2016 Top 100 Growers With Drone

February 20, 2018

Top 100 Growers Survey for 2018 Is Now Open!

Operations with more than 400,000 square feet of environmentally controlled production are eligible to take the survey, which provides valuable market knowledge on how the nation's largest growers are innovating, sourcing labor, keeping up with demand, and setting trends.

Read More
Pepper-Mexican-Sunset

February 19, 2018

All-America Selections Names Latest Variety Winner, Ann…

All-America Selections (AAS), the 85-year-young non-profit plant trialing organization, had a very busy month of January.

Read More

February 18, 2018

Why Biochar Might Eventually Replace Peat Moss

In a recent study, researchers from the University of California, Davis investigated biochar as an alternative to peat moss.

Read More
Gotham Greens Atrium Style Greenhouse Chicago

February 17, 2018

Gotham Greens Building Second Greenhouse in Suburban Ch…

The new $12.5 million, 105,000-square-foot greenhouse will be near the company’s first Chicago greenhouse, and will be a free-standing structure.

Read More

February 16, 2018

New England GROWS Discontinues After 25 Years

After 25 years, New England GROWS — both the annual event and the organization behind the event — are discontinuing operations.

Read More

February 15, 2018

Boxwood Blight, Seed Your Future Among Topics Receiving…

The Horticultural Research Institute recently announced the 10 research projects that will receive funding in 2018 to investigate challenges and solutions in production, pest management, environmental stewardship, and business and marketing.

Read More
Weigela Czechmark (Spring Meadow Nursery)

February 14, 2018

Spring Meadow Nursery Furthers Its Mission of Giving Ba…

The Spring Meadow-Proven Winners Endowment Fund through the Horticultural Research Institute has now topped $800,000, with more scholarships coming in 2018.

Read More
Laura Drotleff

February 13, 2018

Don’t Let Your New Year’s Resolutions Fade …

Stuff got real in 2017, and it caused many of us to stop and reflect on the current state of the world, and how we can impact change — or at least improve our own situations. Life is too short, and we work too hard, to not use the annual renewal as an opportunity to take stock of our own personal lives, businesses, and careers, and make the necessary adjustments that will allow us to work smarter and live better. Even if you have already given up on your resolutions, perhaps you can think of January as a trial month and make February the month when you really get to work on your goals. And while I know it’s a difficult month to start on some of these changes, since you’re already immersed in the busy spring season, I promise that if you take some time to evaluate your reality […]

Read More

February 12, 2018

Calling All Designers: Enter the International Plantsca…

Applications are being accepted through April 13 for AmericanHort’s International Plantscape Awards, which recognize achievements in interior plantscape design, installation, creativity, renovation, and innovation.

Read More
Jose-Milan-Bayer

February 11, 2018

Bayer Has New Turf and Ornamentals Global Market Manage…

Jose Milan will be focused on helping growers deal with regulatory issues, while promoting the environmental benefits the ornamentals industry offers.

Read More
Dr. P. Allen Hammer, Dummen Orange

February 10, 2018

Applications for Dümmen Orange’s Dr. P. Allen Hammer Sc…

Named for Dr. P. Allen Hammer in acknowledgment of the contributions he has made to the floriculture industry, the scholarship is intended to extend Dr. Hammer’s legacy by supporting the next generation of floriculture students.

Read More
Hand-Crafted Stone Mushrooms (Stone-Age Creations)

February 9, 2018

Garden Retailers at TPIE Highlight Their Favorite Produ…

A team of garden retailers once again participated in the 2018 Tropical Plants Industry Expo Cool Product Awards.

Read More
Aron Hoff feature image

February 8, 2018

Who Will Be Our 2018 Head Grower of the Year and Operat…

The deadline for submitting nominations is fast approaching, so be sure to let us know who you feel is most deserving of these awards!

Read More
Oat Grass Banker System feature

February 8, 2018

Learn the Basics of Biocontrols for Controlled Environm…

Growers producing crops in protected structures, including ornamentals, vegetable crops, and cannabis, can learn about effective sanitation, banker plants, and buying and using beneficials and predatory insects at the Biocontrols USA West Conference in San Diego, March 3-7.

Read More
Amazon-Online-Plant-Store

February 7, 2018

The Latest on Amazon’s Online Plant Store

There is debate throughout the industry over how Amazon’s presence will affect growers who are looking to sell plants online.

Read More
Adult Thrips feature

February 6, 2018

Biocontrol Track for Greenhouse Growers Reveals New Pro…

The Biocontrols West USA Conference in San Diego March 7-9 offers greenhouse growers practical knowledge on new research findings and an energetic presentation from a grower who’s taking her customers along on her biocontrols journey.

Read More