November 18, 2008

Growth Or Confusion? by Allan Armitage

There were so many to choose from, she couldn’t make up her mind–so she didn’t buy any. That was my daughter Heather’s sentiment. She was reporting back to me after I recommended a heuchera. It puts into perspective the dilemma we so often see today: balancing the need for new plants with the need to simplify the buying of any plants. “New crops are the lifeblood of our industry,” I wrote about new crops many, many years ago, and I believe that as strongly now as I did then. Back then, however, I did not foresee the landslide of new crops and cultivars that has occurred in the last 10 years. It is unbelievable. In the trial gardens at the University of Georgia, we routinely receive 50 new geraniums, 20 new verbenas and 10 new torenias every year. In the past, add 20 new impatiens, 25 New Guinea impatiens and […]

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November 12, 2008

Stepables Names Display Contest Winners

Under A Foot Plant Company and its national brand, Stepables, revealed the names of three independent garden centers that received first place honors in respective plant display categories as part of the second annual We’ve Got Sole contest. The contest included three categories: Best Definitive Display, Best Stepscapes Display and Best Use of Space. The winners include Deneweth’s Garden Center in Macomb, Mich., Natorp’s Mason Garden Store in Mason, Ohio, and Heights Flowers in Peoria, Ill. “One of our primary goals for the contest was to encourage growers, retailers and consumers to ‘Step Forward and Give Back,’ the contest’s theme,” says Fran Hopkins, Stepables president and founder. “These three garden centers really understood the meaning behind the contest and created awesome plant displays I hope will inspire other retailers to try something new and be creative.” Deneweth’s Garden Center won the first-place prize for Best Definitive Display. A check for […]

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November 12, 2008

Ball Wins Award From EPA

Ball Horticultural Co. has been awarded the 2008 Conservation and Native Landscaping Award from the Environmental Protection Agency and Chicago Wilderness, which recognizes park districts, municipalities and corporations that make extensive and creative use of native landscaping. “This is the fourth award Ball Horticultural Co. has been presented with for the Ball Ecological Restoration Project,” says Keith Guimon, who is the coordinator of the Restoration Project.  Ball’s ecological restoration area started in 2001 and has grown into 27 acres of native restoration. Invasive plants have been removed and replaced with native ones, wildlife habit has been restored and walking trials for employees have been created. This area is located in West Chicago, Ill., where Ball’s corporate headquarters reside. An audio tour of the restoration area is also available for visitors. “Many Ball employees have been involved in this project over the years and this success is the result of a […]

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November 12, 2008

Taishan Marigolds A Standout In Beijing

Taishan marigolds, bred by PanAmerican Seed, won’t be available until 2010 but it already had a season in the sun this summer at the Olympics in Beijing, China, where it thrived amid high humidity and extraordinary heat among more than 200 plants at the games. Taishan was a prominent performer in the landscape at Beijing National Stadium, also known as the Bird’s Nest. The plant was named after the Taishan Mountains, regarded as preeminent among China’s five sacred mountains. The Taishan Mountains were elected to the World Heritage List in 1987 and are recognized as a symbol of power in the Chinese culture. Additionally, the Taishan series offers stronger branching for improved landscape performance and delivers excellent, high-impact color. It’s available in three colors: gold, yellow, orange and also a mixture. For more information about PanAmerican Seed’s products, click here.

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November 12, 2008

Selecta’s Refined Selection

For 2009, Selecta reduced its poinsettia offering for two reasons: easier selection for the buyer, and to make it easier for Selecta to produce the best product it can. There are seven new varieties in the 2009 poinsettia class, and we identified two that got us excited for the holiday season. ‘Christmas Carol White’ Evolution is a new and improved variety to the early finishing Christmas Carol series. This variety is great for color mixed tubs. ‘Christmas Feelings Marble’ Evolution is improved and can be started and grown the same way as all other varieties in the Christmas Feelings series. To see all seven of Selecta’s new poinsettia varieties for 2009, click here.

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November 5, 2008

Oklahoma State University

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 Trial Manager: Haldor Howard  Trial Location: Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma City Planting Dates: Last week of May Weather Conditions: Temperatures were warm, becoming consistently quite hot by mid-July. Some night time lows were in the 80s. August was rainy. Best In Show: Capsicum annum ‘Purple Flash’ ornamental pepper–”with showy, purple spackled foliage.” Top 5 Overall: Begonia ‘BIG Red with Bronze Leaf’ from Benary–”with BIG features all around.” Celosia ‘Garden Leader Higro Yellow’ from Grimes Seeds–”with a stately posture.” Impatiens ‘Super Elfin Salmon XP’ from PanAmerican Seed–”with exceptionally strong and consistent flowering.” Petunia ‘Mini-Me Red’ from Cohen Propagation Nurseries–”with compact yet vigorous and floriferous habit.” Zinnia ‘Zahara Coral Rose’ from PanAmerican Seed–”with a nice uniform mounding effect.”

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November 4, 2008

Unique Michigan Conservatory Breaks Ground

Community leaders in West Bloomfield, Mich., broke ground on the PLANTERRA Conservatory, a 23,000-square-foot conservatory-style facility that will house exotic plants and tropical ornamental foliage, orchids and decorative pottery in the region. The facility is expected to be completed by next fall. Locals are excited about the project because it is expected to fuel the economy and bring more permanent jobs to the area over the long term. About 70 people are currently employed at the conservatory. “This project is the best of all ideas for rejuvenating West Bloomfield,” says L. Brooks Patterson, a county executive. The PLANTERRA Conservatory’s inventory will feed Planterra Corporation’s interior landscaping business, but everything in the conservatory’s collection will be open for public viewing in a botanical garden-like experience. The project is also special because of its structure. The conservatory will comprise three adjoining glass greenhouse structures with European hipped rooflines. For more information on […]

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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

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

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

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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