February 13, 2008

Orchids Are Babe Magnets

Roses are red, violets are blue, and orchids are babe magnets, according to blooming potted plant grower Rocket Farms in Salinas, Calif. Rocket Farms launched a really innovative campaign to promote selling orchids to men for Valentine’s Day gift sales. The campaign, “Be A Babe Magnet,” was inspried by a real-life experience encountered by senior executive Marc Clark, vice president of operations, when he was walking through the airport carrying a potted orchid. He was clueless as women kept smiling and saying hello to him. Some even came up to chat. “The orchid is a babe magnet for the clueless guy,” he says. “Although my wife didn’t think the airport experience was funny, she definitely appreciated the orchid I brought home. It got me thinking that if guys only knew the power of these orchids, we would probably run out of stock.” The orchid already is a perfect symbol for […]

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February 6, 2008

Make Your Pack Trials Plans

With the California Pack Trials being a little earlier this year, March 29-April 6, now is the time to finalize your travel arrangements and visits. Make sure you have the most up to date information. Download the complete alphabetical list of exhibiting companies and contact information here. Or go to the National Garden Bureau’s Web site, www.ngb.org, for direct links to make appointments at each location.

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January 23, 2008

Poinsettia Production Images

Selecta First Class has posted greenhouse production images for most of its poinsettia varieties. “It is always nice to see poinsettia images from real production in the field,” says Selecta’s Stefan Reiner. “The catalog images are nice, but we all perfer real production images. During our travels, we do see a lot of production, and we started to take a lot of images.” Visit https://firstclassplants.com and click on products and care, Select poinsettias from the drop-down menu and then select varieties.

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January 16, 2008

Texas A&M Hosts Tour To Mexico

Brush up on your Spanish. Escape from winter. Don Wilkerson, Texas A&M University horticulture professor and Extension specialist is leading a week-long Spanish-language immersion study program to Cuernavaca, Mexico, Feb. 24-March 1. Whether you are interested in communicating better with Spanish-speaking employees or want to sell more plants to a growing Hispanic population, being able to communicate in Spanish and having an appreciation of Latin American culture are essential skills and experiences. Participants will have an opportunity to learn or practice functional and conversational Spanish in small classes with accredited teachers. In the afternoons, there will be educational field-study tours focusing on floriculture production and marketing. For more information regarding this unique educational opportunity, Dr. Charles Hall, Ellison Chair in International Floriculture, 979-458-3277, [email protected]

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January 16, 2008

GROWER TOOL: Pansy Primer

Syngenta has published a guide to protecting pansies that will help you manage crop growth, beat bugs and prevent foliar diseases and root rots. Download the guide here.  

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January 9, 2008

Color, Texture & Style

    Adenium Hot Pink’ is a special hybrid selection of adenium from Oglesby Plants International that is very vigorous, free branching and from a liner can produce a flowering 6-inch pot in 16 weeks. Produced from virus-tested stock to promote crop consistency and disease resistance.    Ajuga Ajuga reptans ‘Black Scallop’ from Plant Haven has elegantly scalloped, glossy foliage in midnight black. It is a vision in patio pots and combos with small, intense deep blue flower spikes and grows 4 to 6 inches tall. Available from McGregor Plant Sales.    Alternanthera ‘Brazilian Red Hots’ alternanthera from GroLink is truly hot. An upright grower reaching 18 inches tall and 10 to 12 inches in spread, ‘Brazilian Red Hots’ is ideal for combination planters and the landscape.    ‘Partytime’ from ItSaul Plants is a striking foliage plant with small, bright green leaves, broken up by dazzling reddish variegation. It has […]

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January 9, 2008

McGregor & Florexpo Grow Organic Herb Cuttings

McGregor Plant Sales and Florexpo now offer USDA Certified Organic herbs for U.S. and Canadian markets. With offshore certified organic unrooted cuttings, growers will no longer have to hold their own mother stock in organically certified houses for 12 months before being able to ship. “We owe a lot to Tim Wada and The Plug Connection for helping us get started,” says Doug McQueen, vice president of McGregor Plant Sales in Carlsbad, Calif. “Plug Connection has been committed to organic production for years and they were looking for a partner to help them with their vegetative liner production.” After touring Florexpo in Costa Rica in October of 2006, Wada connected Florexpo with California Certified Organic Farms (CCOF) to develop the protocols which would be approved in an audit. The California CCOF auditor became the consultant in Costa Rica and wrote the production and traceability manual and performed the mock audit. […]

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January 9, 2008

Syngenta Cuttings Farm Recovers From Storm Dama

The Syngenta Flowers cuttings production site in Guatemala has suffered significant damage due to high winds in the area last Thursday and Friday.   No injuries were reported; the site’s staff and their families are safe. However, a significant portion of the farm’s production area sustained major damage. This event does not affect the supply of cuttings from the legacy Fischer USA assortment. While the damage in Guatemala is severe, the site represents only a portion of Syngenta Flowers’ total cuttings supply. The company has already begun re-sourcing product through the Syngenta global supply chain and network. Syngenta is in the process of rebuilding the Guatemala facility at short notice and, as such, is confident it can resume deliveries in the third quarter. Syngenta Flowers remains committed to its customers and the high standards for sanitation that customers have come to experience from the company. Syngenta Flowers will not compromise […]

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January 2, 2008

Festive Fashions With ‘Diamond Frost’

Donahue’s Greenhouses in Faribault, Minn., had fun promoting euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’ during its fall and winter holiday events by dressing up Stella the mannequin in three different outfits. “The holiday look for Stella was fun and lively,” says Kathy Donahue Nass. “Late in the summer we designed a skirt of ‘Diamond Frost,’ hoping it would become her holiday skirt. On Oct. 28, we held a fundraiser for our catholic high school and found Stella dressed in an ’80’s cheerleeding costume for the event. She received many compliments on this look. On Nov. 15 for our holiday open house, we needed to find an outfit that went with Stella’s classic personality. At an antique shop we found this classic outfit direct from Caesar’s Palace. Again, she was a stopper as you walked through our doors! And for her final look of the season Stella donned a beautiful red velvet top. She […]

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January 2, 2008

New Wave Campaign For ’08

Ball Horticultural Co. is rolling out its multimedia blitz promoting Wave petunias for the coming spring. One of the messages is, “Accept the accept the gardener in you.” An new Wave television commercial will run on leading lifestyle channels and more networks than ever before to reach a broader audience. Print advertising will continue in trade and consumer publications, as well as online advertising on popular consumer sites. There also will be a viral marketing campaign to build word-of-mouth buzz for Wave, leveraging social media like blogs, YouTube and MySpace to grow the Wave Consumer community. Public relations efforts will promote Wave in consumer magazines, radio and TV shows. Growers will be kept in the loop with post cards before and after Pack Trials and at trade shows and events. Growers will also receive the Wave Fan Club email communications and can take advantage of online support for the campaign […]

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December 26, 2007

McGregor Offers Elsner PAC Geraniums

McGregor Plant Sales has partnered with geranium breeder Elsner to ship unrooted cuttings from Israel to North American growers. Now in its fourth generation, Elsner’s heritage dates back to 1889, when Wilhelm Elsner I grew potatoes, roses and vegetables in Dresden, Germany. Elsner began its own breeding program in 1923 and opened its first laboratory for virus testing of ornamentals in 1956. Grandson Wilhelm Elsner III later received the award of excellence from the International Geranium Conference in Odense, Denmark. “We are thrilled to offer this range of genetics,” says Chris Berg, program manager for McGregor Plant Sales. “This lineup of genetics offers our customers a full range of geraniums, including zonals, ivies, regals and several unique specialty types, like the viola flowering Angel Eyes series.” The wide and diverse product line will allow growers to make selections based on their growing needs and what is popular in their markets […]

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December 26, 2007

New International Perennial Conference

The Dutch-based International Hardy Plant Union and Bildungsstatte Gartenbau in Germany will host the first International Perennial Plant Conference in Grunberg, Germany from Feb. 15-17. The purpose of the conference is to promote international contacts in the perennial plant industry and provide an opportunity to exchange knowledge and expertise in an inspiring atmosphere. All segments of the perennials industry are invited to participate. Seminars will be presented in English. Experts on the program hail from Germany, Sweden, The Netherlands and Belgium. Registration fee is 120 Euro. For more information, email [email protected] or [email protected] or visit www.bildungsstaette-gartenbau.de

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December 19, 2007

Primula & Cyclamen Trials

January will be a month for blooming potted plant trials. While Sakata is hosting primula trials in Denmark, Hortus Group will host its cyclamen trials in California. Now through January 25, Sakata will present a full-comparison primula trial, including the species of Primula vulgaris (acaulis), Primula veris (polyanthus) and Primula malacoides. Key Sakata varieties are Danova, Rosanna, SuperNova and Prima. This trial provides the opportunity to evaluate each series with regard to earliness, plant uniformity and overall plant habit. For more information and to attend the trial, contact your local Sakata representative of email [email protected] You may also contact Carsten Jorgensen at +45 4010 4853. In Cyclamen, Hans Gerritsen of Hortus Group will host its annual open house from January 14-25 in Castroville, Calif. In cooperation with the world’s key F1 cyclamen breeders, he will display more than 250 varieties for evaluation. This is North America’s largest cyclamen trial. For […]

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December 19, 2007

“Flower Confidential” Author Speaks At TPIE

Amy Stewart, who wrote the controversial expose on the floriculture industry–”Flower Confidential: The Good, The Bad And The Beautiful In The Business Of Flowers”–will be the lead off speaker at the Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition (TPIE) on Jan. 17. Her topic is “What It Means To Go Green!” Based in Eureka, Calif., Stewart has traveled across the country talking to a wide range of people who purchase cut flowers and plants. She’ll share what she has learned from consumers related to flower and plant purchases and what it means to “go green” for those who sell floral and plant products. For instance, did you know more than two thirds of the audiences she met with want to buy organic or are in tune with the term “sustainable?” Find out how your business fits into the whole green puzzle. Tagged as “a passionate and inquisitive writer” by the Boston Globe, her […]

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December 12, 2007

Fischer Becomes Syngenta Flowers

Syngenta has renamed its breeding and brokerage divisions to reflect their new roles. The full-service brokerage division, S&G Flowers, will be renamed Syngenta Horticultural Services. Its focus will be services and supply efficiency for growers. Fischer USA is taking on all brand and supply chain management for Syngenta in seed and vegetative product lines. Its new name is Syngenta Flowers. Current seasonal activities between S&G Flowers, Fischer USA and their respective customers will remain unchanged through March 29, 2008. The official change will go into effect during the California Pack Trials. But the new names become effective Jan. 1. During Pack Trials, vegetative lines will be showcased at Goldsmith Seeds and seed lines will be shown at the former S&G Flowers facility, both in Gilroy. Vegetative perennials will be shown at both.

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December 5, 2007

‘Tis The Season For Poinsettia Trials

There’s still time to check out poinsettia trials in Ohio and North Carolina. OFA has partnered with The Ohio State University to host poinsettia trials at four growing locations in four parts of the state: Today from 1:30 to 4 p.m. at Berns Greenhouse in Middletown Monday, Dec. 10, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at Bostdorff Greenhouse Acres in Bowling Green Wednesday, Dec. 12 from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at Dill’s Greenhouse in Groveport Friday, Dec. 14 from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at Barco and Sons, Inc. in Medina No reservations are needed. For more information, contact OFA’s Technical Education Manager Steve Carver at 614-487-1117 or [email protected]  Tomorrow, North Carolina State University will host its poinsettia open house from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the horticulture field lab next to the J.C. Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh. On Sunday, the trials will be held at the Ruby C. McSwain Center […]

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December 5, 2007

Selecta’s Catalog Goes Green

Would you be surprised that wind power was involved in printing Selecta First Class’s 2008 poinsettia catalog? Marketing Manager Sabina Reiner explored more sustainable alternatives to producing the new catalog. In addition to using recycled paper and soy-based ink, production costs were 10 percent less by not using high gloss paper or UV coating. “But this was not the end of our environmental protection. Our catalog was printed with wind power,” Reiner says. “It is the first time we printed in California. Our printing company is supporting Green-e certified wind facilities located nationwide.” Launched in 1997, the Green-e Renewable Energy Certification Program is the leading voluntary certification and verification program that sets standards for renewable electricity-based products in three markets for renewable energy: restructured, regulated and tradeable renewable certificates, she explains. “Our printing company is purchasing 1,200 Megawatt-hours of renewable certificates each year to offset 100 percent of the electricity […]

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December 5, 2007

Hort Couture Announces Grower Network

Since July, Hort Couture has been building a network of more than 30 growers to produce its line of plants for independent garden centers. WEST Valleybrook Gardens in British Columbia Blooming Nursery in Oregon Monterey Bay Nursery in California Clearwater Nursery in California SD Growers in California Center Greenhouse in Colorado MIDWEST Malmborgs in Minnesota Zylstra Greenhouses in Michigan Simpson Greenhouses in Michigan Shreve Greenhouse in Ohio SOUTHWEST Ellisons Greenhouses in Texas NORTHEAST Valleybrook Gardens in Ontario Quansett Nurseries in Massachusetts Matterhorn Nursery in New York Centerton Nursery in New Jersey Trail Nurseries in Pennsylvania Greenstreet Growers in Maryland Bob’s Market in West Virginia SOUTHEAST Aarons Creek Farms in Virginia Riverbend Nursery in Virginia and Georgia A&A Plants in North Carolina Kings Greenhouses in North Carolina Barton’s Greenhouse & Nursery in Alabama Batsons Foliage Group in Florida Morning Dew Tropicals in Florida Sun Fire Nurseries in Florida Excelsa Gardens in […]

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November 28, 2007

Tesselaar Growers Volunteer On Skid Row

Just before Thanksgiving, the licensed growers of Anthony Tesselaar USA took time off from meetings in Los Angeles to volunteer at the Union Rescue Mission on Skid Row. They helped prepare meals that would feed homeless men, women and children during the upcoming holiday. These dishes were served by a crew of Hollywood Celebrities, including Kirk Douglas, Harrison Ford, Calista Flockhart and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “It really was a great way to spend an evening,” says Skeeter McCorkle of McCorkle Nurseries in Georgia. “It certainly was in keeping with the timing of the season. I’m sure none of us had ever experienced fruit cocktail on such a vast scale before. And I think we’ll all smile at the memory of us ladling it out wearing those funny hairnets and aprons.” Kay Phelps of Clinton Nursery in Havana, Fla., says, “It was a really cool thing to do. It […]

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November 21, 2007

Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas The day before the Michigan Greenhouse Growers Expo on Nov. 5, I drove to Kalamazoo to visit Larry Boven, his daughters, and the new owners of Boven’s Quality Plants, Kris and Stacy Van de Streek. They purchased the original Boven location in August. The newer Van Boven’s location six miles away was purchased by Nirmal Shah. Both are young growers who just turned 30. Nirmal came to Boven’s from Penn State and Kris has worked for Boven since he was in high school, raising money to take a trip to Spain over spring break The last time I visited Boven’s was 14 years ago, when I was an editorial assistant and attending the Western Michigan conference in Kalamazoo. It was my first grower visit and I even got to go up in a helicopter with Larry to see the entire Kalamazoo Valley. We […]

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