June 18, 2008

Growing Overseas

An aging population, water safety and smaller living spaces are some of the forces driving floriculture in Europe, as well as the United States. The National Floriculture Forum’s trip to Holland and Germany in January looked at how growers, retailers and educators are grappling with these and other industry trends. The trip rounded up with a few days at the IPM Essen show. The National Floriculture Forum brings together academia and industry to discuss floriculture issues and research. In Holland, the group visited seven growers, who grow a variety of crops, from bulbs to orchids to ferns. Grower highlights included Wesselman Flowers, which grows bulbous crops hydroponically. Producing tulips, lilies and brodiea for grocery chains, Wesselman sells 90 percent of its product between January and April. Its 20 million tulips per year are grown quicker and cleaner in water instead of media. With impressive packaging automation, pot plant producer Humako Plant […]

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June 17, 2008

Be Our Guests!

This was the ninth year we brought growers with us to the California Pack Trials through our California Dreamin’ contest sponsored by flower breeders Sakata Seed America and Suntory Corp. To date, about 35 growers have gone on this trip. Winners are selected during the treasure chest drawing at the Southeast Greenhouse Conference and Trade Show in Greenville, S.C. Both pairs of winners were grower-retailers from North Carolina. One pair, Sharon and Gurnie Chriscoe, own Possum Run Garden Center in Robbins. The other, Ginger Johnson and Lisa Bloodworth, manage retail and production, respectively, at Wildwood Nursery & Garden Center in Henrico. Johnson’s brother, Mike Diakont won the trip, but was not able to attend. This was the first time Dr. Paul Thomas of the University of Georgia tagged along with us. He brought the idea of this contest to us to add some excitement to the Southeast Greenhouse Conference in […]

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June 17, 2008

California Pack Trials 2007

American Takii This was a big year for petunias at American Takii with seven additions to its Opera Supreme spreading petunias and three new Symphony multifloras. Last year, ‘Opera Supreme Pink Morn’ became an All-America Selections 2007 winner. Seven new colors include: Blue, Lilac Ice, Lavender, Coral, Salmon, Purple and White. The three new Symphonies are Chiffon, Lavender Pink and Burgundy Star. Next year, watch for the Soprano petunia, which will grow taller than the low-growing Opera Supremes. Grower Bud Lopez created this year’s spectacular display. The theme was "Music For Your Eyes." Two new colors joined the Nature pansy series: Pink Antique and Carmine Shades with Blotch. New Gem violas include Sapphire and Plum Antique. In cut flowers, the Cannes consolida (larkspur) series offers tall stems, double flowers and more disease tolerance in six colors. Introductions: • Cannes larkspur series, six colors • Cut flower kale ‘Pink Crane’ • […]

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June 17, 2008

Packed With Ideas

Where else can you see a whole world of floriculture in just one week (without leaving the country) but the California Pack Trials? More than 30 flower breeders and propagators rolled out their cutting-edge flower varieties during the ultimate road trip April 14-22. In addition to American companies, many of which are based in California, breeders and producers from as far as Japan, Israel, Germany, England and Holland camp out for a couple of weeks and make a pretty substantial investment in this event. Nearly 2,000 plant seekers make this pilgrimage each year. While the majority are representatives of the broker distribution chain, busloads of growers travel with their big-box buyers. Many plug, liner and finished growers make the journey on their own. And then you have allied trades and media people, like us, too. This year, Greenhouse Grower was represented by Editor Delilah Onofrey, Managing Editor Sara Tambascio and […]

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June 16, 2008

The Niagara Pack Trials: Heading North

Would you really like to see the new varieties at California Pack Trials, but can’t get away from the greenhouse in April? Is California too far to travel? A new solution is the Niagara Pack Trials, a showcase of flower breeders and their new introductions. Retail-ready greenhouse plants that will be ready to ship in spring 2009 will be on display. This, the second year of the event, will take place at trial sites all within a 90-minute drive in the Niagara region of Ontario. There is no charge for growers or retailers to attend the event. This year’s Niagara Pack Trials will take place June 25-26. “Niagara Pack Trials will be held in several greenhouses in a beautiful part of North America, just minutes from upstate New York and down the road from dozens of vineyards, great theater, Niagara Falls and the city of Toronto,” says Laurie Scullin, who […]

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June 13, 2008

Trialing & Styling

In response to both grower and retailer demand, the California Pack Trials will be earlier this year, from March 29 to April 6, before the busy spring season gets too far under way. Bus loads of growers travel with their big box buyers to discuss next spring’s program just as this spring begins. For one week, California’s U.S. Highway 101 will become the runway for the launch of new annuals and perennials. From Gilroy in the north and then south to the Los Angeles/Ventura area, the journey continues down I-5 to Encinitas. In addition to the flower breeders that are already based in California, others will come from as far as Japan, Israel, Germany, Holland and the United Kingdom to showcase their new offerings. Now that Fischer is owned by Syngenta and is in charge of its genetics on the seed and vegetative side, the company is rebranded as Syngenta […]

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June 12, 2008

Greenhouse Grower’s Medal of Excellence

For 20 years, we have recognized outstanding contributions in advancing flower varieties through our Medal of Excellence awards program. Our traditional award for breeding, the Editor’s Choice, reaches this special milestone this year. The Industry’s Choice is determined by our well-rounded panel and this same slate of nominees will be voted on by you, our readers, to determine our Reader’s Choice Award. Eligible varieties are chosen from among the new introductions at the California Pack Trials. We also will present our Industry Achievement Award to German flower breeder Benary and our Marketer of the Year award to Hermann Engelmann Greenhouses for its Exotic Angel Plants brand on July 14 during a reception at the OFA Short Course in Columbus, Ohio.

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June 12, 2008

10 Years Of California Dreamin’

Since 1998, we’ve brought 40 growers, retailers and landscapers with us to Pack Trials through the California Dreamin’ program, where we give away two trips for two at the Southeast Greenhouse Conference in June. For most of our trip winners, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Many have never been to California or been able to see the full breadth of what is available in varieties from all over the world. This year’s winners were Bill and Andrea Henry from Little Marrowbone Farm near Nashville, Tenn., and Susan Brown and Denise Etheridge from Homewood Nursery in Raleigh, N.C. While Little Marrowbone is a small grower-retailer focused on upscale niche items, Homewood Nursery, owned by the Stoffregen family, is one of the leading independent garden centers in the Southeast. While Brown is the perennials grower, Etheridge focuses on annuals and blooming potted plants. One of the highlights for Etheridge was meeting Paul Ecke […]

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June 12, 2008

Le Grand Tour de Fleur

At Greenhouse Grower, we look forward to giving you the world – a whole world of floriculture, that is – after spending a full week covering the California Pack Trials. More than 30 flower breeders and propagators rolled out their cutting-edge flower varieties and strategies during the ultimate road trip, March 29-April 5. In addition to American companies, many of which are based in California, breeders and producers from as far as Japan, Israel, Germany, England and Holland camp out for a couple of weeks and make a pretty substantial investment in this event. Many exhibit at plug and liner growers, which also gives these growing operations an opportunity to showcase their facilities and product lines. Many Pack Trials hosts reported record highs in visitation, which is encouraging. Nearly 2,000 plant seekers make this pilgrimage each year. While the majority are representatives of the broker distribution chain, busloads of growers […]

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June 12, 2008

Selling Sustainability

One of the main objectives of the California Pack Trials is to help growers and retailers succeed with plants in the marketplace and capitalize on consumer trends. Many Pack Trials hosts this year demonstrated they are in tune with the desire to offer more sustainable products and strategies. We saw a wide range of biodegradable pots and environmentally responsible packaging. Some of the breeders also emphasized how variety selection fits in with conserving energy, growing more plants in less space and reducing the need for chemical inputs. The best part is all of this is being presented as a choice for growers and retailers who would like to differentiate themselves with a green message. Never before has the supply chain been more prepared to facilitate this with a wide range of offerings.

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June 12, 2008

New Varieties At Pack Trials 2008

American Takii American Takii emphasized where its varieties fit into green strategies under the theme “Garden Performance Naturally.” Even the Opera petunias were presented as an alternative to mulch by crowding out weeds as a beautiful groundcover. Varieties were grouped in solution-oriented themes for growers, gardeners and landscapers: drought tolerant, disease tolerant, deer resistant, nematode tolerant, resistant to snails and slugs, attract butterflies, energy efficient and genetically dwarf. “It’s what we’ve been saying all along but just another way to present it,” says American Takii’s Bonnie Marquardt. In other news, Takii was integrating new acquisitions, Sahin in Holland and Global Flowers in Denmark. The companies continue to do business as usual, but under the umbrella of Takii & Company, LTD. While Global Flowers specializes in potted plants, like gerbera, Sahin breeds niche products, including grasses, perennials and annuals.  Ball Horticultural Co. SEED INTRODUCTIONS: • Clear Crystal tetraploid alyssum series • […]

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June 12, 2008

Thoughts On California Pack Trials

Our esteemed magazine editor, Delilah Onofrey, wrote many a fine blog posting during the 2007 Pack Trials, and if you didn’t read those up-to-date factual accounts, you missed out on the heart and soul of the trials. I accompanied Delilah to the Northern part of the tour, but had to return to my main job of confusing students after a few days. However, many thoughts of those days still remain, and here are just a few of them. Of course, they are my thoughts and opinions only, and I am usually wrong.  Gaillardias Are Trying To Be The Next Echinacea Keep your eyes peeled with breeding from around the world on this genus. In just the few places I visited, they were a plant that everyone wanted people to see. I especially liked the dwarf forms coming from Kieft Co. (Gallo series), but the material at Syngenta (Sunburst series) was also […]

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