September 22, 2008

Ball FloraPlant’s Aztec Series verbena: A Reliable Choice

The Aztec verbena series from Ball FloraPlant is an easy, reliable choice for growers. Excellent powdery mildew tolerance means less chemical use is necessary and plants are healthier through the season. The lush, mounded, trailing plants fill in well in the center, and large, early-blooming flowers blanket the plants above dark green foliage. Uniformity across the series allows for bench-run finishing, and the great color range means lots of choice for customers. The Aztec series is a consistent standout in university trials across North America, boasting several top-notch varieties with unmatched garden performance, like multiple award-winners ‘Aztec Red Velvet’ and ‘Aztec Violet,’ new ‘Aztec White Improved’ and more. Aztec verbena is suitable for production in 4- to 10-inch (10- to 25-cm) pots and 8- to 12-inch (20- to 30-cm) hanging baskets. It can be used in containers, baskets, landscapes and garden borders, where it reaches 8 to 10 inches (20 […]

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September 22, 2008

Goldsmith, Syngenta To Exhibit Separately At Pack Trials

Goldsmith Seeds and Syngenta Flowers will be exhibiting at separate locations next year at the California Pack Trials after many years sharing space. The two breeders simply need more space, according to Gary Falkenstein and Joel Goldsmith, who both believe the Pack Trials separation will allow them to provide customers with better access to marketing ideas, technical information and new variety introductions. The relationship between Goldsmith and Syngenta will go on, as will the innovative partnership to breed and supply vegetative genetics to the marketplace. Locations for Goldsmith and Syngenta at 2009 Pack Trials are as follows: Goldsmith Seeds 2280 Hecker Pass Highway Gilroy, CA 95020 Syngenta Flowers 7240 Holsclaw Road Gilroy, CA 95020

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September 22, 2008

A Great Group Of Plants: Pigeon Berries, a.k.a. Duranta erecta

In 1995, I was wandering around on my bicycle in Perth, Western Australia, when I spied a 15- to 20-foot-tall shrub/tree magnificently laden with beautiful lilac-blue flowers. After checking with the locals, I was told it was a sky flower, otherwise known as duranta. It was a weed in many parts of Australia, but did not appear to be so in Perth. I stayed in Perth throughout the summer but left before the golden berries had ripened. I can’t imagine what a sight that must have been. However, I brought one back to Athens with me. It only grows to about 6 feet tall, not only in the summer with its fine foliage and handsome flowers, but then later in the fall when the fruit ripens. It is one of the finest plants in the gardens at UGA. The flowers are fragrant and the butterflies adore them. The flowers and […]

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September 22, 2008

Southern Living Plant Collection Grows Larger

The Southern Living Plant Collection was first introduced last spring, and Plant Development Services Incorporated (PDSI) and Southern Living recently unveiled new shrubs, bulbs and annuals for spring 2009. New plants in the collection, like the 2008 introductions, are still designed to solve specific challenges in the landscape. The six new annuals in the Southern Living Plant Collection are from the Athens Select plant collection and were selected to be heat and humidity tolerant by Dr. Allan Armitage in his trials at the University of Georgia. Two shrubs–’Yewtopia’ plum yew and ‘Emerald Snow’ loropetalum–were added to the collection. Both add texture and color to the category. ‘Yewtopia’ is a vase-shaped evergreen conifer that does well in part shade or full sun, and ‘Emerald Snow’ has leathery, shiny green foliage that is a great contrast to the vivid purple loropetalums in the collection. A pair of lilies–’Pink Rain’ lily and ‘Dwarf […]

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September 18, 2008

Is Perennial Breeding The Future?

I have been called many things over the few years I’ve been working in horticulture–everything from rather useless to a rock star, from entertaining to educational, and my favorite being Indiana Jones of horticulture. I frown in dismay at one or two names and chuckle at others, but I take few of them seriously. One name I have been called is a guru of perennials. It is fantasy, just like the others, but I kind of like that one because I was there when perennials started their rise in popularity. Because of, or in spite of that title, I am asked to advise growers, landscapers, breeders and gardeners in new plant development and directions for perennials. I evaluate experimental material and provide opinions about vegetative or seed perennials, their production problems and their performance characteristics. Serious About Series I have evaluated many perennials for many companies either at their own […]

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September 18, 2008

A Cut Above

(Click images to enlarge) AG3, Inc. AG 3, Inc. is collaborating with internationally recognized hybridist and garden writer Leeann Connelly, who has released a series of hybrid irises that grow in water or on land. Hardy to Zones 4-11, the Fallen Heroes series names each variety for a police officer killed in the line of duty. The varieties include iris ‘James Dickenson,’ a large, deep red flower; iris ‘Rocky Hunt’ a multi hued blue, six-inch bloom; and iris ‘Kevin Matthews,’ a very deep purple.   Abbott-IPCO ‘Summer Rose’ caladium is a replacement for ‘Rosebud,’ which has historically been inconsistent in its performance. An excellent pot variety, it improves with de-eying, but bleaches in the sun, so it should be planted in shady places in the landscape.   Abbott-IPCO ‘White Star’ caladium is a beautiful strap leaf variety that can tolerate partial sun. It makes an excellent 4- to 10-inch pot […]

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September 17, 2008

Gerbera Central

Ed Van Wingerden and his son, Ivan, stem from a long line of Van Wingerden growers. Ivan is a senior at Cal Poly, and he has expressed interest in being a major player in the family business some day. When the time came to choose a career, the choice had always come down to grower or priest for generations of Van Wingerden sons. So when Ed Van Wingerden’s father, John, told him he could pursue a career in any field, he found himself in a unique position along with his brothers, sisters and cousins. “We have lots of growers and few priests in the family,” Ed Van Wingerden says. “We come from small towns, and I am part of the first generation that got to choose.” Van Wingerden still chose grower, though, and the decision has clearly paid off. Twelve years after his father and three uncles founded Dutch Brothers, […]

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September 16, 2008

Ones To Watch: Dave Doolittle

As part of Greenhouse Grower’s 25th anniversary, we are profiling people we expect to shape the industry for the better over the next 25 years. Now in its 12th week online, our Ones To Watch series continues with Dave Doolittle of Terra Nova Nurseries, who was featured in our September issue. Age – 29 His Job – As the marketing director at Terra Nova Nurseries, Dave places a heavy emphasis on university trials. He works directly with botanical gardens and garden writers, soaking in knowledge to help his Terra Nova colleagues improve their understanding of the plants they sell. Helping Hands – Jerry Church and John Rader of EuroAmerican Propagators and Ken Brown of Terra Nova have all played major roles in Dave’s career development. Jerry’s work ethic, John’s advice and Ken’s knowledge are all qualities that have shaped Dave, and he one day hopes to work with younger generations […]

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September 9, 2008

Potted Dahlia In The Spotlight

Fides is organizing a marketing campaign this month to promote the colorful potted plants in its Dahlia series. Brokers and customers will each receive a promotional kit with a colorful Dahlinova T-shirt, informative fliers and culture tips about Dahlinova and Dahlinova Hypnotica. Dahlinova Hypnotica, a series of potted Dahlia’s, launched earlier this year and garnered some attention at Pack Trials this year. Its Pack Trials display is pictured at right. For more information on Dahlinova and Dahlinova Hypnotica, click here.

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September 9, 2008

The Bulb Project Is Ready For Planting

Conceived by the Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center (NFBIC) and supported by the Dutch Flower Bulb Industry, The Bulb Project is a Web-based resource created for educators by a group of educational specialists and is ready for a fall launch. This Web site provides educators with creative activities that use flower bulbs to teach mathematics, science, art, history and, of course, horticulture. To succeed, this project requires the active partnership of local garden centers to donate basic materials (bulbs) and some practical know-how. “We see the involvement of retailers as vital to the project, but also as a cost-effective public relations tool for the retailer,” says Sally Ferguson, director of the NFBIC. “It’s a win-win situation. Publicity now, and potential customers for the future. Plus, you can take it off your taxes either way you look at it, as a donation or as a marketing expense.” The activities posted on the […]

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September 9, 2008

New Rooting Station For Selecta First Class

Selecta First Class needed more space with the addition of its new rooted products, TrixiLiner and MiniRooter, and First Step Greenhouses in Temecula, Calif., has stepped up as the new rooting station for those respective rooting cuttings starting next season. First Step Greenhouses, in fact, will serve as the sole rooting station for most of Selecta’s products. Only TrixiLiner will ship from two locations: First Step Greenhouses in the Western United States and Gro ‘n Sell in the East. Selecta chose First Step Greenhouses because of its vast experience in rooting spring annuals and poinsettias in different sizes and forms. First Step’s core business is actually rooting, and it spends the year shipping liners throughout the United States. For more information on Selecta, click here.

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September 9, 2008

GG Names Varieties Contest Winner

  Do you know your varieties? Christina Haney of Homewood Nursery in Raleigh, N.C., does! She got a perfect score in our Name That Variety contest and will receive an autographed copy of Allan Armitage’s latest book, “Herbaceous Perennial Plants: A Treatise on Their Identification, Culture and Garden Attributes.” Congratulations, Christina!   To take the challenge yourself,. No right-clicking on the pictures for clues!

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September 9, 2008

Park Seed Prepares For Fall With Container Plants

Container plants can act as space savers, and they provide wonderful decoration for a sunny porch or deck. This fall, Park Seed is offering 11 container plants that are suitable as space savers or for your porch, and they can be mixed in larger containers to create unique combinations. Four container plants available from Park Seed are Princess Lilies. ‘Oxana’ has burgundy flowers highlighted with a yellow center, ‘Isabella’ features rich golden-orange blooms and ‘Fabiana’ has a narrow band of white edges on each dark green leaf, complimenting the white blooms that are striped and streaked with soft yellow. ‘Paola,’ finally, has rosy-pink stripes that decorate the center of each white petal, finished with a cluster of streaked red and yellow in the center. Other fall container plants from Park Seed include: – Dwarf Oriental lily ‘Garden Party’–Hardy Japanese Banana–Gaura ‘Bijou Butterflies’–Stoke’s Aster ‘Purple Pixie’–Hollyhock ‘Queeny Purple’–Dwarf mallow ‘Barnsley Baby’–Phlox […]

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September 2, 2008

Dressed For Success With Hort Couture

Hort Couture has announced the winners of its first Dressed For Success Display contest. First place went to Garden Supply Company in North Carolina, which won $1,000 in Co-op advertising/marketing dollars from Hort Couture, along with several other perks. The store featured Hort Couture products prominently with excellent use of signage, black benches and an extensive Hort Couture plant selection. Sheridan Nurseries in Ontario won the second prize. The garden center painted large urns in Hort Couture styles for the store’s entryway. The third place winner was Hoerr Nursery in Illinois, which held a breakfast to introduce the new line to its customers. Honorable mentions went to Ecthers Garden Center in Colorado and Canadale Nurseries in Ontario. For more information, go to www.hortcoutureplants.com.

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September 2, 2008

McGregor Plant Sales Partners With Elsner PAC

McGregor Plant Sales has partnered with German geranium breeding company Elsner PAC, combining Elsner’s expertise in geranium research, breeding and production with the sales, marketing and customer service expertise of McGregor. “Adding Elsner to our offering gives all North American growers the opportunity to buy the best geranium genetics in the market in an unrooted or rooted form,” says Chris Berg, business development and marketing manager of McGregor Plant Sales. “We are very excited to have the most innovative breeding and research behind our line.” Christoph Hoffmann, general manager of Elsner, is also excited about the newly formed partnership. “The companies compliment each other well with their strengths,” he says. “We can focus on what we do best: Keeping the market fresh with the most innovative varieties and having the McGregor team lead the sales and marketing efforts through North America.” Production will be performed at Nir Ad in Southern […]

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September 2, 2008

Goldsmith Varieties Bloom In Beijing

The Water Cube, where Michael Phelps won a record eight gold medals, was the place to be at the Olympics in Beijing, China. Those who visited the Water Cube were treated to a blanket of color in the form of two vinca varieties from Goldsmith Seeds–’Cora Deep Lavender’ and ‘Cora White’–that thrived in the extreme tropical heat and high humidity. Over three years, Beijing Flowers & Trees Corporation–the company responsible for the landscape during the Olympics–organized flower trials that included dozens of varieties from around the world. Cora, Sparkler and other Goldsmith varieties were among those that won out. ‘Sparkler Blush’ and ‘Sparkler White’ were planted in a bed outside the Bird’s Nest National Stadium. Here are some growing tips for growing Cora vinca from bedding plant consultant David Koranski: – Provide a well-aerated media: Finish plants in areas with protection from seasonal rains, and adequate dry back will occur […]

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August 29, 2008

Plants With Polish

Patina ageratum, from Syngenta Flowers, truly raises the bar for vegetative ageratum. Patina won’t set seed like typical seed ageratums so the plants won’t cycle in and out of flower or burn out in the heat and sun. This series is part of the Syngenta Flowers Heat Lovers program of plants that will stand up to the toughest summer conditions. This series is ideal for finishing in quart and 6-inch pots. They can be used in large patio containers for dramatic displays. Patina offers five outstanding colors including Blue, Burgundy, Purple, White and Delft (a unique blue/white bicolor). Patina ageratums are proven performers in the garden because of their exceptional heat tolerance. The best attribute of Patina is how successful home gardeners can be with this product, because it is self-cleaning and will stay in constant color throughout the summer months. The free-flowering, well-branched habit allows for the new blooms […]

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August 25, 2008

Hort Couture Grower Network Expands

Seven growers in five states were recently added to the Hort Couture grower network, including Aldershot of New Mexico, Altman Plants, Elzinga & Hoeksema, K&M Nursery, Loops Nursery, Vaughn’s, Inc., and White’s Greenhouse. Aldershot of New Mexico, Loops Nursery in Florida and White’s Greenhouse in Virginia will offer the ColorCrops program along with spring programs. Altman Plants in California will grow plants in Hort Couture’s Sunny Succulents program, as will Vaughn’s in Florida, which will offer Fashionista Ferns and Tres Chic Tropicals for 2009 in addition to Sunny Succulents. Elzinga & Hoeksema in Michigan will produce the Culinary Couture collection, and K&M Nursery in Florida will offer the Tres Chic Tropicals and Centerpiece programs. For more information on Hort Couture, click here.

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August 25, 2008

The Veggie Trend

All-America Selections 2009 Winners F1 hybrid ‘Gretel’ is the earliest white eggplant. The glossy, pure white fruit are produced in clusters and can be harvested in 55 days when 3 to 4 inches long. Mature plants reach 3 feet tall and wide, perfectly adapted to growing in containers. Young green plants can be produced for sale in 8 to 10 weeks. ‘Gretel’ is matched with ‘Hansel’ as early miniature eggplants with tender non-bitter fruit. Both were bred by Seminis Vegetable Seeds. All-America Selections 2009 Winners ‘Honey Bear’ is an F1 hybrid squash, a compact bushy plant with powdery mildew tolerance, enabling gardeners to grow this winter acorn squash in smaller gardens and expect high yields. The mildew tolerance allows the late season fruit on the plant to mature. Plants produce 3 to 5 dark green acorn squash weighing about a pound. ‘Honey Bear’ mature plants are 2 to 3 feet […]

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August 25, 2008

Powerful Poinsettias

Producing poinsettias in today’s competitive market requires a great commitment of time and energy (and a bit of Tylenol). Taking steps that make your operation more sustainable can greatly increase your overall efficiency, reduce waste and boost your price per finished plant. Preventing nutrient imbalances that lead to deficiencies and toxicities can add a few extra steps at the start of the season, but you will reap the rewards, not to mention avoid the devastating damage a disease can spread throughout your entire greenhouse. Tracking the nutrient and disease status of your crop will improve your efficiency by saving you time on the end. Here are some ways crop tracking can improve your plant quality as well as overall sustainability. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; it may be a cliché, but its message is worthwhile. As we come into another poinsettia season, we often are […]

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