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

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

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

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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August 25, 2008

CK Greenhouses Hosts Open House

CK Greenhouses, a rooting station for Dömmen USA in Cheshire, Conn., drew about 100 people to its open house over two days to view finished Red Fox products and hear presentations on growing quality osteospermums and cool finishing poinsettias from P. Allen Hammer. Both topics were well-received because of fuel costs, says Rebecca Lusk, regional sales manager for Dömmen. “All growers were interested in the Silver Fog and Potunias,” she says. Between presentations, growers were able to take guided or self tours of CK Greenhouses to see their mum crops and new greenhouse structure.

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August 25, 2008

Cooking Up Sales

Ask Karen and Mark Langan of Mulberry Creek Herb Farm in Huron, Ohio, and they’ll tell you they have an herb farm first, and it just happens to be all certified organic. “Growing plants is the priority, and we just happen to do that organically,” says grower Mark Langan. It’s a small but important distinction in a market currently obsessed with the words organic, sustainable and green. He adds the business has thrived for many years and only recently have some customers started to visit the small, family-owned operation because of its organic designation. For the Langans, the decision was simple as they watched their two sons running around the farm. It had to be safe for them. And though the Langans don’t tout Mulberry Creek (www.mulberycreek.com) as an organic destination, the organic and environmentally friendly way of doing business has attracted a large fan-base–some from as far as two […]

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August 18, 2008

Ganon Joins McGregor Plant Sales

McGregor Plant Sales has hired Menachem Ganon as vice president of international business. Ganon joins McGregor from Florexpo, where he was general manager and led its growth as the leading unrooted cutting farm in Costa Rica. “Menachem brings tremendous international experience and relationships to McGregor Plant Sales,” says Cathy McClintock, company president. “He is a brilliant thinker and proven producer. Menachem will develop and execute growth strategies in Europe, Asia and emerging international markets. The new position will bring McGregor’s greater scale in its customer base and it will advance key product initiatives and breeder relations.” Over the last 12 years, McGregor Plant Sales and Florexpo have developed an important alliance in the production and sales of vegetative cuttings. Today, Florexpo is a large perennial cuttings producer. It has a wide selection of annuals from some prestigious breeders, and it offers an aggressive flexibility to new product channels–grasses, woodies and organic […]

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August 18, 2008

Growing Energy-Efficient Poinsettias

Some poinsettia growers thought they had fuel prices figured out as spring approached, but constantly increasing costs might have caught a few off guard. Now more than ever, then, is the time to follow the trend of growing energy-efficient varieties, and Selecta First Class has developed an easy-to-follow guide for growers who count on its varieties.   The recommendations are designed for varieties like ‘Christmas Feelings’, ‘Christmas Eve’, ‘Christmas Carol’ and ‘SK 62’ from the Christmas Feelings series. To read through the information, click here.

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August 18, 2008

Terra Nova’s Heuchera Named Best New Plant

Terra Nova Nurseries received an award for its heuchera ‘Midnight Rose’ at the Woking Nursery Exhibition last month in Guildford, England. ‘Midnight Rose’ was selected from among perennials, shrubs and trees on display, and Terra Nova shares the award with partner company Aline-Fairweather Nursery in England.   “We are thrilled to receive this award,” says Dan Heims, co-owner and president of Terra Nova. “We have worked closely with Aline-Fairweather Nursery over the last several years to assemble a robust selection of some 50 plus heucheras and other plants for English gardens.” Terra Nova and Aline-Fairweather have a partnership to introduce new varieties of perennials in Britain. For more information on Terra Nova Nurseries, click here.

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August 18, 2008

Overdevest Launches New Brand

Overdevest Nurseries, the founder of the Garden Splendor brand, has launched another brand called Footprints, a new line of decorative, eco-friendly potted patio plants available to independent garden centers in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Plants in the Footprints line are grown in a sustainable manner.   Footprints are potted in natural-component containers and labeled with tags that are biodegradable, and plants are grown with compost made from renewable soil ingredients and recycled irrigation water.   “Public concerns and current events point to sustainability as both an evolving opportunity and ongoing responsibility for our industry,” says Ed Overdevest, president of Overdevest Nurseries. “The timing was right, and the program is in line with our proactive environmental measures. Since there are issues out there that diminish our claim to be the green industry, initiatives like this are important to reassert our role in the environmental equation.”   Fourteen varieties were selected for […]

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August 18, 2008

Variety Added To Forever & Ever Collection

The Forever & Ever hydrangea collection began with an original pink variety and quickly added a Red and Double Pink to the mix. Then came Peppermint, Blue Heaven and color-changing Together. The line is now complete with White Out, a pure white variety that will be available at retail next spring.    White Out will be sold in the burgundy Forever & Ever container. Each plant will have a large tag, displayed on a stake, of the flowering hydrangea, encouraging impulse sales even when the plant is not in bloom. The tag is also full of instructions for care and growing of the plants.   White Out is a full-bodied plant with large, 8-inch white mophead blooms comprised of individual flowers atop deep-green leaves. White Out flowers from early to midsummer until frost. Its compact, rounded habit-will grow to 28 inches tall and 25 inches wide.

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August 18, 2008

Syngenta Celebrates Bonzi’s 25th Anniversary

Since it was first labeled for use on ornamentals in 1982, Bonzi plant growth regulator (PGR) from Syngenta has long been regarded as a gold standard for PGRs for the greenhouse industry. Bonzi has been shown to consistently keep plants uniformly compact, hardy and well-proportioned. Research conducted by universities over the past 26 years, such as the Poinsettia Height Control program conducted by the University of Florida, has shown that implementing a program that includes regular applications of Bonzi to crops like poinsettias helps produce plants with enhanced appearance, better blooming, improved shipping characteristics and shelf life. Additionally, because it slows vertical growth within three to five days after application, Bonzi can help reduce associated labor and fertilizer costs, and maximize plant production consistency. “The introduction of Bonzi represented a milestone for the nursery and greenhouse industries,” says Eduardo Moreira, ornamental market manager for Syngenta. “With it, growers are able […]

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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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