February 13, 2009

Online Only: Stepables Tough Ten

No one in our industry arguably has more fun marketing plants than Stepables founder Fran Hopkins, who came up with yet another creative way to highlight the brand this year. “We spent some serious time really thinking about how we could impact that split-second consumer impression and turn it into a sale,” Hopkins says. “We knew our message needed to be simple, focused and fun. Stepables are extremely resilient. The word ‘tough,’ however, seemed easier to digest.” Now, Stepables is taking its “Tough Ten” to the market. The “Tough Ten” are particularly favored by Stepables growers, and they’re consistently among the brand’s best sellers. All 10 varieties will be featured in marketing and point of purchase materials throughout 2009 featuring the muscular “happy guy.” Here’s a look at the varieties that made the cut: Sagina subulata Irish Moss With dense tufts of slender stems that grow tightly together, Sagina Irish […]

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February 13, 2009

Online Only: RAI Breeders

copy here.

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February 11, 2009

The Wind Keeps Shifting — So Must Our Sails

I never like to talk politics in a public forum, but given the leadership in Washington, hope still springs eternal. Regardless of your party affiliation and regardless of how awful the economy is, optimism is always more comforting than pessimism, but between the two is realism. My mother was the eternal optimist, and she used to quote William Arthur Ward, an American writer and speaker: “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” Of course, neither my mother nor I had any idea who Mr. Ward was, but even I thought his logic made sense. We are certainly in the grip of some strong headwinds. I am optimistic the economy will turn around, not without pain and not without loss, but times will get better. This economy, however, has painfully pointed out that horticulture is not recession-proof. People will spend money […]

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February 10, 2009

Proven Winners Event Filling Up Fast

Proven Winners will host two events for upcoming events for consumers called the Outdoor Living Extravaganza, which is designed to bring out the exterior design qualities in all gardeners. The two events are being held in Chicago on March 14 and in Boston on April 25. The Chicago event just sold out, but there are about seats remaining for the Boston event. If grower-retailers are interest in promoting the event to their customers, they can download PDFs of a poster and flyer at the event webpage here. The Outdoor Living Extravaganza will start at 9 a.m. with breakfast and conclude at 4 p.m. Five speakers will present, and the cost to attend is $45. In addition to these events, Proven Winners is teaming up with Bauman Farms in Gervais, Oreg., to give away a free ‘Flirtation Pink’ diascia (a new Proven Winners variety) at the Yard, Garden and Patio show […]

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February 10, 2009

Policing The Plant World

The excuses from growers are endless, from simple “I didn’t knows” to far-fetched tales like, “How did those plants get there?” Some excuses are even comical, but illegal propagation is still no laughing matter as Spring 2009 approaches. Most breeders agree the majority of growers are honest. They’re not losing sleep wondering when the next grower will break the rules, but breeders are taking extra steps these days to protect themselves, the honest grower and the integrity of the industry. Spring Meadow Nursery in Grand Haven, Mich., for example, took a more aggressive approach to illegal propagation about a year ago. “We are trying to clean up the marketplace,” says Dale Deppe, founder of Spring Meadow. “Some of the people cheating were also attempting to be low-cost providers. They were using the tag and then not paying the royalty and marketing fees. They were trying to undercut the market price.” […]

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February 10, 2009

Finding A Niche

Slideshow   In a crowded market where many people do many things well, sometimes the best strategy is simply to be different. Find the one thing you can do better than anyone else. Paul Berlind subscribes to that philosophy. Berlind, owner and president of Grateful Growers in Leander, Texas, has experience as a landscaper and an M.S. from the Department of Floriculture and Ornamental Horticulture at Cornell University. Almost a decade ago he recognized a profitable niche–producing annual color for 200 local landscapers–and built a business around it. He’s doing one thing, and doing it very well. Targeting The Right Market When Berlind decided to leave his job as a grower in another local greenhouse back in 2000 and start his own business, he knew exactly the market he wanted to serve. But with all the other outlets for plants–from the big boxes to independent retailers–why choose a market as […]

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February 10, 2009

Hang In There

  Ball Horticultural   The ‘Taishan’ marigold delivers excellent, season-long landscape performance with high-impact, drive-by color. Exceptional branching provides full, lush plants that perform better and longer. No soft centers, means extended season performance. This marigold comes in a gold-orange-yellow mixture and can reach 12 inches in height and 10 inches in width.   All-new ‘Zahara’ zinnia is a disease-tolerant and heat-loving series that has 20 percent larger flowers in stronger colors than the market leaders. This variety includes a trio of “firsts” for a zinnia of this type: yellow, scarlet and a well-balanced mix. The ‘Zahara’ can grow up to 18 inches and spread to the same length.   The Super Spun petunia series comes in four colors: Burgundy, Red, Silver Vein and Yellow. As low-maintenance petunias, they require less water than traditional petunia baskets. This easy-flowering series has a tight and compact, ball-shaped habit with large, showy flowers […]

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February 3, 2009

Tesselaar Adds New Grower To Mix

Anthony Tesselaar Plants named Village Nurseries of Orange, Calif., as a licensed grower of their products for the landscape trade to meet increasing demand on the West Coast. Village Nurseries has major sales offices in Orange and Sacramento with more than 700 acres under cultivation in growing facilities throughout Northern and Southern California. The nursery has five specialty landscape centers to serve landscape contractors in Sacramento, Brentwood, Orange, Huntington Beach and Del Mar. The nursery also serves the Arizona and Nevada markets, and extends into Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Texas. Village Nurseries will help Anthony Tesselaar Plants keep up with landscaper demand for such products as Flower Carpet roses, Tropicanna cannas, Storm agapanthus, Festival Grass cordylines and other branded products. The grower joins 17 others across the United States and Canada as a licensed grower of Tesselaar products. For more on the grower, visit www.villagenurseries.com.

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February 3, 2009

Pineae Licensed To Produce Sun Parasol Mandevillas

Plant propagator Pineae Greenhouses has joined the network of growers that produce Suntory’s Sun Parasol mandevillas. Pineae plans to have rooted liners available starting in late spring for sale through the broker network. “We’re very pleased to be joining the existing group of licensees,” says Pineae President Brian Gold. “The Sun Parasols are one of the fastest growing brands worldwide today. It’s just exploding. The breeding is exceptional and very unique.” Pineae, located in Ogden, Utah, is currently producing vegetative annuals from the Suntory Collection and was one of the first licensed rooting stations in the United States. Suntory has established a completely new network to focus on the Sun Parasols. The existing group of propagators includes Sun-Fire Nurseries, Takao Nursery and Yoder Brothers. The latest addition to the Sun Parasol series–’Sun Parasol Stars and Stripes’–was a big hit at the recent Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., […]

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February 2, 2009

Online Only: How Did Poinsettias Fare In 2008?

The 2008 season was not the best I’ve seen with earlier discounting and lower consumer demand based of our observations of 40 retail locations in Florida and Colorado. It is certainly possible other areas of the country experienced stronger sales, but my sources tell me many other areas are down in demand and sell-through. We have heard stories of retailers canceling orders and rejecting the agreed-upon quantities. A Few Observations – Painted poinsettias are not as widely available as they have been in the past three years, with the most availability at independent garden centers (IGCs). – Glittered poinsettias were prominent with all national retailers and independents offering them in various sizes. – IGCs command a $4 to $6 price premium for glittered while the big boxes get on average a $2 premium on 6.0 inch or 6.5 inch. – There is very little use of upscale containers at both […]

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January 23, 2009

Eight Common Calibrachoa Mistakes

There are some key things to watch for when you’re growing calibrachoa, especially during rooting and the first weeks after planting rooted liners. Mistakes during the first weeks will take a long time to heal, but Selecta First Class is trying to help calibrachoa growers, like those growing MiniFamous varieties, avoid eight common mistakes. Here are eight mistakes to avoid Selecta published in a recent eNewsletter. 1. Variety Selection Know what the final product should look like and base your variety selection on it. Growing a small pot crop using 4-inch pots to quart size and easy-to-ship mono-baskets, use a compact variety such as MiniFamous ‘Compact.’ For larger and impressive mono-baskets and mixed baskets, the traditional MiniFamous line is the better fit. 2. Scheduling It’s a common sight to see overgrown pots and baskets at retail. Calibrachoa is a quick-to-finish crop and should not be started too early. Check out […]

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January 23, 2009

Another Take On The Live Goods Market

We took a look at live goods buying habits with Express Seed general manager Dave Watt last weeek. This week, we caught up with Menachem Ganon, vice president of international business for McGregor Plant Sales, who offered his own thoughts on the live goods market and some insightful approaches growers should be taking. What has been happening with orders as spring approaches? “There is an increasing amount of last-minute changes with additions and deletions. It is critical to be working with producers and suppliers that give you easy access to confirmed orders so you can stay on top of what is scheduled. Surprises cost money. Smart buyers lock in orders early with conservative estimates on what they think they will need. This way, they can ensure production schedules start on the right weeks. Typically, when they get within four weeks of the delivery date, they amend the orders as needed. […]

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January 23, 2009

Proven Winners Targets Californians On Radio

Proven Winners kicked off a radio campaign Monday in Southern California, promoting improvements to the look, feel and value of homes and gardens through the use of its products. The campaign will run through April 10. “Our goal is to encourage people of all ages to experience the benefits of gardening utilizing quality products that are easy, fun and rewarding,” says Marshall Dirks, director of marketing for Proven Winners. “A garden adds beauty and ambience to a family’s home. Our goal is to highlight how easy it can be to beautify your outdoor living space by using high quality products.” At KMYI Star 94.1 FM in San Diego, morning personality Delana Bennett will blog and post photos of her backyard Proven Winners garden, in addition to sharing her own gardening experience on the air. Another radio personality, Jesse at KIIS-FM 102.7 in Los Angeles, will post his experiences with Proven […]

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January 21, 2009

Online Only: California Pack Trials Interactive Map

California Pack Trials is right around the corner. Check out our interactive map to see all the locations, exhibitors, dates and contact information for this year’s trials. Click on the map to enlarge and click on the tabs for information about that stop. For an alphabetic list of exhibitors, click here. View Larger Map

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January 21, 2009

Online Only: California Pack Trials Exhibitors

Online Only: California Pack Trials Exhibitors

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January 21, 2009

Online Only: California Pack Trials Exhibitors

Agrexco March 28–April 3 Fred Cohen Pacific Plug & Liner Watsonville, CA American Takii March 28–April 5 Julia Paul American Takii Salinas, CA Ball Horticultural March 28–April 3 Mary Long Ball Horticultural Research Facility Santa Paula, CA Benary Seed March 28–April 3 Charlotte Rose Imagination Canyon Ghse Santa Barbara, CA Bodger Seeds/Bodger Botanicals TBD Steve Jones Bodger Seeds Lompoc, CA Booman Floral March 28–April 5 Jake Rudnick Booman Floral Vista, CA Danziger ‘Dan’ Flower Farm March 28–April 3 Chanochi Zaks Reese Kiikka Headstart Nursery Gilroy, CA Dummen USA March 29–April 2 Diane Surette Greenheart Farms Arroyo Grande, CA Ecke Ranch March 28–April 4 Snow Maestas Ecke Ranch Encinitas, CA Fides North America March 28–April 2 Diana Dickenson Fides North America Santa Paula, CA Floranova March 30–April 3 Bill Wilson Shannon Neal Floranova Lompoc, CA Florist de Kwakel B.V. March 28–April 3 Judy Born Speedling Inc. San Juan Bautista, CA GGG-International […]

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January 19, 2009

A Few Spring Introductions From Park Seed

Park Seed has about 100 new plants for spring. Here’s a look at a few that really caught our eyes. Japanese Iris ‘August Emperor’ Often the last iris to bloom in the garden, this water lover astounds with huge 7 ½-inch double blooms of rich royal purple tinged with blue and accented in yellow and white. ‘August Emperor’ reaches 32 inches high and about 18 to 24 inches wide. It’s perfect for creekside, bog garden or that poorly-drained “trouble spot.” Give it more water in sunny settings. In the shade, it will thrive in ordinary moist garden soil. It is hardy to Zones 4-9. Echinacea ‘PrimaDonna White’ ‘PrimaDonna White’ is an exciting new Echinacea with masses of large, white blooms that hold their petals straight out and bloom over a long season in the garden. The blooms measure 4 to 5 inches across, with a large central cone and tightly-packed white […]

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January 19, 2009

The Endless Benefits Of Indoor Plants

One aspect of indoor air quality that’s received minimal attention to-date is the impact of plants on the removal of carbon dioxide, but three industry organizations have collaborated to shed some light on that benefit in a research project titled “Project” Carbon. The National Foliage Foundation (NFF) will fund the project. Green Plants for Green Buildings (GPGB) and Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association (FNGLA) have teamed with NFF for the project. The three organizations are hoping their research can reach a variety of sectors, including commercial foliage, plant and cut flower buyers, garden center representatives, supermarkets, chain retailers, wholesale and retail florists, interiorscape companies, buying cooperatives, brokers, landscape companies and public gardens, among others. You can view a preliminary report of the project here. The interim report will be completed by July 1, and a final report will be provided to NF on Nov. 1.

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January 16, 2009

Voila… Hollyhocks And Violas from Sahin

Hollyhocks (alcea) are one of those crops that will receive higher interest in the future. This plant has all the characteristics of a back-to-nature concept. This year, Sahin introduces a complete new series: Spring Celebrities. The first colors that will be introduced are Carmine Rose, Lemon, Purple and White. Additional colors are in the pipeline and will be released within two years. This hollyhock is an instant flowering perennial, so it doesn’t need a cool period before flowering. Compared to other series, a significant improvement on basal branching was observed. Plants are dwarf, multi-stemmed and excellent for use in large pots and in the garden. Landscapers will love Spring Celebrities’ vigorous development and fast establishment in the garden. Retailers will appreciate the basal branching and the compact height of this hollyhock.  Sahin is now offering clean seeds for easy plug production. Seeds germinate eight to 10 days after sowing at […]

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January 16, 2009

Perennials That Eat Up & Spit Out Stress

In our constant battle to bring the best plants to the attention of growers, landscapers and buyers, we once again unveil the Classic City awardees. I presented Classic City annuals in January, and in this issue I present the Classic City Awards in the category of Best Perennials. These recommendations are based on real data, not preference of color or plants remembered from grandmother’s garden. Real data. Real stinking weather at times. Real plants. Real opportunities. These and other equally wonderful plants from previous years can be found on The Gardens at UGA website. Plants are generally available from most brokers and distributors of fine plant material. Miscanthus ‘Gold Bar’ Miscanthus grasses have been around for many years, and provide value and beauty in the landscape. In general, they are tall, which can occasionally be a problem in smaller spaces. ‘Gold Bar’ has exceptional posture, providing a highly useful structure […]

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