November 4, 2008

Yoder To Launch Three New Brands

Right after the big announcement that Syngenta purchased Yoder’s pot mum, garden mum and aster lines, we asked Yoder Brothers’ President Bill Rasbach what will happen with the rest of the company moving forward. It turns out, we will be seeing three new names for three key divisions of what was Yoder Brothers. GG: Syngenta had been exploring purchasing Yoder for some time to complete its crop mix with mums. What made Yoder decide the time was right to sell? Rasbach: There were a couple of things involved. One is that we had been working with Fides in Europe the past 10 years and last year they decided to start their own breeding on pot and garden mums. Since they became a competitor, we needed someone else to represent us in Europe. Syngenta, with its strong distribution in Europe, was the best fit. I don’t think people realize the majority […]

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October 29, 2008

Syngenta Buys Yoder’s Mum And Asters Lines

Syngenta followed up its purchase of Goldsmith Seeds last week by acquiring the chrysanthemum and aster product lines from Yoder Brothers today. Syngenta now owns the rights to the genetics and breeding programs for Yoder’s chrysanthemum and aster lines, along with the Yoder brand name. The remaining Yoder entities will continue to be owned and operated by Yoder Brothers and will do business under the Yoder name until next July. The name will then change, Syngenta Flowers President Gary Falkenstein says, to one that better reflects their remaining businesses. “The pot mums are a great addition to our poinsettias, cyclamen, gerbera daisy and other pot crops,” Falkenstein says. “We are excited about how the acquisition reinforces our promise of innovation, quality and reliability.” The acquisition will have the following impacts on you and the industry: – Syngenta will continue to service customers with Yoder brand mums and asters from its […]

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October 26, 2008

University Trial Gardens Interactive Map

View Larger Map Click on the blue tabs for links to our coverage and trials websites. Click on the arrows to look at different parts of the map, or on plus and minus to zoom in and out.

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October 22, 2008

Ten Questions With Joel Goldsmith

Following the announcement of Goldsmith Seeds’ purchase by Syngenta on October 21, Greenhouse Grower Group Editor Richard Jones caught up with Goldsmith President Joel Goldsmith to talk more about the details of the deal and the impact it will have on the two companies and on the industry. Q: What was the impetus for the decision to sell the company to Syngenta? Goldsmith: I can’t say it’s something we were looking to have happen. It came out of discussions Syngenta had initiated. We’ve been talking off and on, actually, for a number of years. But we finally were able to reach agreement and that all happened in the last week or so. Q: We’re disappointed to see a family business go, but it seems like an understandable move on your part. Goldsmith: I would share those feelings. I’m sorry to see it not be a family business. But at the […]

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October 22, 2008

Mainly Mums

        Our first stop was Patio Plant Nurseries, one of three growers in the Plantimex distribution alliance. Plantimex serves a mix of retail markets ranging from florists to nurseries, interiorscapers and chain stores. The owners of Patio Plant Nurseries are Jan and Elvira Bronger. While Jan is from Holland, Elvira is from Italy. Pot mums are their bread and butter crop. The focus is on a limited assortment of varieties with strong colors. Cuttings are shipped in from Uganda. While quarantines are an issue with chrysanthemum cuttings coming into the United States, most other countries do not have restrictions. The greenhouses were pretty low tech even though they did have an automated pot filling machine. The Brongers schedule crops every two weeks, 10,000 pots at a time. They sell all that they grow. Fides has been selling the local South African market with 120 million stems of […]

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October 21, 2008

The Little Engine That Could

There has been a good deal of turmoil on Wall Street recently. It seems every time you turn around, one company after another is failing. Whether because of greed, incompetence or just bad luck, giants like Lehman Brothers, AIG, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have either disappeared or are on life support. Every industry, including horticulture, is prone to these fluctuations, and we too have seen small and large companies file for bankruptcy. This has been a tough summer and autumn. With all the negative comments swirling around us about buyers cutting back, less interest in new plants, climate change, offshore competition and shipping woes, it is hard to be upbeat. But not FOR me. I have recently been rejuvenated and received a transfusion of enthusiasm. I just returned from one of the most upbeat groups of people I’ve ever met. And I found them in an area of horticulture […]

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October 21, 2008

Taking A Walk On De Wildt Side

      After a day of greenhouse visits, we checked in to De Wildt Cheetah Farm and had a private tour of this wildlife refuge. In addition to breeding cheetahs in captivity, the farm specializes in saving animals most farmers want to get rid of, like vultures, and the wild African dog, which is similar to hyenas and wolves. The farm works closely with farmers to find ways to restore natural balances between predators and prey and find natural solutions to these problems without forcing species into extinction. The lodge was similar to a bed and breakfast, with each room being unique and the whole place feeling very homey, like being at someone’s farm house.

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October 21, 2008

Poinsettia Trials Near You

Poinsettia season is upon us, meaning a slew of university and grower trials will be taking place in the coming weeks. Find one near you to learn what’s new, how past varieties are currently faring and what you can do to overcome your own poinsettia challenges. If we’re missing your trial, e-mail us at [email protected] We’ll keep the list growing. November 6: Penn State University Dan Schantz Farm and Greenhouses Zionsville, Pa. (800) 451-3064 More than 120 varieties will be on display with 18 new introductions as part of the 2008 Penn State Poinsettia Growers Trial. The trial opens at 7:30 a.m., and seminars start at 10. P. Allen Hammer of Dömmen USA, Paul Thomas of the University of Georgia, Jim Kennedy of Ball Horticultural Company and Kerry Richard of Penn State will lead seminars on topics such as cold finishing poinsettias, adapting to a changed market and selecting and […]

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October 21, 2008

Syngenta Acquires Goldsmith

Syngenta has signed an agreement to acquire breeder and seed producer Goldsmith Seeds, Inc. for $74 million on a cash and debt-free basis. “This acquisition is a perfect strategic fit with Syngenta Flowers and it significantly increases our proprietary flower seed portfolio,” says Robert Berendes, head of business development at Syngenta. “The Goldsmith family has built up a world-class breeding company with an outstanding reputation that is known for its consistent quality. This acquisition further strengthens our leadership position in the global flowers industry.” Syngenta will maintain the Goldsmith brand in the market under the Syngenta Flowers umbrella. “We are very excited about joining Syngenta. The agreement will secure a robust future for Goldsmith products and employees, as well as growth opportunities in a changing, consolidating environment,” says Joel Goldsmith, president of Goldsmith Seeds. “As you can imagine, this wasn’t an easy decision for our family to make, but we […]

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October 21, 2008

2008 Field Trials: Putting Newcomers To The Test

Each year the country’s extension agents, university horticulture professors and botanic experts put varieties to the test with field trials. Sure that begonia performs perfectly in a grower’s greenhouse or for a few weeks on the bench. But how does it do in action? We asked for information about the location, such as the trial manager and location, planting dates and weather conditions during the trials. We also asked for the “Best In Show,” or what stood above and beyond the other varieties, as well as the trial manager’s Top Five. Here are the results. Scroll down for an Interactive Map of university bedding plant trials.  Penn State University University of Illinois Mass Hort Elm Society Ohio State University Dallas Arboretum Cornell University Colorado State University Michigan State University University of Florida Oklahoma State University Click on the blue tabs on the map for links to our coverage and trials […]

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October 21, 2008

Ball Booth Scores High At Horti Fair

Ball Horticultural Company received high praise from the Permanent Judging Committee for its booth at Horti Fair, where it scored a 9.6 out of 10 in the Cut Flower Presentation category and a 9.25 in the Bedding Plant Presentation category on the event’s first day. Ball combined its cut flower and bedding plant presentations, which included a wide range of varieties from PanAmerican Seed Company.

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October 21, 2008

ECGC Honors Living Colors Nursery

Living Colors Nursery of Homestead, Fla., which specializes in bromeliads and orchids, is the recipient of the 2008 Award of Distinction from ECGC Distributors. The award recognizes the premier interior plant grower with the most distinctive product and service in 2008. The foliage buyers of all ECGC firms performed an evaluation on each preferred vendor. The evaluation contains objective criteria and a graduated scale that evaluates product and customer service. Living Colors Nursery received the highest score. “Receiving an award like this from a group as prestigious as ECGC, means so much to us and inspires us to make every effort for an even higher standard of quality and service,” says Mitch Rabin, president of Living Colors. Living Colors will officially be honored at an award ceremony January 16 at the TPIE trade show at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center. The Award of Distinction is the only national award recognizing […]

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October 21, 2008

Mum Madness!

  Want to make an impact with your mum sales? Make sure at least some of them are big! Gary Mangum of Bell Nursery shared pictures from a bumper crop of mega-sized mums headed for Home Depot. He says 17,000 were grown and shipped through mid-October.   Tim Brindley of Stacy’s Greenhouses in York, S.C., captured a customer driving her big mums home from a Home Depot in Memphis. “Our mums are passengers in cars,” he says. “Seat belts everyone! That woman actually bought three mums, drove the two you see home and came back for the other!”   Jennifer Kurtz of Kurtz Farms in Cheshire, Conn., sent us pictures of mums in her new Urban Gardener Pumpkin Pot. “I designed the patent-pending Urban Gardener Pumpkin Pots to attract the fall ‘decorators,'” she says. “We are growing 10,000 for Home Depot and independent garden centers throughout New England. Master Tag […]

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October 17, 2008

On Safari To South Africa

Just as everyone is coming home from Horti Fair, I will be flying to Amsterdam and then South Africa this weekend to join a group of U.S. and Canadian growers hosted by Dutch flower breeder Fides. The global company owned by Kirin has been producing cuttings down there for many years and is very pleased with the results. The crops Fides breeds and propagates include chrysanthemums, kalanchoe, geraniums, osteospermums, New Guinea impatiens, petunias, calibrachoas and dahlias. Fides also has farms in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Costa Rica. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I’m very excited to share the highlights of the trip with you on our new international blog. I’ll arrive in Johannesburg Sunday night. In addition to visiting the flower farms, a week full of cultural excursions are planned. I can’t wait!

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October 15, 2008

Meet Steve Flickinger

Steve Flickinger has joined the Ecke Ranch sales team as key account manager for the Western region. He will assume responsibility of the West Coast sales territory and be based in Littleton, Colo. Flickinger has worked in the industry for more than 30 years, and he has spent most of them in the Western U.S. He graduated from Purdue University with a bachelor of science in agriculture with emphasis in horticulture, agriculture economics and landscape architecture. He has more than 16 years experience in sales and managing large territories. Before joining Ecke, Flickinger was key accounts manager for Simple Pleasures Flowerbulbs & Perennials, a subsidiary of K. Van Bourgondien & Sons Inc. He also has 12 years experience in marketing, having worked with MasterTag and Norwood-Australia.

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October 15, 2008

Syngenta Signs Expanded Research Agreement

Syngenta has agreed to a multi-year agreement for biochemical profiling technology with Metabolon as a means to enhance the Syngenta technical tool kit for its seeds research programs. The agreement will support Syngenta researchers’ understanding of plant response to environmental conditions and decisions on crop traits earlier in the development cycle. Metabolon is a diagnostic products and services company that offers a biochemical profiling platform. Its platform provides a global analysis of complex biological samples for the discovery of markers and pathways associated with drug action and disease. This differentiated approach enables the identification of biomarkers useful for the development of a wide range of diagnostics, and it provides insight into complex biochemical processes such as drug action, toxicology and bioprocess optimization. “Biochemical profiling is becoming an important part of Syngenta’s focused program to apply the full range of cutting-edge science to supply solutions for growers,” says Roger Kemble, head […]

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October 15, 2008

Hort Couture’s Sophisticated Seed Packets

Hort Couture recently added a seed packet collection to its Culinary Couture program. The collection includes 50 fine heirloom and international varieties, and seed packets have a sophisticated look with black backgrounds and vivid photography. “We have seen extremely high demand for our new Culinary Couture vegetable and herb collection from retailers across America,” Jim Monroe says. “This program gives our brand visibility early in the retail store and provides more options for the consumer. Combining this with a finished plant program that will carry through spring and summer will position Culinary Couture so that a consumer can enjoy something fresh and different from Hort Couture all season.” For more information on Culinary Couture or Hort Couture, click here.

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October 15, 2008

Big-Time Begonia Promotion

The first Carpet of Flowers was originally created in 1971 in the Grand-Place in Brussels as a way to build interest in begonias. Craftspeople arrange the carpet by hand directly onto the square’s cobblestones and without any soil. This year’s carpet, featuring nearly a million begonias spanning 300 square meters, had a medieval design.

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October 14, 2008

Penn State University

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 Trial Manager: Alan Michael, Penn State Extension, [email protected] Trial Location: Southeast Research and Extension Center (a.k.a. Landisville Trial), Penn State University Planting Dates: 6, 000 pots (1,328 entries) were planted on May 20, 21 and 22, 2008 into 5-gallon containers Weather Conditions: From third week of May (right after planting) through Mid-June we had unusually hot, bright sunny days, low humidity and below normal rainfall. Geraniums, begonias and impatiens suffered from the heat. Mid-June through July provided excellent grow more than 2.5 inches) in form of rain, fog and severe thunderstorms. Conditions allowed plants to make up any lost growth that occurred in June. August through Mid-September was dry with 2.5″ below normal of rainfall (normal is about 4 inches). Temperatures were in the normal range, with no excessively hot days. Geraniums were outstanding August. Best In Show: ‘BIG Red with Green Leaf’ begonia […]

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October 14, 2008

University of Illinois

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 Trial Manager: C. Diane Anderson, Research and Education Specialist in Landscape Horticulture; [email protected] Trial Location: Miles C Hartley Selections Garden, University of Illinois Arboretum Planting Dates: Scaevola (planted June 3, 2008) Canna (planted June 6, 2008) Osteospermum (planted June 9, 2008) Lantana (planted June 23, 2008) Rudbeckia (planted May 30, 2008) Lantana (planted June 23, 2008) Cosmos (planted May 27, 2008) Juncus (planted June.06 2008) Capsicum (planted June 06, 2008) Weather Conditions: Excessively wet during May and June, 2008 Best In Show: Scaevola ‘Surdiva Light Blue’ from Suntory Top 5: 1. Canna ‘Tropicanna Gold’ from Anthony Tesselaar Plants 2. Osteospermum ‘Serenity Vanilla’ from Ball FloraPlant 3. Lantana ‘Landmark Sunrise Rose’ from Ball FloraPlant 4. Rudbeckia ‘Tiger Eye Gold’ from Goldsmith Seeds 5. Zinnia ‘Profusion Coral Pink’ from Sakata Seed

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