Editor’s Picks For Top Stories

Sometimes the most popular stories aren’t necessarily the most important from a journalist’s point of view. Greenhouse Grower’s Editor Delilah Onofrey has her own Top 10, with only five overlapping with the top 10 most widely read stories: 

1) Establishing National Standards For Sustainable Agriculture

The initiative to create national standards for sustainable agriculture—encompassing food, floriculture, fiber and fuel crops—is complex and may not be exciting as natural disasters and high-profile acquisitions, but it’s really important. It is truly rare that an effort that begins in the cut flower industry would be expanded to encompass all of agriculture, but that is what is happening here. It all began with Organic Bouquet seeking a third part to certify its claims, which led to the creation of Veriflora, a program that certifies sustainable practices in the supply chain for cut flowers and potted plants. As an industry, we are at the very beginning of a 2 to 3 year process leading to national standards approved by the American National Standard Institute.

Here are links to our coverage so far:

Steps Toward Sustainability Guide Online
Clarification On The Sustainable Agriculture Standard
Drafting Sustainability Standards 

2) San Diego Growers Flee Wildfires

All eyes were on Southern California in October when unprecedented wild fires ravaged the region. San Diego County is one of the most important pockets of horticulture and floriculture in the United States with a very diverse mix of growers and crops. We are confident the growers will make a full recovery.  

San Diego Growers Flee Wildfires
San Diego Growers Assess Fire Damage 

3) Wal-Mart Shares Sustainability Vision

Wal-Mart’s Senior Horticultural Buyer Ron Coben shared the retail giant’s corporate vision for sustainability and what it means to growers at Grower Talks’ Greenhouse Experience in Cleveland in September. The implications for all industries are profound. So far, we are glad to see mutual cooperation between Wal-Mart and select growers on implementing new eco-friendly programs.

Wal-Mart On Sustainability 

4) Syngenta Acquires Fischer And Restructures On The Plant Side

Another big story this year was Syngenta acquiring Fischer, one of the largest flower breeders and cuttings producers in the world. In addition to gaining instant dominance in staple crops, such as geraniums, New Guinea impatiens and poinsettias, all of Goldsmith’s vegetative annuals are licensed to be produced and marketed by Fischer as the GoldFisch line. Based in Colorado, Fischer has since become Syngenta Flowers and manages all the seed and vegetative lines under Syngenta. The former S&G Flowers has become focused on distribution only and rebranded as Syngental Horticultural Services. Combined with Syngenta’s strengths on the crop protection and growing media side, we’re anticipating more headlines and innovative approaches in 2008.

Syngenta Acquires Fischer
Fischer/S&G Restructuring Opens Markets
Fischer Names Brand Managers
Fischer Becomes Syngenta Flowers 

5) Pike Files Chapter 11

In November when Atlanta-based Pike Family Nurseries, one of the top independent garden center chains in the nation, announced it was reorganizing under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection due to severe drought conditions drying up sales. In this story, growers top Pike’s list of creditors. We’re very concerned about how the drought will affect growers, retailers and landscapers next year, too, and how many casualties there will be. Let’s play for rain!

Growers Top Pike’s List Of Creditors 

6) Bell Buys Ulery, Moves Into Ohio

Known for perfecting a contract growing and service model to serve the box stores, Bell Nursery in Burtonsville, Md., is taking its formula success beyond the MidAtlantic region by acquiring Ulery Greenhouse in Springfield, Ohio. The Ulery family will still have an ownership stake. Working with established businesses, whether it’s through ownership or cooperation, to serve the marketplace is a great strategic move. We’re looking forward to seeing what’s next from Bell Nursery.

Bell Nursery Buys Ulery Greenhouse 

7) Color Spot Consolidates Its Position In The Southwest

Color Spot Nursery took back its position at No. 1 on our Top 100 Growers by purchasing Powell Plant Farm in Troup, Texas, which also made its Southwest division even stronger.

Color Spot’s Plan For Texas 

8) Glass Corner Greenhouses Ceases Operations

The first week of November was a sad one when Rick and Joyce Mast announced they had to cease operating as Glass Corner Greenhouses, one of the most respected young plant growers. The business has been transferred to Neal Mast & Son. We are glad the business will continue in the extended family and employees will be retained.

Glass Corner Greenhouses Closes 

9) Speaking Out On Drought

For about seven years, Carole Barton has been working with fellow growers in Alabama to make sure the industry is treated fairly in times of watering restrictions. I know she often feels like she’s banging her head against the wall with bureaucrats, but she is fighting the good fight. In November, she allowed me to share a letter she wrote to the governor of Alabama in light of headlines and decisions surrounding severe drought in Alabama and Georgia. I think this letter summarizes the frustration so many growers, garden center retailers and landscapers are feeling. It is much more powerful than a news story.

VIEW: Carole Barton On Drought
 

10) A New Brand On The Fashion Runway

Even the founders of the Hort Couture are amazed at how fast their new brand of premium plants is coming together and catching on with growers and retailers alike. Since debuting at Short Course, more than 30 growers have joined the network. While most brands originate with breeders and growers, Hort Couture was conceived by Jim and Jennifer Monroe, owners of Greenbrier Nurseries, an independent garden center in Virginia and West Virginia. Read all about it in the Market Watch story Managing Editor Sara Tambascio wrote in our January issue.

Hort Couture Announces Grower Network
Ellison’s & Valleybrook Join Hort Couture
Zylstra & Riverbend Join Hort Couture

Leave a Reply

More From ...
Rose rosette on Knockout rose, April 2012. Photo credit: Alan Windham, University of Tennessee

March 25, 2015

$58 Million In APHIS Farm Bill Funding Will Support Horticulture Priorities

Nearly $58 million as been allocated by the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to support the industry's Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program, under Farm Bill Section 10007. The program will support mitigation efforts for specialty crops, including providing research and other funding to address plant pest and disease priorities for the specialty crop industry, including floriculture and nursery crops.

Read More
AFE scholarship_Ryan Dickson

March 25, 2015

AFE Educational Grant And Scholarship Application Deadlines Approaching

Apply now for American Floral Endowment (AFE) scholarships or educational grants. Applications can be found online. For educational grants for 2015-2016, applications must be submitted no later than June 1. Scholarship applications are due May 1. AFE will award $40,000 in scholarships for 2015.

Read More

March 25, 2015

13 New Shrubs You’ll Find At The 2015 California Spring Trials

Woody ornamentals serve as the foundation of many great landscapes, but beyond their traditional uses, shrubs also add color, structure, texture and interest to small gardens and even containers. Check out this slideshow to see some of the newest introductions you’ll get to see at this year’s California Spring Trials.

Read More
Latest Stories
Rose rosette on Knockout rose, April 2012. Photo credit: Alan Windham, University of Tennessee

March 25, 2015

$58 Million In APHIS Farm Bill Funding Will Support Hor…

Nearly $58 million as been allocated by the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to support the industry's Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program, under Farm Bill Section 10007. The program will support mitigation efforts for specialty crops, including providing research and other funding to address plant pest and disease priorities for the specialty crop industry, including floriculture and nursery crops.

Read More
AFE scholarship_Ryan Dickson

March 25, 2015

AFE Educational Grant And Scholarship Application Deadl…

Apply now for American Floral Endowment (AFE) scholarships or educational grants. Applications can be found online. For educational grants for 2015-2016, applications must be submitted no later than June 1. Scholarship applications are due May 1. AFE will award $40,000 in scholarships for 2015.

Read More

March 25, 2015

13 New Shrubs You’ll Find At The 2015 California …

Woody ornamentals serve as the foundation of many great landscapes, but beyond their traditional uses, shrubs also add color, structure, texture and interest to small gardens and even containers. Check out this slideshow to see some of the newest introductions you’ll get to see at this year’s California Spring Trials.

Read More

March 25, 2015

NASS Reports U.S. Honey Production Was Up By 19 Percent…

Honey production in 2014 from producers with five or more colonies totaled 178 million pounds, up 19 percent from 2013, according to a March 20 report from the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

Read More
Bloomtown_Screen Shot 2015-03-10

March 24, 2015

Bloomtown Exposes Consumers To The World Of Horticultur…

A new web series called Bloomtown is all about the mud, sweat and tears of horticulture. Filmed in St. Louis, Mo., it chronicles the world of horticulture using local flower growers, greenhouses, wholesalers, florists, consumers, retail shops and arborists, with the goal of opening consumers’ eyes to the world of horticulture around them.

Read More
OxiPhos_BioSafe2

March 23, 2015

BioSafe Makes Label Changes To OxiPhos And ZeroTol 2.0

There have been some recent label changes made to the BioSafe Systems product OxiPhos, a systemic bactericide/fungicide that reduces downy mildew spores when tank mixed with ZeroTol 2.0.

Read More

March 23, 2015

UF/IFAS Appoints Joseph Albano As Director Of Mid-Flori…

The University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) has a new directors for its Mid-Florida Research and Education Center (REC) on Apopka, Fla. The role has been filled by Joseph Albano, a research horticulturist from the U.S. Department of Agriculture with more than 25 years of experience.

Read More
Nufarm_logo

March 23, 2015

Nufarm Fungicides Now Registered For Use On Edible Crop…

Nufarm Americas announced label expansions for two of its fungicides that will provide more pest management options for the ornamental industry. The Cleary 3336 F and EG fungicides are now registered for use across a wider range of edible crops, including select greenhouse vegetables and transplants, herbs and backyard fruit.

Read More

March 23, 2015

Update To Armitage’s Greatest Perennials & Annuals …

A new update to the Greatest Perennials & Annuals app narrows the gap between consumers and grower-retailers, while providing more of Armitage’s top picks and growing advice for success with plants.

Read More
Plantbid website screenshot

March 20, 2015

Plantbid Brings Open Sourcing To Greenhouse Growers

Plantbid bridges the gap between buyers and sellers for sales and marketing networking on their own terms. The web-based, plant-sourcing platform aims to save growers time and make the business of buying and selling plants more efficient.

Read More
National Floriculture Forum 2015 029

March 18, 2015

2015 National Floriculture Forum Focuses On Marketing I…

The 2015 National Floriculture Forum, held March 6 to 7 in Minneapolis, Minn., zeroed in on the topic of marketing in horticulture and included visits to Gertens Greenhouses and Garden Center, Bailey Nurseries, Bachman’s Floral, Home and Garden and Tangletown Gardens. The annual meeting allows greenhouse and floriculture faculty, graduate students and industry partners to meet and share updates on current research, issues and initiatives.

Read More

March 18, 2015

H-2B Situation Goes From Bad To Even Worse

On March 5, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced that it will no longer accept or process H-2B labor certifications or requests for H-2B prevailing wage determinations in light of a March 4 decision. Shortly after the DOL announcement, the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Citizenship and Immigration Services followed suit, announcing it will at least temporarily cease approving visa petitions. These announcements essentially shut down the H-2B program for any company that has not completed the DHS H-2B visa petitioning process.

Read More
SAF CAD

March 18, 2015

Growers Ask For Immigration And Healthcare Reform Durin…

Nearly 90 growers, retailers, suppliers and wholesales attended the Society of American Florists' (SAF) 2015 Congressional Action Days March 9-10. The delegation, representing 18 states, arrived on Capitol Hill at a time when two major industry issues - immigration and healthcare reform - are especially prominent in national headlines.

Read More
2014 Poinsettia Season Report

March 18, 2015

Download Greenhouse Grower’s 2014 Poinsettia Seas…

Poinsettia growers report a strong year in 2014, thanks to a few conditions. Seasonal cold at just the right time put consumers in a festive mood to buy early and often, and with no big snowstorms to hold up shipments and a reduction of supply available in the market, the season was strong from start to finish. Greenhouse Grower’s 2014 Poinsettia Survey received 143 responses from growers around the country. Here, you can download the complete results of the survey, by filling out the form.

Read More

March 17, 2015

Pike Nurseries Implements Employee Stock Ownership Plan

Independent garden retailer Pike Nurseries has announced it will become an employee-owned company. Pike Nurseries management has combined with its sister corporation in California, Armstrong Garden Centers, to operate under an established Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).

Read More
Hydrangea 'Endless Summer BloomStruck' from Bailey Nurseries

March 17, 2015

Michael Dirr Slated To Address Attendees At Hydrangeas …

Dr. Michael Dirr to deliver the keynote address at Hydrangeas 2015 conference, hosted by the Cape Cod Hydrangea Society in partnership with Endless Summer Hydrangeas. The conference will take place at the historic Heritage Museums and Gardens in Sandwich, Mass.

Read More
Bee on a Sedum

March 17, 2015

4 Key Pollinator Research Projects To Be Funded By Hort…

The Horticultural Research Institute will grant $125,000 in financial support for four key projects as part of the Horticultural Industry Bee & Pollinator Stewardship Initiative. The Initiative has three primary goals. First, to convene a task force to develop a bee and pollinator stewardship program, including creation of best management practices for plant production. Second, to identify and fund research that will help answer key science questions and fill gaps needed to design and refine the stewardship program. Third, to seek to positively position the horticultural community and its customers by collaborating with other compatible groups interested in augmenting pollinator habitat and protection.

Read More

March 17, 2015

16 New Blooming Potted Plants You’ll See At The 2…

Blooming potted plants are perfect gift items, and they put the finishing touch on any style of home decor. So when new varieties come on the market, growers and retailers alike take note of plants they know are going to make consumers happy. Check out the slideshow to see some of the new blooming potted plants making their debut to the trade this spring.

Read More