August 13, 2008

Proven Winners On The Road

Proven Winners will host its first Grower University in mid-September, bringing growers together from each Proven Winners propagator–Four Star Greenhouses, Pleasant View Gardens and EuroAmerican Propagators. A team of Proven Winners experts will also be traveling across North America later this year to help growers learn about Proven Winners flowering annuals, perennials and Proven Winners ColorChoice flowering shrubs. The Grower University will be held September 12 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Chicago. The syllabus for the course will include in-depth cultural information with an emphasis on technique, cost reduction and quality. To register for the course, click here. The Proven Winners road shows will take place throughout October. Shows are free and will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in each city experts visit. Here is the Proven Winners road show schedule: Tuesday October 7–Winnipeg, Manitoba Thursday, October 9–Minneapolis, Minn. Wednesday, October 15–Seattle/Tacoma, Wash. Tuesday, […]

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August 13, 2008

Yoder Garden Mum And Aster Field Day

Yoder Garden Mum and Aster Fall Field Day will take place on Thursday, September 25 this year at Lucas Greenhouse in Monroeville, N.J. Those who attend will see the newest garden mum and aster varieties and compare them with existing Yoder and competitor varieties. Attendees will also get to talk to growers about how to be successful growing and marketing mums, and they can evaluate the garden mum and aster trials themselves. To register, e-mail Deb McGuinness at [email protected] or call 1-800-232-9557, ext. 2471.

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August 6, 2008

Best Use Of Color

The flower beds Delilah Onofrey and her family planted on Hilliard Boulevard won “Best Use of Color” in the seventh annual Westlake In Bloom competition. Pictured (from the left) are her sons Devlin, Arden and Tristan, who all helped plant the beds this spring. The varieties included: petunia ‘Easy Wave Blue,’ gaillardia ‘Arizona Sun,’ Disco marigolds, verbena ‘Aztec Red’ and purple perennial salvia for height. Westlake, Ohio, was one of the first cities to participate in America In Bloom in 2002 and won its population category that year. The city enjoyed the program so much that it has grown its local program seven fold in seven years from 38 to 300 entries, including 224 raised flower beds. The rest of the entries span categories recognizing residential and commercial landscaping efforts in homes, condominiums, businesses, hotels, nursing homes and churches. Local garden centers provided $25 gift certificates to first-place winners. The […]

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August 1, 2008

In Response To “The Veggie Boom,” Benchmarks, July 2008 issue, from Sandie Shores

Hello Sara, My name is Sandie Shores, an herb grower in Southeastern Minnesota (serving Rochester MN), and the author of Growing and Selling Fresh-Cut Herbs (Ball Publishing). I’ve been in business for 24 years and have always grown fresh-cut herbs, potted herbs in volume along with a large variety of potted tomatoes, peppers and herb and vegetable container gardens. I read, with interest, your Benchmarks article in the latest Greenhouse Grower and am quite amazed that growers are just beginning to see how the downturn in the economy is changing their customers. Of course I saw this coming! Last fall I sent out an informal survey to the 700+ local upscale “Foodies” who subscribe to my e-mail Herb Newsletter asking if they planned on growing more of their own vegetables and herbs next season (2008), and if so, why. The response was as I had expected and surprising in how many people took the […]

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August 1, 2008

And The Winners Are…

For 20 years, Greenhouse Grower has presented its Medal of Excellence awards to recognize the most significant innovations in flower breeding and marketing. The previously announced winners include Benary for Industry Achievement and Hermann Engelmann Greenhouses for Marketing.  The Industry’s Choice award, chosen by our well-rounded panel of experts, went to Ptilotus ‘Joey,’ a brand new genus from Australia bred by Benary. Rudbeckia ‘Tiger Eye Gold,’ the first F1 hybrid in this genus, won our Reader’s Choice award. This breakthrough plant was bred by Goldsmith Seeds. And last, but not least, is our traditonal Editor’s Choice award, which was presented to PlantHaven for introducing the University of Hawaii’s Royal Hawaiian colocasia collection. Congratulations to all of this year’s winners and nominees! This year’s program was sponsored by Landmark Plastics and Lambert Peat Moss.

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July 31, 2008

Viva Variety!

Do you consider yourself a plant person? Test your knowledge by taking GG’s Name That Variety challenge! We’ve assigned numbers to 25 varieties that appeared in our issues over the past few years. See how many you can identify and e-mail your list to GG’s Editor Delilah Onofrey at [email protected] by Sept. 5. You will receive one point for each correctly identified variety and a bonus point if you can identify the breeder/introducer. The winner with the most points will receive an autographed copy of Dr. Allan Armitage’s “Herbaceous Perennial Plants: A Treatise On Their Identification, Culture and Garden Attributes,” which is hot off the presses. We will announce the winner in the Sept. 10 edition of Benchrunner, our weekly e-newsletter. Good luck!

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July 30, 2008

Athens Select Reveals A Few New Varieties

Coleus ‘Gold Brocade,’ coleus ‘Mariposa’ and verbena ‘Homestead Carpet Red,’ tested and evaluated at the University of Georgia’s trial gardens, will join Athens Select’s lineup of heat- and humidity-tolerant plants for 2009. “Our three new varieties are red hot,” says Allan Armitage, horticulture professor at Georgia. “Not only do they stand up to all that summer can throw at them, but they each add a special something to the landscape. Boasting vibrant colors and a vigorous habit that’s sure to please any grower, these new additions raise the bar for performance.” Coleus ‘Gold Brocade’ is fast growing, sun tolerant and featured a vivid color combination of glimmering golden leaves with deep maroon variegation on veins and stems. ‘Gold Brocade’ loves the sun, but it also performs in partial shade. Coleus ‘Mariposa’ has large, showy leaves of Mariposa that drape downward, flaunting their spectacular, dark crimson color and deep pink edging. […]

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July 30, 2008

Open Houses Around The Corner

Breeders, growers and universities in Colorado and New Hampshire will host their annual open houses this week and next. Welby Gardens, Syngenta Flowers, Colorado State University, D.S. Cole Growers and Pleasant View Gardens are among those hosting their open houses in early August. In Colorado, Welby Gardens will host its open house August 2. Trials open in Arvada at 4 p.m., and more than 800 new container planted annual and perennial flowers can be viewed. The Syngenta Flowers open house will take place a couple of days later, from August 4 to 5, in Boulder. Colorado State University will also host its Annual Flower Trial Garden Evaluation Day on August 5. D.S. Cole Growers in Loudon, N.H., will have its open house August 7. Garden vignettes of its young plant products will be on display along with new variety additions, including an expanded selection of coleus, succulents, begonias and a […]

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July 30, 2008

Terra Nova Thinking 2009

Terra Nova Nurseries has introduced more than 550 new varieties over the years, and it will add a few more to that list for 2009. A select group of plants that were extremely popular in previous seasons will also make their comebacks next spring. Among the hundreds of selections produced at Terra Nova, these are among the top-rated new varieties available to the marketplace for 2009: – Agastache ‘Cotton Candy,’ ‘Summer Glow’ and ‘Summer Sky’ –Begonia ‘Curly Fireflush’ and ‘Madame Queen’ –Campanula ‘Jelly Bells’ –Echinacea ‘Mac ‘n’ Cheese,’ ‘Pink Poodle’ and ‘Tomato Soup’ –Heuchera ‘Plum Royale’ –Heucherella ‘Tapestry’ –Primula ‘Green Lace’ –Tiarella ‘Mystic Mist’ And those varieties making return appearances from Terra Nova are: – Agastache ‘Raspberry Summer’ and ‘Summer Love’–Bergenia ‘Lunar Glow’ and ‘Solar Flare’–Heuchera ‘Georgia Peach,’ ‘Mahogany’ and ‘Southern Comfort’ –Penstemon ‘Dark Towers’ –Scabiosa ‘Vivid Violet’ –Viola ‘Heart Throb’ For more information on Terra Nova Nurseries, click here.

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July 30, 2008

Hort Couture Still Stylin’

The Culinary Couture Collection from Hort Couture will be even larger in 2009, expanding to include many exciting new plants while maintaining its unique form of presentation in collections like Thai Restaurant, Salsa in the City and A Zest for Garnish. “Gen X consumers are looking for information and ideas,” says Jim Monroe, Hort Couture CEO. “This program delivers that with great plants and modern packaging. It has tremendous potential in the market. We have several growers that are already on board. The plugs are all certified organic as well, so the grower has the option of continuing with an organic program if they wish.” In addition to the Culinary Couture Collection, Hort Couture unveiled several new Avant Garde Annuals. Alternanthera sommelier ‘Pinot Gris,’ which grows 6 inches tall and loves the heat and humidity, is the newest addition to the Sommelier Collection. Ageratum ‘Azure Skies,’ meanwhile, has dark purple […]

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July 30, 2008

Making Room For Herbs And Veggies

Are herbs and vegetables the way to go? If so, are growers selling themselves short on prices? One grower wrote us about her decision to move full speed ahead with herbs and veggies, and another wrote to share a success story on increasing prices with the two. Both growers, ironically, are located in Minnesota. Sandie Shores of Herb’s Herbs & Such in Zumbro Falls, Minn., wrote in response to a July 2008 column written by Sara Tambascio, managing editor of Greenhouse Grower. Here is an excerpt from Sandie’s letter: I am quite amazed that growers are just beginning to see how the downturn in the economy is changing their customers. Of course, I saw this coming! Last fall, I sent out an informal survey to the 700-plus local upscale “Foodies” who subscribe to my e-mail Herb Newsletter asking if they planned on growing more of their own vegetables and herbs […]

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July 24, 2008

More Shrubs That Can Be Greenhouse Forced

In the last installment, I sorted many common shrubs into “ease of forcing” groups, based on characteristics such as their visual impact in a container and disease problems. Group 1: Would not fit into a mixed container program for the spring, including those with no outstanding features to their foliage or susceptible to disease. Since flowers were only formed on next year’s growth, forcing for flowers was out of the question. Group 2: Will work for a spring program, but with numerous problems such as poor form, inconsistency of growth or flowering or unstable variegation. Group 3: These plants work in the greenhouse, but require a bit more time, more marketing, etc. Group 4: Plants that are easily forced and catch the eye. This group proved to be the most uniform, most colorful and most appealing to the eye of the consumer. We determined the need, if any, for cold […]

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July 24, 2008

Color Your Corner

Abbott-IPCO ‘Cranberry Star’ is a 2008 University of Florida introduction. This caladium variety has white fancy leaves with cranberry red spots and an excellent pot habit in 4- to 10-inch sizes, whether de-eyed or not. Abbott-IPCO ‘Pink Sensation’ is a 2008 introduction from the Classic Caladiums breeding program. A rose-colored, strap-leaf variety with mottled cream and green margins, it is excellent in 4- to 10-inch pots with de-eyeing. American Takii Takii introduces the new Fizz series of dwarf salvia in five colors: Cream, Grape, Peach, Raspberry and Strawberry. Growing 12 to 14 inches tall, they are bred to have more florets packed onto each flower spike and to branch readily. American Takii Three new colors have been added to the dwarf Snapdragon F1 Palette series, Orange & White, Purple & White, and Red & White. Palettes have outstanding cold tolerance, making them an excellent addition to season extender programs. The […]

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July 24, 2008

The Plants That Got Us Here

I have recently been listening to some interesting comments from growers, marketers and retailers. Everyone agrees that breeding, selecting, evaluating and finally introducing a cultivar take extraordinary time, talent and money. However, we all seem to have accepted the concept, whether true or not, that people don’t know anything about–nor care to know anything about–cultivars.  We have accepted the word of marketers that gardening has become less popular because it is perceived as work, whereas landscaping is popular because someone else can do it for us. We have learned that we not are selling plants but selling a lifestyle, but we can’t define what lifestyle means. No wonder we are confused. Although those maxims may be true, I still can’t get away from the fact that new and great plants will always be necessary, even if no one cares but us.  My daughters are definitely cultivar-impaired, but lifestyle rich and […]

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July 23, 2008

First The Seed, Now A Foundation

The American Seed Trade Association (ASTA), celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, formed First the Seed Foundation at its annual convention this summer to keep the industry informed about seed and its promise for the future. Bud Hughes of Verdant Partners will serve as the foundation’s president of the board. “The mission of the First the Seed Foundation is to conduct education, outreach and communication on the value of crops and food produced from seed,” says President and CEO Andy LaVigne. “We, as the seed industry, have a great story to tell about our contributions to American agriculture, and ultimately, to the lives of people around the world. The foundation will provide a platform to educate today’s world and tomorrow’s work force about the importance of the seed industry.” The top priority of the foundation is to educate young people about seed. First the Seed Foundation will begin educating with […]

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July 23, 2008

STEPABLES Puts A Foot Forward

Interactive Web site design, YouTube videos and informative blogs are all part of the plan to build brand recognition for STEPABLES among growers, garden centers and consumers. “I wanted to create a marketing campaign that reflected my enthusiasm for gardening and hopefully inspire those visiting the STEPABLES site to try something new,” says Fran Hopkins, founder and president of Under A Foot Plant Company. “I look forward to interacting more personally with anyone who visits www.stepables.com.” The STEPABLES Web site now includes user-friendly sections with hundreds of new images and design plans for homeowners, forums for open discussion and a few instructional videos. The site also has a more personal feel through Hopkins’ blog, found in the Meet Fran section. She plans to update it frequently and respond to consumer questions there. Hopkins produced and starred in each of the instructional videos to make the STEPABLES brand even more personal. […]

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July 23, 2008

FloraStar Gives Remaining Funds To AFE

As a final thank you to the floriculture industry, the remaining funds from FloraStar were donated to the American Floral Endowment in a short and informal ceremony on Monday during Short Course. FloraStar was dissolved after 19 successful years when it was determined the unique value of the FloraStar award program had diminished due to the rapidly changing market. A check in the amount of $36,318.50 was given to AFE, presented by Bob Humm and Gary Hudson representing FloraStar and Danny Takao representing OFA. Mike Mellano and Sten Crissey, along with several of the Trustees from the American Floral Endowment were present for the ceremony. “On behalf of all the people who have participated in FloraStar over the years, it is a pleasure to hand over this check to AFE to further floriculture research and scholarships,” said Bob Humm, the last acting president of FloraStar. “We know it will be used […]

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July 22, 2008

Top Crops

The USDA’s Floriculture Crops 2007 Summary analyzes retail and wholesale values of floriculture crops, among other measures. So what are the top crops in the industry? Here’s a list, based on wholesale sales of bedding plants and blooming potted plants in 2007.      1 Poinsettias Wholesale sales in 2007 19,359 in 5-inch or smaller pot size 28,154 in larger than 5-inch pot size $2.65 average price in 5-inch or smaller pot size $4.61 average price in larger than 5-inch pot size 2 Orchids Wholesale sales in 2007 10,525 in 5-inch or smaller pot size 4,896 in larger than 5-inch pot size $6.78 average price in 5-inch or smaller pot size $11.15 average price in larger than 5-inch pot size 3 Petunias Wholesale sales in 2007 6,866 flats sold 3,748 hanging baskets sold 23,339 pots sold $0.96 average price in 5-inch or smaller pot size $2.37 average price in 5-inch […]

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July 16, 2008

Back And Forth On Begonias

Thousands of begonias are grown and sold each year at Peach Tree Farm in Kintnersville, Pa., where owner Lloyd Traven’s production is down to an exact science–even for new varieties like ‘Mandalay’ and ‘Bellagio. Without good cuttings at shipping, ‘Mandalay’ and ‘Bellagio’ will simply grow to 6 feet tall without flowering, he says. Pinching those varieties immediately after the third node is critical to flowering, as well. “This is a tough crop,” Traven says. “If you can produce them, you will not be able to keep them in the greenhouse.” Traven has also found that begonias require special care before they’re shipped off. He recommends giving them a little bit of extra nitrogen before packaging them and, of course, keep them well watered.

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July 16, 2008

Ball, Summit Team For Biodegradable Options

Ball Horticultural Company and Summit Plastic Company spent two years researching and developing biodegradable packaging, and the two companies have partnered to bring just that to the market. “It is estimated that, while 48 percent of consumers place their plant pots and trays in their community recycling programs, most of that plastic still ends up in a landfill,” says Bill Doeckel of Ball Horticultural Company. “Ball is committed to changing those statistics, and we’re pleased to have a partner, Summit, that shares our goals.” Summit will produce a range of bio-packaging products using bio-resin, which looks and feels like plastic yet degrades after a few months in the ground. The partnership made sense, too, because Summit is easily able to manufacture bio-resin with its tools and equipment without altering the size of packages.

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