June 12, 2008

New Varieties At Pack Trials 2008

American Takii American Takii emphasized where its varieties fit into green strategies under the theme “Garden Performance Naturally.” Even the Opera petunias were presented as an alternative to mulch by crowding out weeds as a beautiful groundcover. Varieties were grouped in solution-oriented themes for growers, gardeners and landscapers: drought tolerant, disease tolerant, deer resistant, nematode tolerant, resistant to snails and slugs, attract butterflies, energy efficient and genetically dwarf. “It’s what we’ve been saying all along but just another way to present it,” says American Takii’s Bonnie Marquardt. In other news, Takii was integrating new acquisitions, Sahin in Holland and Global Flowers in Denmark. The companies continue to do business as usual, but under the umbrella of Takii & Company, LTD. While Global Flowers specializes in potted plants, like gerbera, Sahin breeds niche products, including grasses, perennials and annuals.  Ball Horticultural Co. SEED INTRODUCTIONS: • Clear Crystal tetraploid alyssum series • […]

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June 12, 2008

Thoughts On California Pack Trials

Our esteemed magazine editor, Delilah Onofrey, wrote many a fine blog posting during the 2007 Pack Trials, and if you didn’t read those up-to-date factual accounts, you missed out on the heart and soul of the trials. I accompanied Delilah to the Northern part of the tour, but had to return to my main job of confusing students after a few days. However, many thoughts of those days still remain, and here are just a few of them. Of course, they are my thoughts and opinions only, and I am usually wrong.  Gaillardias Are Trying To Be The Next Echinacea Keep your eyes peeled with breeding from around the world on this genus. In just the few places I visited, they were a plant that everyone wanted people to see. I especially liked the dwarf forms coming from Kieft Co. (Gallo series), but the material at Syngenta (Sunburst series) was also […]

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June 12, 2008

Year-Round Radiance

  Ball FloraPlant With striking flowers and dark foliage on upright, airy plants, ‘Ballerina Compact White’ is a compact gaura for use in smaller spaces and mixed containers. It grows 12 to 18 inches tall and spreads 24 to 36 inches. Hardy to Zones 6 to 10.   Ball FloraPlant Viola ‘Harvest Moon’ is a mounding, trailing variety with fragrant, bright yellow blooms over dark green foliage. It blooms continuously and offers excellent heat tolerance. ‘Harvest Moon’ grows 6 to 8 inches tall and spreads 18 to 24 inches. Hardy to Zones 5 to 8.   Ball Ornamentals Fireball Red photinia is a new Red Tip bred and selected for its bright red new growth. Fireball Red grows into an upright shrub, approximately 3 to 4 feet tall and 4 to 5 feet wide and is perfect for low-growing foundation plantings. Hardy to Zone 7 and warmer.   Ball Ornamentals […]

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June 12, 2008

Greenhouse Grower’s Medal of Excellence

For 20 years, we have recognized outstanding contributions in advancing flower varieties through our Medal of Excellence awards program. Our traditional award for breeding, the Editor’s Choice, reaches this special milestone this year. The Industry’s Choice is determined by our well-rounded panel and this same slate of nominees will be voted on by you, our readers, to determine our Reader’s Choice Award. Eligible varieties are chosen from among the new introductions at the California Pack Trials. We also will present our Industry Achievement Award to German flower breeder Benary and our Marketer of the Year award to Hermann Engelmann Greenhouses for its Exotic Angel Plants brand on July 14 during a reception at the OFA Short Course in Columbus, Ohio.

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June 12, 2008

More Legendary Varieties

In the April issue of Greenhouse Growers, we presented revolutionary varieties in several crop categories as part of our 25th anniversary celebration. This is a dialog we would like to keep going all year, sharing the varieties you think have made a difference in creating and energizing markets. We’ve asked you, our readers, to nominate varieties that:–Became the industry standard–Created new markets–Revolutionized a genus–Revolutionized commercial production–Became a household name with consumers Annuals Two seed geraniums were mentioned by readers as being legendary and paving the way for modern production. “I would nominate the ‘Nittany Lion Red’ geranium bred by Dr. Darrell Walker back in the 1960s as a breakthrough because it was the first seed-propagated geranium to come true to type from seed,” says Richard Criley of the University of Hawaii. “It led the way for many releases of seed geraniums that followed.” Kent Carrell of Syngenta Flowers nominated Pinto geraniums […]

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June 12, 2008

A Few Coral Bells To Grow

I have long insisted that in our zeal to introduce so many new plants, we confuse our customers with so many choices. Marketing programs have been trying to direct choices for specific uses (butterflies, native, weather tolerant), but with some groups of plants, particularly perennials, customers need someone to hold their hands and say, “We carry these varieties because we know they work well in the greenhouse and the landscape.” However, being able to say that with honesty requires a little reading or a little research. Who has the time? With perennials, there are literally dozens of coneflowers, tickseeds, Shasta daisies and even hellebores being offered today. Just because someone says they are new does not mean they are good. A number of people across the country have asked me to try to sort out the many coral bells (heuchera) that seem to roll off the assembly line every year. […]

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June 12, 2008

10 Years Of California Dreamin’

Since 1998, we’ve brought 40 growers, retailers and landscapers with us to Pack Trials through the California Dreamin’ program, where we give away two trips for two at the Southeast Greenhouse Conference in June. For most of our trip winners, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Many have never been to California or been able to see the full breadth of what is available in varieties from all over the world. This year’s winners were Bill and Andrea Henry from Little Marrowbone Farm near Nashville, Tenn., and Susan Brown and Denise Etheridge from Homewood Nursery in Raleigh, N.C. While Little Marrowbone is a small grower-retailer focused on upscale niche items, Homewood Nursery, owned by the Stoffregen family, is one of the leading independent garden centers in the Southeast. While Brown is the perennials grower, Etheridge focuses on annuals and blooming potted plants. One of the highlights for Etheridge was meeting Paul Ecke […]

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June 12, 2008

Le Grand Tour de Fleur

At Greenhouse Grower, we look forward to giving you the world – a whole world of floriculture, that is – after spending a full week covering the California Pack Trials. More than 30 flower breeders and propagators rolled out their cutting-edge flower varieties and strategies during the ultimate road trip, March 29-April 5. In addition to American companies, many of which are based in California, breeders and producers from as far as Japan, Israel, Germany, England and Holland camp out for a couple of weeks and make a pretty substantial investment in this event. Many exhibit at plug and liner growers, which also gives these growing operations an opportunity to showcase their facilities and product lines. Many Pack Trials hosts reported record highs in visitation, which is encouraging. Nearly 2,000 plant seekers make this pilgrimage each year. While the majority are representatives of the broker distribution chain, busloads of growers […]

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June 12, 2008

Natural Selections

AAS Selects 2009 Winners All-America Selections (AAS) has announced four winning varieties for 2009, including three vegetables and a viola. Eggplant ‘Gretel’ is the earliest white eggplant. The glossy pure white fruits are produced in clusters and can be harvested in 55 days when three to four inches long. Bred by Seminis Vegetable Seeds, the mature plant reaches three feet tall and wide and is perfectly adapted to the trend of growing vegetables in containers. ‘Honey Bear’ squash is a compact, bushy plant that is powdery mildew-tolerant, allowing the delicious winter acorn squash to be grown in smaller space gardens. Bred by the University of New Hampshire, plants produce three to five dark green acorn squash weighing about a pound. ‘Honey Bear’ mature plants are two to three feet tall and spread four to five feet. ‘Lambkin’ melon was bred by Known-You Seed Company Ltd. as a gourmet breakfast or […]

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June 11, 2008

Magnificent Mandevillas

    Counterclockwise from top right: ‘Sun Parasol Dark Pink,’ ‘Sun Parasol Crimson,’ ‘Sun Parasol Cream Pink’ and ‘Sun Parasol Dark Red.’ Sun Parasol is a completely new collection of mandevilla hybrids from Suntory Flowers, Ltd. The brand is an entirely new group of varieties obtained through cross-breeding. The genus mandevilla has many sub-groups, including sanderi, boliviensis and amoena, which are all known for their climbing or trailing properties. Until recently, the sanderi group was the leading variety in the North American market; however, the arrival of Sun Parasol has the potential to overtake the sanderi group in volume.  Taking The Market By Storm The secret of ‘Sun Parasol Crimson’ is that it is the first genuine crimson sanderi that stays true to color. It also has better branching than the old sanderi types and is easy to cultivate in North America. In addition to introducing dark reds and crimsons, […]

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June 11, 2008

Bigger, Brighter Blooms

  Ball Seed The Halios Select collection of cyclamen are eyecatching, fancy varieties that offer the same outstanding Halios performance. The DHIVA varieties are compact plants with large, thick-petaled flowers and round, flat petals that spread out like a fan. They are available in Light Purple, Pure White, Purple and Salmon. The Fantasia varieties have bicolor flowers with thick petals that are curved out at the rim like a spoon. Magenta has a white rim and up to 30 percent standard blooms. Fringed varieties include White with dark foliage and Mix. Victoria 50 varieties have 50 percent fringed and 50 percent standard blooms. Salmon and Mix are new for 2008.    Fischer USA Goldalia dahlia offer dynamic bicolor flowers (available in rose, scarlet and orange) that will wow your customers with vibrant colors and gorgeous blooms. With outstanding performance in garden beds and containers consumers will enjoy the Goldalia varieties […]

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June 11, 2008

Last Chance At Reader’s Choice Award Voting

For 20 years, Greenhouse Grower’s Medal of Excellence Awards has recognized talented individuals, visionary companies and exception breeding that have played significant roles in the growth of the global floriculture industry. Make your voice heard and cast your vote for the 2008 Reader’s Choice Award. The award will be presented during the annual Medal of Excellence Awards Ceremony, July 14, during the OFA Short Course in Columbus, Ohio. This year’s nominees include: Geranium ‘Calliope Dark Red’ Breeder: Goldsmith for Syngenta Flowers       Mandalay and Bellagio Begonias Breeder: Kientzler for Proven Winners       Ptilotus ‘Joey’ Breeder: Benary       Rudbeckia ‘Tiger Eye Gold’ Breeder: Goldsmith Seeds       To cast your ballot, click here.

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June 11, 2008

The Best For Summer Heat And Drought

 Boy, what a hot, dry mess 2007 brought to the Southeastern United States. The worst drought in 100 years strangled this area of the country, bringing landscapers, retailers and gardeners to their knees. North Georgia was one of the hardest hit areas; in Athens this summer the rain spout turned off around the first of July, and did not turn on again until November. Every day in August was above 90ËšF with 14 of those days exceeding 100ËšF. The drought was so severe, that dire predictions of running out of drinking water were broadcast every day. Gardeners were not allowed to water, at all. It was hot, it was dry, but mostly it was depressing. If stories of Mother Nature taking vengeance on Mother Earth seem familiar, it is because they are. All that changes is the location and the form of onslaught. However, ornamental horticulture has not been around […]

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June 11, 2008

The Great Outdoors

Plants that will someday be planted and grown outside in the sun and rain are often given their start inside under a roof. Creating a perfect environment indoors, with little or no help from Mother Nature, is the necessity of a successful greenhouse grower. While healthy plants in the right environment is the number one priority, it’s not the only priority. We share stories in this issue of how growers also save money and the environment, as well as make works of art, with their structures.  Cost And The Environment Concern for the wallet has turned into care for the environment. Buckley Growers Illinois, Elzinga & Hoeksema Greenhouses and Rambo Nursery are all saving money on heating costs thanks to changes in their structures. Buckley is using methane gas from landfills to heat its greenhouses. Methane gas! Unfortunately, garbage is a renewable resource, but at least someone’s found a way to […]

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June 11, 2008

Color Spectacular

  Ball Horticultural Co. Henna coleus is very uniform with serrated foliage and a unique chartreuse to copper color with dark burgundy undersides. Ball Horticultural Co. ‘Fiesta Pink Frost’ double impatiens is the newest variety in the Fiesta series. With striking variegated foliage and pretty pink blooms, this variety works well in shady landscapes, baskets, mixed containers and patio pots.   Benary Begonia x benariensis BIG begonia series offers big flowers (2 to 3 inches), habit and landscape performance. The deep green or bronze foliage adds vibrancy and contrast to the striking red or rose colored flowers.   Benary Begonia tuberhybrida ‘Nonstop Fire’ is a truly unique, vibrant addition to the series. Named for its hot shades of yellow, gold and orange, flowers contrast against deep green foliage.    Bodger Seed American Marigold, Discovery Yellow and Orange are being introduced again, with the same compact habit that commercial growers covet. […]

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June 11, 2008

Riding The Wave Of Spring

I am quite pleased to have an opportunity to touch base with the readers during the spring rush. Having been a grower myself for 30 years, I remember how crazy it gets when you’re still planting and shipping at the same time. As we get pulled in so many directions at once, it’s easy to lose focus on quality aspects. I thought I would talk a bit about Wave® petunias and what you can do make it easier to keep a handle on the quality of your crop. The following tips pertain to all Wave varieties. When you are getting Wave petunias ready for transplant, here are a few things to think about: – The week before transplant, Wave plugs should get their last PGR application of B-Nine or Bonzi. This will help in pushing out more breaks after transplant and create a fuller plant at finish. – Make sure […]

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June 11, 2008

Jumping Right Into Sustainability!

So many words, so little understanding. So much style, so little substance. That is how I feel sometimes when climate change, immigration reform, health care and other hot-button issues are discussed. Regardless of what side of the fence one sits on, issues like these need fixing, but politics is a sticky situation and most of the time all we get are words and style. I do not want to get into a political donnybrook (heck, you don’t even let me, a Canadian, vote), so I will leave those issues to be discussed in a civilized bar over some civilized wine. However, another hot-button issue that is pervading our industry is sustainability. No one can even define the term, so it is no wonder we are all a little confused. I went to the venerable Merriam-Webster Dictionary and looked up sustainable, and read the following: “capable of being sustained.” Hmm, that […]

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June 10, 2008

Legendary Varieties

What does it take for a new plant or variety to become legendary? To revolutionize the industry? While this objective in itself may be the ultimate quest for breeders, the entire industry benefits when new markets are created and consumers receive greater satisfaction from superior products. In our January issue, we rated the significance of technological innovations in greenhouse production as part of Greenhouse Grower’s 25th anniversary celebration. Last month, we asked readers at large and varieties experts to identify varieties they would consider legendary in five key crop categories: seed annuals, vegetative annuals, perennials, foliage plants, blooming potted plants and fresh cut flowers. We asked them to nominate varieties that: – Became the industry standard–Created new markets–Revolutionized a genus–Revolutionized commercial production–Became a household name with consumers We received the most input on seed annuals and a wide range of perennials and plan to pursue even more information on this […]

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June 4, 2008

Mixing And Matching Selecta Varieties

Selecta has developed a list of 10 fun recipes for TrixiLiner, its rooted liner program, which roots varieties for the East Coast at Gro’n Sell in Chalfont, Pa., and for the West Coast at Sunshine Greenhouses in Provo, Utah. TrixiLiner combines three different varieties per liner using one crop. Recipes are rooted in 72-cell standard trays, and they’re already pinched and ready to grow for quick finishes. The 2008-09 recipes include Raspberry Parfait, Spring Valley, Caribbean Cocktail, Sweet Candy, Sunset, Sunrise, Cotton Candy, Twinkle Star, Ayers Rock and Blueberry Parfait. They can be viewed here, along with more information on Trixiliner.

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June 4, 2008

Springing For 2009 At The Niagara Pack Trials

Stops at Colonial Florists, Jeffery’s Greenhouses and Vineland Research Station are part of the Niagara Pack Trials experience June 25 and 26 this year, taking place in and around St. Catharines, Ontario. The event is free. Hotel and sign-up information is available online at www.copf.org. The Canadian Ornamental Plant Foundation (COPF), which is sponsoring the Niagara Pack Trials with Greenhouse Grower, also has maps and directions available online. Suggestions and event activities are listed there, as well. Growers who attend Pack Trials will see 2009 bedding varieties from at least 10 different breeders, including Ball Horticultural Co., Cohen Propagation Nurseries, Danziger, Dömmen USA, Florist De Kwakel, Gröenewald, Northern Innovators, Proven Winners, Selecta Klemm and Syngenta/Fischer USA. All three stops are within a few minutes of each other, Niagara Falls is only a few minutes away and Toronto is a short drive as well. For more information, call COPF at 800-265-1629 […]

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