May 29, 2009

New Varieties Guide 2009: Sakata

Sakata As an independent global breeding company based in Japan, Sakata is looking for ways to be more proactive promoting its lines in the marketplace with distribution partners. “The way we see ourselves is as a premium, independent, non-integrated breeder, which are disappearing,” says Sales Director Ron Cramer. “In the past, we relied on distributors to do everything for us. They do a good job, but they have other masters than Sakata. We want to be there to help and have a broader, more fuller partnership.” One example is with Paul Ecke Ranch and Home Depot with Sunpatiens, the first sun tolerant impatiens that have received rave reviews in trials and landscapes. Sunpatiens are now open for complete market distribution. New Sunpatiens include Compact Deep Rose, Compact Magenta and Spreading White Variegated Leaf. Other introductions are Vanilla Blush and Blue in SuperCal Petchoas and Caligrande calibrachoas. INTRODUCTIONS –Begonia ‘Fortune Coral […]

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May 29, 2009

New Varieties Guide 2009: Skagit Gardens

Skagit Gardens This was Skagit Gardens’ second year exhibiting at the scenic Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. Based in Mt. Vernon, Wash., Skagit produces specialty annuals and perennials. The company also breeds and selects innovative varieties, including Big Bang coreopsis bred by Darell Probst, Cone-fection double echinaceas by Arie Blom and Commotion gaillardias bred by John Dixon. Skagit Gardens is a partner propagator for many of PlantHaven’s introductions, too. The company has added more than 100 new perennials to its catalog. The dianthus Scent First series produces large, double and semi-double carnation flowers with fragrant perfume. Tender grasses, like Carex ‘Rekohu Sunrise,’ is another category generating interest. New annuals include fuchsias and Ecke Ranch’s Flower Fields. Specialty seedling varieties include acalypha, centradenia, solenopsis and talinum. Hot new cupheas include ‘Magenta Border’ and ‘Southern Border.’ INTRODUCTIONS –Brunnera ‘Mr. Morse’–Carex ‘Rekohu Sunrise’–Caryopteris ‘Hint of Gold’–Centaurea ‘Amethyst Dream’–Chasmanthum ‘River Mist’–Coreopsis ‘Sienna Sunset,’ ‘Cosmic Eye’ […]

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May 29, 2009

New Varieties Guide 2009: Danziger

Danziger It was a banner year with Danziger showing 45 of 65 new varieties. One exciting addition is ‘Calitunia Pink,’ which joins ‘Calitunia Purple’–a breakthrough as the first genetic cross between petunias and calibrachoas, offering large flowers and pH tolerance. When it comes to large-flowered bacopas, Danziger is the undisputed king with ‘Scopia Gulliver White’ as its top-selling variety in the company by volume. To become a Gulliver, flowers must measure one-inch across in diameter. In the Great subseries, flowers are just shy of becoming Gulliver. The big new breeding direction for Danziger is perennials and hardy annuals. Plants include heuchera, lamium, coreopsis and gaillardia. Oro Farms with production facilities in Guatemala added several new lines, including Floranova’s Bright Idea ipomoeas and Sakata’s SuperCal Petchoas, also a cross between petunia and calibrachoa. Florensis varieties include euphorbia ‘Gloria,’ an alternative to ‘Diamond Frost.’ INTRODUCTIONS –Angelic argyranthemums–five new colors–Brasco brachyscomes –’Calitunia Pink’–Genta […]

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May 29, 2009

Visit Green Leaf Plants June 24

Green Leaf Plants, the perennials division of Aris Inc., will host its 2009 open house Wednesday, June 24 in Smoketown, Pa. Visitors can tour the garden and greenhouse at their own pace all day between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. In the greenhouse, attendees will view Green Leaf’s perennial propagation, production and shipping. The Smoketown facility is located at 3269 Old Philadelphia Pike, Lancaster, Pa., 17602. To register, call 800-321-9573 or e-mail [email protected]

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May 29, 2009

New Varieties Guide 2009: American Takii

American Takii For the past two years, Japanese breeder Takii has been assimilating the offerings of two key acquisitions–Sahin in Holland and Global Flowers in Denmark. All three specialize in different types of seed varieties. Takii’s strengths have always been vegetables, cut flowers and seed annuals. Global Flowers is known for blooming potted crops, especially gerbera. And Sahin breeds interesting niche crops, like grasses, perennials, as well as violas and coleus. Takii’s message was that the three companies together offer service, selection and quality. As far as new introductions go, this was a light year for American Takii. The big one on the seed annuals side was the Cadenza hedgiflora petunias. Plants grow up and out in a V-shaped habit. Colors are Rose, Rose Pink, Rose Red and Salmon Pink. Takii also added Frosty Blue and Yellow w/Blotch to the Nature pansies and a light Heavenly Blue to Gem violas. […]

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May 29, 2009

New Varieties Guide 2009: Kieft

Kieft One month after Pack Trials, Kieft Seeds was sold to Ball Horticultural Co. Kieft’s strengths in seed perennials, gerberas and ornamental grasses fulfill needs not currently being met through Ball’s PanAmerican Seed. The sale resulted from strategic distribution moves in Europe. Ball sold its distribution arms in Germany, Holland and France to Florensis in exchange for a stronger position in the United Kingdom. Florensis had an ownership interest in Kieft. Florensis is vertically integrated as a breeder, young plant producer and distributor. Vegetative varieties on display at Kieft’s trials include Glow petunias, which have been well received by growers for uniformity and daylength neutrality. New seed perennials from Kieft include the green-leaved heuchera ‘Malachite’ as a companion to the burgundy-colored ‘Melting Fire.’ Scabiosa ‘Blue Note’ is a compact alternative to ‘Butterfly Blue.’ Salvia is another genus Kieft is working on. INTRODUCTIONS –Astra osteospermums–Dark Copper, Light Copper–Carex ‘Phoenix Green’–Cosmos ‘Antiquity’–Gallo […]

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May 28, 2009

Ecke Ranch Hosting June Webinars

The technical staff at Ecke Ranch is kicking off a three-part webinar series Tuesday, June 9 titled “Back to Basics–Poinsettia Production.” The first webinar will focus on propagation and take place from 1-2 p.m. EDT. All basics, including proper handling and receiving of unrooted poinsettia cuttings and proper propagation techniques and culture, will be discussed. The second poinsettia webinar is scheduled for 1 p.m. EDT on June 22. Ecke will host the final leg in August. To reserve a seat in the webinar, click here. On Thursday, June 11, Ecke Ranch will host another webinar on all aspects of SunPatiens culture. Jack Williams and Rebecca Siemonsma will fill growers in on the attributes SunPatiens offer. Register for the SunPatiens webinar here.

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May 27, 2009

Aloha To Floriculture Sales

Hawaii’s floriculture and nursery products were valued at an estimated $98.6 million in 2008 according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Hawaii Field Office. But the value is down 9 percent from $108.7 million in 2007. The loss is attributed to a slumping economy, crop losses from volcanic emissions, the weather and high production costs. Cut flowers, potted orchids, lei flowers, foliage sales, potted flowering plants, landscape plants and plant rentals all saw declines, as well as the wholesale value of bedding and garden plants. Revenues from other nursery products were up slightly.

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May 26, 2009

Connecting With Consumers

Growers don’t have the direct line of communication with consumers that retailers do. Between spring preparations, last-minute orders to fill and the runaround Mother’s Day and Memorial Day cause, it’s tough to take a good look at how the marketplace is taking shape. Growers are aware of the products they grow that are and aren’t selling, but time isn’t necessarily ample for them to dissect consumer purchasing decisions and begin making plans for next year. Fortunately, we did some dissecting for you this spring. In mid-April, we created a short survey and sent it to family and friends to get their takes on their consumer experience and gardening. Nearly 100 people took the survey, and the majority of respondents (90 percent) are under the age of 45. Forty percent of respondents are under age 30, so we received good feedback from the consumers who will shape the marketplace over the […]

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May 22, 2009

Dömmen Opens New Greenhouse Facility

Dömmen recently built a 23-acre greenhouse facility in El Salvador to serve the U.S. and Canadian markets, calling the facility Las Mercedes. Dömmen also has plans to open a second 18-acre greenhouse in El Salvador this year. General Managers Iris Schulz-Dömmen and Simon Schulz lead the El Salvador team. Both have experience from Dömmen’s Canary Islands operation. Olaf Kunert and Jörg Kolvenbach, both production managers, are also located in El Salvador now. Their experience derives from Ethiopia and Costa Rica facilities, respectively. “We researched the location in detail to find the ideal growing climate for the highest quality cuttings: high light, low humidity and good temperatures,” Schulz-Dömmen says. “Also, the proximity to two major airports allows flexibility in efficiently shipping to U.S. and Canadian customers, and for receiving our proprietary cultures from Europe.” The 23-acre facility that just opened has 250 workers already on site. Cuttings from El Salvador are scheduled […]

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May 21, 2009

Meet GroLink’s SunHosta

SunHosta is a medium-sized variegated hosta that performs best in the full sun and hot, humid conditions of the Southeast. Plants will express its full white variegation in full sun only. SunHosta has very low cold requirements compared to other hosta varieties. It will stay vegetative under short days during winter months in South Florida. In other areas with occasional freezes, plants will go dormant during winter months and reemerge bigger in early April. At the same time, one can expect very similar performance to other hosta varieties in the North except for the full-sun tolerance. A very strong drought tolerance makes this plant even more attractive for landscapers. Southern growers in Zones 10a and 10b are able to grow SunHosta year-round. Plants will bloom in April if planted in the fall. For the rest of the country, it’s recommend you follow this schedule: -For gallons, plant 72 liners in […]

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May 19, 2009

Encore Azalea Spotlights Container Gardening

Garden professionals and consumers can find insight into all things related to Encore Azaleas, from regional care to spacing suggestions, in the latest digital magazine from Encore Azalea.  Novice and master gardeners alike will enjoy the photos and articles while taking advantage of the simple planting instructions and easy care tips found in Flourish with Encore Azalea. This latest edition illustrates how to start with Encore Azalea as a base plant and create versatile, sustainable containers for home spaces in every season of the year. The magazine also offers valuable information for avid gardeners, including first-time planting and care tips, best time to plant, variety and space recommendations and specific regional care. There is a feature on Robert E. “Buddy” Lee, the inventor of Encore Azaleas and a well-known plant breeder. Lee offers his tips and techniques on soil amendment, planting, mulching, watering and pruning.   Want more Encore Azaleas? […]

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May 12, 2009

Ball Selling European Distribution, Purchasing Kieft Seeds

Ball Horticultural Company is selling its European distribution to Florensis and Graines Voltz. Ball is also purchasing Kieft Seeds, a prominent Dutch seed company, in a separate move, and it will combine Kieft’s activities with those that support PanAmerican Seed at Ball. Florensis owns 30 percent of Kieft. The Kieft brand will continue to be used in the marketplace. “The Kieft product line is pretty complimentary to the one we have in PanAmerican Seed,” says Cees Boonman, vice president of Ball Horticultural. “When a company like Kieft is for sale, you have to seriously look at it.” In Germany and The Netherlands, Dutch-based Florensis will take over the offices and activities of Ball Holland and Ball Deutschland and merge them into Florensis entities. Ball will acquire a minority equity participation in the Florensis continental operations. In the United Kingdom, Florensis UK will become a joint venture between Ball and Florensis. Both Ball Colegrave and Florensis UK will continue […]

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May 8, 2009

Bodger’s Jones Buys Botanicals Division

Bodger Seeds’ sales and marketing director Steve Jones has purchased the Bodger Botanicals division and launched a new company called Green Fuse Botanicals in Santa Monica, Calif. When Bodger’s key seed lines were sold to Benary in Germany last month, we wondered what would happen to Bodger Botanicals, which is focused on vegetative annuals. This division, which launched in 2000, has been a bright spot for the company, encompassing a collection of innovative genetics from many independent breeders. These include the Sweet Caroline ipomoeas, Cathedral salvias, Tiny Tunia petunias, as well as accent plants like phormiums. Jones was involved in the selection of each variety since the beginning and will incorporate the entire collection into Green Fuse Botanicals. “We are happy to see this product line being carried forward by Steve, who has been closely involved from the beginning,” Kim Bodger says. “As the program moves forward, we would like […]

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May 8, 2009

Wisconsin Puts Halt To Geranium Testing

Wisconsin officials have suspended a state testing program after a test for Ralstonia solanacearum came back negative, the Society of American Florists (SAF) reported in its Washington Week In Review newsletter. For industry groups like SAF, the state’s decision was welcome news: This spring, SAF and the Commercial Flower Growers of Wisconsin (CFGW) joined forces to educate Wisconsin regulators on the state program’s potential challenges, including the possibility for false identifications. Ralstonia, a bacterial pathogen, threatens a variety of agricultural crops, including potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, as well as geraniums, according to APHIS. While the established national geranium certification program imposes strict requirements on the overseas facilities to ensure Ralstonia is kept out of the United States, from time to time state regulators beef up their own efforts to make sure diseased cuttings don’t slip through the system or arrive from uncertified farms. In Wisconsin, the impulse was similar. […]

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May 8, 2009

2009 Floriculture Field Day Is May 14

The optional garden tour and dinner for 2009 Floriculture Field Day are now full, but those interested in registering and attending the main event are still encouraged to do so. Katy Moss Warner, president emeritus of the American Horticultural Society, will be a guest speaker, along with Eric Darden of Walt Disney World, David Price of Bok Tower Gardens and Kimberly Bird of Calloway Nursery. Because the event has been trimmed from two days to one, the cost of registration is much lower this year. Registration for FNGLA members is now $115. Non-members can attend for $135. For more information on the event, click here.

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May 7, 2009

Meet ‘TexMex’ Geranium From VIVA!

‘TexMex’ geranium is new this year in Home Depot’s VIVA! line. It has cherry-red flower color with bright pink accents and a splash of white at the center of the flower. It’s bred by Dömmen and grows and flowers even in heat. “Typically, we see geraniums fade and go out of bloom when the temperatures get super hot,” says Ray French, product manager of the VIVA! line for Floragem. “I spend a lot of my time looking at garden trials to gauge performance. Some of the important Southern trials really give a good read on heat tolerance. Seeing ‘TexMex’ bloom in the heat will give the gardener a whole new use for geraniums.” For more information on ‘TexMex’ geranium and new VIVA! introductions, click here.

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May 7, 2009

Proven Winners Selects 2009 Mother of the Year

Just in time for Mother’s Day, Proven Winners has selected its 2009 Mother of the Year. The contest attracted 160 nominees, with Shirley Spade of Fitchburg, Wisc., coming out on top. Spade was nominated by her granddaughter Angela Spade, who wrote a 100-word essay about Shirley, calling her “The Can Do Grandma.” Spade will be awarded 40 Proven Winners plants, Proven Winners plant food, a WaterWise kit and an iGarden T-shirt. She will be announced as the grand-prize winner this Sunday on The Weather Channel, following every Proven Winners commericial. All nominees will receive a Gardener’s Idea Book, a Proven Winners slidechart and a Mother of the Year certificate. To learn more about Proven Winners and the Mother-of-the-Year contest, click here.

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May 6, 2009

Reporting To Burpee Root Camp

Burpee will teach hundreds of home gardeners how to successfully start their own money-saving garden during a basic training event called Root Camp this Friday at Fordhook Farm in Doylestown, Pa. The event is open to the public and will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days, rain or shine. A fun vegetable gardening workshop is designed to resemble boot camp. Burpee horticulturists and a garden drill sergeant will train “recruits,” who will be fitted in camouflage hats and armed with garden tools. “With so many people taking up gardening to save money, we feel compelled to assist in offering advice and basic training,” says Chris Romas, president and COO of Burpee. “The event itself, and specifically the workshops, are designed to prepare gardeners with the simple techniques they need to grow plants that thrive. This is very similar to the way armed forces recruits learn basic […]

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May 5, 2009

New Perennials From De Vroomen Holland

Astilbe ‘De Luxe’ Astilbe ‘De Luxe’ has rich colors, appealing textures and an abundance of intensely colored two-tone purple-lilac plumes that rise on strong stems above attractive shiny foliage. A hybrid with plentiful chinensis blood running through its veins, ‘De Luxe’ is a robust plant that exhibits very good consistency in color and habit. Presence of the Astilbe crispa species in its makeup is evident in the shiny, ruffled foliage. A seedling selected by Dutch Astilbe producer Hans van der Meer in 2000, this variety has been propagated and observed for consistency for nine years before its 2010 introduction by De Vroomen Holland. ‘De Luxe’ grows to 18 to 22 inches and produces a large amount of flower plumes from July to August. It’s available with ‘Garden Joy’ branded pot tags and hardy to Zones 4-9. Papaver orientale ‘Little Patty Plum’ As the name suggests, ‘Little Patty Plum’ is a […]

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