Technology and innovation assume many forms, and good technology doesn’t always have to be complicated to work well. Nowhere is this more evident than at Magnolia Gardens Nursery, a biotechnology business that wields high-tech methods to propagate quality plants in vitro and low-tech methods to finish plants and increase productivity.
Magnolia Gardens Nursery is a family owned tissue culture and container operation that services landscape contractors and independent garden centers in the Houston market from its 180-acre home base in Waller, TX. The business supplies everything from small, 1-gallon perennials to 100-gallon trees.
Neil Marek is a second-generation family member who runs the Tissue Culture Division at the nursery. Marek has a never-satisfied attitude; he’s always looking to do things better. If there’s a less strenuous, more effective way to do something, he says he’s going to pick apart a process until he finds it.
Marek says big and small opportunities crop up everywhere, both low and high tech, if one only looks for them. He has seen technology ranging from as high-tech as drones and liquid media in large vessels used for tissue culture to as low-tech as an Excel spreadsheet and a skateboard improve efficiency, quality, and productivity at Magnolia Gardens Nursery.
While some of the technology available on the market is expensive and not everyone can afford it, Marek says there are little things everyone can do that will help them be able to afford the expensive things.
Marek offers four ways that growers can decide where and how to invest in technology and find the opportunities that are theirs for the taking:
1. Take a close look at your operation with your team.
2. Identify processes that are repetitive.
3. Pinpoint areas where you can achieve a quick win.
4. Start with ideas from your team.
“There are many things that can help you be smarter,” Marek says. “The future of our industry is such that we are going to have to be more mechanized. Companies that figure that out quicker are going to be ahead of the game.”
To learn more about Magnolia Gardens, visit MGNLiners.com.