November 24, 2008

A Breeder’s Challenge

The last 25 years have seen dramatic changes for grower, retailers and the end consumer. Plants have become better performers in the garden and on the bench, with brighter, longer-lasting colors and enhanced resistance to diseases and pests. But there’s always room for improvement, and the industry’s leading companies are continuously looking for ways to improve their products to benefit growers, retailers and, of course, the end consumer. Here’s what some of those breeders think the next 25 years will bring in terms of new varieties, and what’s on the wish lists of some of Greenhouse Grower’s readers when it comes to breeding better plants. Developing New Poinsettias by Paul Ecke III Bedding Plants Of The Future by Nils Klemm Succeeding With Bedding Plants by P. Allen Hammer Breeding At Kieft by Jeff McGraw The Next “It” Plant by Steve Jones Perennials For Plant People by Mary Vaananen Benary’s Breeding […]

Read More

November 24, 2008

Young Plants Companies Unite Under Fleuroselect

Representatives from 40 European young plants companies met at the European Ornamental Young Plant Producers Convention and elected to unite under the Fleuroselect umbrella. Organizations for young plants producers already exist at the national level, but the group felt a platform was needed for all of Europe in order to network, share experiences and develop strategies. The group chose Fleuroselect for several reasons. It likes the fact that Fleuroselect encompasses production and distribution companies, as well as breeders of vegetatively propagated material. It also likes the fact that it’s an independent, non-political, international organization. Many of the 40 companies uniting are already members of Fleuroselect anyway, and all 40 will now have voting rights as members of the organization. Herman Hamer of Florensis and Josef Clodius of Syngenta will represent the group at the board level on the production and distribution business unit. Permanent working groups will be set up […]

Read More

November 19, 2008

Winning The Gold Medal Oso Easily

Spring Meadow’s ‘Oso Easy Paprika’ was recently awarded the Gold Medal for Best Groundcover Rose at the Rose Hill International Rose Trials, held outside of Los Angeles. The Paprika received this award after a two-year evaluation, scoring highest in the shrub/groundcover category. The Paprika has a spicy orange bloom and does best in full sun. It is resistant to black spot and mildew, not requiring fungicide treatments. It grows 1 to 2 feet tall, and is Zone 5 hardy. For more information on Spring Meadow Nursery’s award-winning ‘Oso Easy Paprika’ rose, click here.

Read More

November 19, 2008

Syngenta’s Plans For Ornamentals

Syngenta Professional Products has brought new leadership over from Europe to direct activities in North America and maximize synergies between recent acquisitions. Bert Wagemans, who was the global business manager for ornamentals, is now the NAFTA market lead in charge of business development.  Wagemans grew up in Holland and has spent the last 18 years focused on agriculture, starting as a sales manager for Rhone Poulenc Agro and then moving into international product management at Zeneca Agrochemicals. Eight years ago, Novartis and AstraZeneca merged their agribusinesses to form Syngenta, the first global group focused on agribusiness. “The last two years, we’ve seen enormous market uplift and investment due to increased demand for row crops and biofuels,” he says. “We’re just seeing the first generation of biofuels now. The next breakthrough will be cellulosic fermentation.” Syngenta’s global market for agriculture is now $60 billion compared to $40 billion before, he says. […]

Read More

November 19, 2008

Athens Select Teams Up With Southern Living

      The Southern Living Plant Collection was first introduced in spring 2008 to solve some specific landscape challenges for the gardener. The 2009 collection will look to answer those same challenges, and Athens Select will now be bringing six new varieties to market as part of the collection as a result of a newly formed partnership. Here is a look at a few of the plants in the collection: – Begonia ‘Bonita Shea’ is a compact, mound-shaped begonia with dainty white to pink flowers borne over curled reddish-green leaves with red undersides. It grows 6 to 10 inches and blooms spring until fall. – Cuphea ‘Plum Mist’ has two-tone flowers in light and dark lavender that stand out nicely against the medium green foliage. An exceptionally free-flowering, well-balanced, low growing plant, ‘Plum Mist’ grows 10 to 12 and blooms spring until fall. – Ruellia ‘Ragin’ Cajun’ has vivid red […]

Read More

November 18, 2008

Beyond Our Borders by Paul Ecke III

With the exception of mums and a few other classes of plants, most vegetative genera, like spring annuals, cut flowers, perennials and tropicals, are produced outside the United States today. The trend started in the early 1970s, when rising energy costs forced many domestic cut flower growers offshore, with cutting producers following. For poinsettias, the offshore movement has allowed for more competitive prices, increasing availability and substantially more volume to satisfy increasing consumer demand. After adjusting for inflation, the price of an unrooted poinsettia cutting has declined by more than 70 percent over the past 25 years. Contrary to the belief that labor is the biggest savings component, energy and infrastructure costs were the factors that were most positive when Ecke Ranch moved offshore. Additionally, the offshore movement allows Ecke to produce more than five times the volume of cuttings that were produced domestically in 1983. This has allowed us […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.”

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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.

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More