May 25, 2010

2010 Medal Of Excellence Award Panel And Nominees

For more than 20 years, Greenhouse Grower has recognized outstanding contributions in advancing flower varieties through our Medal of Excellence awards program. We will present three breeding awards on July 12 during our Evening of Excellence reception at the OFA Short Course in Columbus, Ohio–the Industry’s Choice determined by our panel, Editor’s Choice by Editor Delilah Onofrey, and Reader’s Choice determined by you, our readers. In addition to recognizing the best of the new introductions from the California Spring Trials, we recognize long-term contributions. We are pleased to be presenting Japanese breeding company Takii with our Industry Achievement award in conjunction with the company’s 175th anniversary. This year’s Marketer of the Year will be Floragem/The Home Depot for the VIVA! program, which has effectively spotlighted innovative varieties while stimulating impulse sales. Congratulations to our finalists and honorees! Dr. Allan Armitage 1. Black petunias 2. Beaucoup begonias 3. Punch Superbells 4. […]

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May 21, 2010

Spring Trials Hitting The Road

If you weren’t able to attend California Spring Trials this year, Ecke Ranch is bringing its show to a destination near you with its “Road to Success” summer tour.   Some of the tour’s highlights are Ecke Ranch’s new varieties for 2011, technical seminars, geographic specific varieties and combos, the latest trends from the Ecke Design Center and a peek at Ecke’s future breeding. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. Ecke Ranch will host its road shows in five locations beginning June 29: –June 29: University of Georgia, Horticulture Farm, Athens, Ga.–July 29: Penn State, SE Research Center, Landisville, Pa.–August 3: Duwayne’s Greenhouses: Hudsonville, Mich.–August 5: Plantpeddler Young Plants, Cresco, Iowa–August 10: Botany Lane Greenhouse, Lafayette, Colo. Those interested in attending can register online at Ecke.com/Roadshow.

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May 18, 2010

Ecke Ranch Pitches In For Local Community

Community Resource Center (CRC) raised $24,000 at its annual garden tour and plant sale April 24 following California Spring Trials. The tour, which includes five residential stops and special admission to Ecke Ranch for a private plant sale, attracts gardeners from across Southern California. The private sale at Ecke Ranch, which is rarely open to the public, is arguably the most popular part of the Community Resource Center’s charity tour–and it’s consistently responsible for more than half of the event’s overall earnings. This year, the plant sale alone raised $14,000 of the $24,000. “[The tour] has developed quite a following thanks to Evelyn Weidner, Paul Ecke (III) and so many other supporters in the community,” says Laurin Pause, executive director of CRC. “Evelyn and Paul make sure every cent raised at this event goes to support vital CRC programs that provide safety, stability and a path to self sufficiency to […]

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April 26, 2010

You’re Invited To The Trial Gardens At UGA

The industry is invited to attend an open house Tuesday, June 15 at the University of Georgia’s trial gardens. The open house is taking place immediately before this year’s Southeast Color Connection event in Greenville, S.C. All of the newest annuals and perennials from the major flower breeders and brokers will be showcased. Admission is free of charge. RSVPs are appreciated but necessary. To RSVP, contact Nathan King at nking@ballhort.com or e-mail ugatrialsgardens@gmail.com. Visit the Trial Gardens at UGA online at http://ugatrial.hort.uga.edu.

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April 21, 2010

Spring Trials Wrap-Up

California Spring Trials 2010 have been put to bed, but we have plenty for you to see from this year’s event. Visit our California Spring Trials 2010 page for all our coverage of the event—photo slideshows of the new varieties introduced, video interviews with the breeders and with varieties guru Allan Armitage on his top picks from the trials. 

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April 19, 2010

Taking Cyclamen Outdoors

A colleague and I last week visited Greenheart Farms, where we saw several different varieties of cyclamen on display. My colleague, an avid gardener, commented there how he’d love to add cyclamen to his garden, but he a cyclamen expert told him cyclamen historically have not worked well as an outdoor crop in the United States. Then, on Friday, I visited Schoneveld Twello, a cyclamen breeder, showcasing its new varieties and one new series at Speedling. Schoneveld conducts cyclamen trials outdoors in The Netherlands each year for its Picasso, Mini Winter and Verano series–it’s conducted trials for five years now–and Siebe-Dirk Streekstra shared the results of this year’s trials with us. Schoneveld found that it’s Picasso cyclamen series are the most suitable outdoors. Plants don’t suffer from botrytis infections, Streekstra says, and blooms are hardy. A few varieties–’Wine Red,’ ‘Red,’ ‘Dark Salmon Pink’ and ‘Dark Violet’ exceeded 20 days of […]

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April 19, 2010

MasterTag’s SnapTag Solves Tag Dilemma

Research MasterTag recently conducted found 62 percent of gardeners prefer to use tags as an in-house reference and 66 percent prefer to use them as garden markers. If you do the math, it’s clear tags as they’re currently designed can’t serve both functions. But that’s why MasterTag has designed the SnapTag, a two-tags-in-one item that serves as both reference material and a garden marker for the home gardener. SnapTags benefit growers because they can be used as stock or custom options and they help growers differentiate their product. In addition to SnapTags, MasterTag has developed a program for creating beautiful container gardens called Container Creations. Combination planters were seen at just about every Spring Trials stop this year but most of the combos we saw were pre-selected for consumers. Container Creations, however, leaves the creativity to consumers. Special tags have been created for the program that identify plants with upright, […]

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April 19, 2010

The New Speedling

Speedling has been known as one of the industry’s top young plant growers for years – it recently ranked fourth on our Top 25 Young Plant Growers List with 275 to 280 million young plants produced last year – but the operation is producing more finished plants these days and is serving as a contract grower where it can. “We’re trying to branch out on finished and pre-finished [plants],” says Speedling’s Kathy Enders. “We’re trying to do more contract growing in large pot production, and we’re doing some of the tougher crops like gerbera.” “Speedling is reinventing itself. We’re updating our computer system for quicker response times, for example, and we’re hoping to have it up by September.” Enders also discussed Speedling’s seed geranium program that typically lasts 10 weeks. “Usually, you have 15- or 16-week crop times on geraniums,” she says. “But generally the crop you’re getting from us […]

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April 16, 2010

Taking Mums In A New Direction

Syngenta wants to give Yoder mums a contemporary spin, and it’s introducing retail programs like Mum Mania and Daisy Delights to capture the attention of younger consumers. Syngenta is also working with John Henry Company on containers, labels and signage that match each mum’s color and style. “We’ve been looking for different ways to add excitement to pot mums,” says Liz Hunt, a Syngenta Flowers product manager. “We’ve been working on coming up with bi-colors and different flower forms, and we’ve looked at different ways to combine flower forms and colors to create a different presentation at retail.” Syngenta also has new tools for growers to make production easier, as well. “Our new garden mum catalog features a lot of great tools for sales reps and growers to put together programs–a spring program or a natural-season program, for example,” Hunt adds. “We’re just trying to simplify things.”

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April 16, 2010

Highlights From Danziger

Danziger is showcasing all 298 of its varieties at Spring Trials in Gilroy, where introductions like ‘Alonia Big Blue’ angelonia, Scopia Double bacopas and eight new Noa calibrachoa varieties are among the standouts. ‘Alonia Big Blue’ has much thicker, sturdier stems and bigger flowers than its predecessor, ‘Alonia Blue.’ It joins four other varieties in the Alonia series, but it’s the first ‘Big’ variety in the series. In addition to the Scopia Doubles, ‘Great Pink Crown,’ ‘Dynamic White,’ ‘Blue’ and Silver’ are new in the Scopia series. Twenty varieties now make up the Danziger bacopa series. One new and one improved helichrysum are on display at Danziger, as well, in ‘Dark Red’ and ‘Purple Improved.’ Other Danziger standouts: ‘Brasco Violet’ brachysome; ‘Noa Black Purple,’ an extremely dark calibrachoa variety in the series; and lobelia ‘Snow White.’ Danziger also has some unique new heuchera in the Kira series.

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April 16, 2010

Contract Growers Called On For Oro Liner Program

Oro Farms introduced and explained its new liner production program to us Thursday at Spring Trials in Gilroy. The program’s concept is different than traditional rooting station-type liner programs in that contract growers will produce liners to Oro’s specs, and liners will then be sold and distributed through Oro Farms. The first two contract growers in Oro’s program are Van Wingerden International (N.C.) and Head Start Nurseries (Calif.) “One issue with liners in the past is there has been inconsistency in production,” says Brian Gold, CFO of Oro Farms. “We feel like we’ve done a good job penetrating the market to larger growers. Many small and mid-sized growers don’t use unrooted cuttings, and this creates a way to get better market penetration with our genetics.” Other contract growers will likely join the program in the coming seasons, Gold adds. Learn more about Oro Farms at OroFarms.com.

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April 16, 2010

Combos Made Easy

Combo programs like Confetti Garden, Kwik Kombos and TrixiLiner rose to prominence in the last year. Now, Oro Farms is jumping into the combos market with its Combos Made Easy program. The plants selected for Oro’s combos are compatible to grow together, and Oro’s Brian Gold says all combos have require just one similar PGR application. “Most combos in the containers have six cuttings,” Gold says. We’re making recipes available to our customers.”

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April 16, 2010

Kwik Kombos Kick Off

Syngenta Flowers’ Mark Seguin, who manages this program, says, “We underestimated the interest and potential. The only issue has been availability.” Kwik Kombos debuted last year as an answer to the Confetti Garden program from Dummen and Trixie liner program from Selecta. Syngenta has been setting its program apart by incorporating more genuses and offering a smaller liner size—a 102-cell in a geranium strip instead of a 50 or 72. The big question was will it take longer for the smaller liners to finish? Seguin demonstrated comparable results when the liners were lit for five weeks and pinched. The smaller liners offer freight savings, getting twice as many units in the same shipment. The next step is to offer the Kwik Kombo mixes unrooted and to evaluate more combinations. Seventeen are currently offered and 55 more are being studied. “Just because a combination makes a nice basket doesn’t mean it will […]

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April 16, 2010

Allan’s Top Four On Thursday

Syngenta Dianthus Diabunda series:  In this day and age of petunias and calis, it is nice to see that some of the old folks didn’t get left behind. One of the old folks is dianthus, an old fashioned plant but one that keeps working for us. It is good to see some new breeding in this great grand dame, and the Diabunda series caught my eye. These selections of Sweet William offer the grower a quick turnover, as I was told that plants don’t need vernalization, quite a breakthrough when one thinks how much vernalization the old Sweet Williams needed. Available in 6 colors, these vigorous plants would be excellent for 6-inch or gallon containers. Oro Farms Erysimums: What in the world is an erysimum? As my colleague and good friend Royal Hines at Oro said, “Erysimum is a obligate cold-requiring plant…”  And the austute group with him said “Whoa, […]

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April 15, 2010

Magnum, Stardust Series The Discussion At Dömmen

The flowers on Dömmen’s new Magnum New Guinea impatiens series aren’t just big–they’re enormous. And six varieties in the series debuted this week at Edna Valley Vineyards in San Luis Obispo, including New Guinea impatiens like ‘Magnum Fire’ and ‘Magnum White Blush.’ “Magnum is a large-flowering variety that’s very vigorous,” says Dömmen’s Perry Wismans. “We don’t recommend it for 1-inch but it’s good in 5- or 6-inch [containers].” Other colors in the series are: –Blue–Lavender–Salmon; and–Peach Dömmen’s other series introduction, Stardust, kicks off with three varieties, including ‘White Sparkle,’ a low-growing, compact euphorbia. Little green was visible in the ‘White Sparkle’ on hand at the Dömmen trial. Compared to another Dömmen euphorbia showcased, ‘Silver Fog,’ the newer euphorbia featured twice as many, if not more, flowers. Other Stardust varieties are ‘Pink Glitter’ and ‘Pink Shimmer.’

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April 15, 2010

Can You Name This Petunia?

Dömmen welcomed its guests at Edna Valley Vineyards in San Luis Obispo with the challenge of naming this pink petunia. What do you think? I say Dömmen should go with ‘Malibu Pink.’ Or, if Dömmen really wants to have some fun with the name and it can get away with this, go with ‘Malibu Barbie Pink’ petunia. Have a name in mind? Send your response by e-mail to info@dummenusa.com.

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April 15, 2010

Dragone, Potunia Touched Up

In addition to its Magnum and Stardust series, Dömmen has added varieties to several existing series like Dragone begonias, Potunia petunias and Survivor pelargoniums. New in the Dragone series are ‘Champagne,’ ‘Pink Hope, ‘White Blush’ and ‘Sunset.’ These new, lighter colors contrast well with Dragone’s dark foliage. Large flowering is still a major Dömmen objective with the series. The popular Potunia series welcomes a few newcomers, as well: ‘Blackberry Ice,’ ‘Papaya’ and ‘Piccola Blue Vein’ are among this year’s introductions. The standout among the new petunias is ‘Papaya,’ which essentially covered its container with flowers and left no foliage to be seen. Survivor, meanwhile, welcomes two pelargoniums aboard in ‘White 2011′ and ‘Light Salmon.’ Salmon is also seen in Dömmen’s new Magnum series.

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April 15, 2010

Allan’s Picks From Greenheart And Dummen

Greenheart Micro Miniature roses:  Bill DeVor, the rose grower at Greenheart, showed us the new wave of roses coming down the pipe and he discussed some good ideas.  The micro miniatures were the most interesting to me in that they are being selected as an “annual” rose.  That is, a small rose that can be planted with other sun loving bedding plants, watered overhead at 2:00 am and abused like a begonia or petunia, and not get foliar diseases or otherwise fall apart.   If they can stand bedding plant abuse and the flowers and foliage remain at least as healthy and ornamental as the plants around them, then why not have a bedding rose.   Time will tell, I look forward to trying them out. Dummen Magnum New Guinea impatiens:  It is hard to have a series of impatiens stand out from the bazillions of impatiens already out there.  The Magnum […]

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