Industry News

October 9, 2001 - 12:15

The Ohio Florists’ Association (OFA) has again donated leftover flowers from the Short Course to organizations that assist those in need. Cut flowers were donated to Columbus, Ohio-based Consumer Support Services and a local nursing home upon conclusion of the Retail Florist program.


Remaining plant materials were be taken by volunteers from the greenhouses of The Ohio State University and Miami University in Oxford, Ohio to those in need of help.


OFA also announced that audiocassette tapes of nearly all the educational seminars at the 2001 OFA Short Course are available from MAC Productions, Inc.


More than 150 educational sessions were audiotaped during the Short Course. The sessions offered information for all segments of the floriculture industry, including growers, garden center operators, interior plantscapers, retail managers and marketers, retail designers and industry newcomers. General management and marketing seminars were also recorded.


Tapes are available for U.S. $8.75 plus shipping and can be purchased through MAC Productions by calling (800) 347-2902.

The 24th annual Southwest Horticultural Trade Show and Conference, sponsored by the Arizona Nursery Association, will be held September 13 and 14, 2001, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The show dates were moved this year from the usual Labor Day weekend to better accommodate both exhibitors and attendees. The show is also moving halls within Phoenix Civic Plaza, which will provide a new look for the show and allows room for a new entry garden, a designated area for private business, an improved dining area and an expanded conference area.


This year’s educational conference has been reformed to include a general session. Keynote speaker Janet Rademacher of Mountain States Wholesale Nursery will discuss landscaping with style in the Arizona desert. Topics for the conference will focus on new products and horticulture practices, large desert tree handling and maintenance, new and underutilized desert plants and designing landscapes with energy in mind. A strong roster of speakers will be on hand, and selected sessions will be offered in Spanish.


The two-day trade show will feature nearly 350 booths with many new exhibitors demonstrating the latest in technology, plant production, business services and hard goods.


To add even more networking and social opportunities, this year’s trade show will kick off with a golf tournament to be held Wednesday, September 12 at Whirlwind Golf Course. Friday afternoon the annual Xeriscape Awards will be presented at a Green Industry Luncheon sponsored by Arizona Municipal Water Users Association, Arizona Landscape Contractors Association, Arizona Nursery Association and the Society of Landscape Architects. The trade show will conclude with the Green Raffle, an event that raises funds for ANAFUND, the association’s nonprofit foundation, which provides horticultural scholarships and grants.


Cost to attend the conference is $40 per day and $75 for both days. The cost of the golf tournament is $75 per person, while entrance to the Wednesday night social is $25.

Color Spot Nurseries, Inc., announced it has reached an agreement with its senior lender, Fleet Capital Corporation, to renew its existing senior credit facility .


The company has commenced discussions with a substantial majority of its senior noteholders on a plan to materially reduce its debt balance through the conversion of a portion of its senior-subordinated notes into preferred stock. Final approval of the terms of the senior credit facility is subject to, among other conditions, negotiation of a definitive credit agreement and completion of the restructuring contemplated with senior noteholders.


"We are pleased to announce our financing agreement," said Dave Barrett, CEO of Color Spot Nurseries. "When completed, this restructuring will dramatically improve Color Spot’s financial position and provide the company with flexibility to fully execute our production and sales programs in the future."


Color Spot provides high-quality plants as well as extensive merchandising services primarily to leading home centers and mass merchants, such as the Home Depot, Lowe’s, Wal-Mart and Kmart. Color Spot also distributes to over 3,800 retail and commercial customers.

Hines Horticulture to explore sale of media business


Hines Horticulture announced that it has retained Credit Suisse First Boston to explore strategic and financial alternatives for Sun Gro, its growing media subsidiary. Sun Gro’s sales for the year ended December 31, 2000 totaled $122 million. There are no assurances that any transaction will be completed.


Hines Horticulture is a leading operator of commercial nurseries in North America, producing one of the broadest assortments of container-grown plants in the industry. The company sells nursery products primarily to the retail segment and to independent garden centers. Hines is also the largest North American producer and marketer of sphagnum peat moss and professional peat and bark-based growing media, which it sells to professional customers, including greenhouse growers, nursery growers and golf course developers.

Bernacchi Greenhouses earns award


A. Bernacchi Greenhouses of LaPorte, Ind., was recognized by FloraStar for outstanding service to the FloraStar program as a trial site from 1989-2000.


FloraStar is a trialing and awards program designed to find outstanding new potted plants and promote them to commercial growers and consumers. The program also evaluates blooming plants and decorative foliage for interior use, as well as plants for outdoor use in planters, window boxes or hanging baskets.


In the trial site’s past, FloraStar has grown award-winning crops such as torenia, portulaca, begonia, cyclamen, geranium, poinsettia, companula and garden mums.


FloraStar’s Executive Director Mike Novovesky presented the award to Bart Bernacchi, who was an official judge of the program.

Shinoda Memorial Foundation announces scholars


Students at nine universities and colleges across the nation have been named by trustees of the Joseph Shinoda Memorial Scholarship Foundation to receive the foundation’s scholarship awards for the 2001-02 academic year.


The 15 recipients are enrolled in floriculture, horticulture and related programs. They will share the $18,000 being awarded by the foundation this year.


Paul Ecke III, president and chairman of the board of trustees, revealed that Kevin J. Bell of Framingham, Mass., a 20-year-old junior majoring in plant and soil sciences at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, will receive a $2,500 Shinoda Scholarship.


In addition, the foundation designated Alicia L. Payne of Arroyo Grande, Calif., 26, a environmental horticulture major at Cal-Poly State University in San Luis Obispo, to receive the $2,500 FTD District 15B Scholarship for 2001-02.


Other recipients of the Shinoda Foundation’s scholarships for 2001-02 are: Melanie L. Welles of Ixonia, 21, Wis., horticulture major at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls; Megan L. Gilbert, 19, of De Pere, Wis., horticulture major at the University of Georgia; Rachel L. Nelson, 20, of Logan, Utah, horticulture major at Utah State University; Stephen R. Brass, 21, of Stillman Valley, Ill., horticulture major at Iowa State University; Elizabeth A. Oltjen, 22, of Robinson, Kansas, horticulture major at Kansas State University; Michael T. Steinfeld, 23, of Costa Mesa, Calif., environmental horticulture major at Cal-Poly State University in San Luis Obispo; Chad T. Miller, 22, of Amery, Wis., horticulture major at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls; Jennifer L. Yarbrough, 19, horticulture science major at N.C. State University; Savannah Bluth, 20, of Santa Monica, Calif., environmental horticulture major at Cal-Poly State University; Lyle L. Matteson of Donnellson, Iowa, 22, horticulture major at Iowa State University; Melanie J. Melander, 22, of Unity, Wis., horticulture major at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls; Tracey Payton, 21, horticulture major at Oklahoma State University who hails from Skiatook, Okla.; and Amanda C. Schwake, 21, of Maiden Rock, Wis., horticulture major at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.


The foundation is an educational, nonprofit public benefit corporation headquartered in San Luis Obispo, Calif. It was established in 1964 under the auspices of the California State Florists’ Association in memory of the late Joseph Shinoda, a highly respected pioneer of California’s floral industry. Applications for the foundation’s scholarships are distributed each January to horticulture and floriculture departments at campuses across the country.

Industry mourns Speedling co-founder


George Todd, who developed the inverted-pyramid, polystyrene flat and co-founded Speedling Co., died July 24 at the age of 73.


Todd patented the Todd Planter Flat in 1972, which was used for ornamental and vegetable seedlings. He also invented a bottom-float irrigation system that became widely used for tobacco and ornamental transplants worldwide. Todd sold Speedling Co. to Celanese Corp. in 1981 and reacquired the company in 1983. He sold his interest in the company to Wearne Bros., Ltd., in 1988. He also served as president of BPI from 1975-1977. At the time of his death, Todd was co-owner and chairman of the board of Welch Tennis Courts, Inc., the largest builder of clay tennis courts in the United States.


Walker receives honor from horticulture society


The late John C. Walker, an emeritus plant pathologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, received the Hall of Fame award from the American Society for Horticulture Science. John Andrews, chairman of the Department of Plant Pathology, accepted the award for Walker, who died in 1994 at the age of 101.


The award recognizes pioneers in horticulture whose achievements have contributed to the science and profession of horticulture and to the greater public good. The award was presented during the society’s 98th annual meeting in Sacramento, Calif. The American Society for Horticultural Science promotes and encourages scientific research and education in horticulture within the United States and throughout the world.


Walker was one of the leading agricultural researchers of the 20th century. His studies showing that genes control a plant’s resistance to diseases led to the development of modern plant pathology. His work had a profound impact on the productivity of vegetable crops grown in Wisconsin and throughout the world.


A member of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences from 1919 until his retirement in 1964, Walker developed disease-resistant varieties of cabbage, onions, peas, beets, potatoes and cucumbers. Several times during the first half of the century, Walker’s research prevented the collapse of key segments of the state’s multimillion-dollar vegetable processing industry. His research also made vegetable production possible in many areas of the world where diseases had previously decimated crops.


Walker received numerous awards during his tenure as the preeminent researcher of his time. Notable among these honors was the $50,000 Wolf Foundation Prize in agriculture, which he received in 1978. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a recipient of the Merit Award of the Botanical Society of America.

Danziger "Dan" Flower farm, a breeder and plant propagator in Beit Dagan, Israel, filed legal proceedings against two farms in Ecuador for illegal conduct related to the production, propagation and distribution of ‘Million Stars’ gypsophilia. Danziger accused the farms of illegally propagating and growing the cultivar, then selling the flowers using another variety name and trademark. An injunction issued by the First Civil Court of Quito was enforced on July 12, and several boxes of the crop ready for shipment were seized from the farms.


Etera future uncertain


Layoffs continue at Etera Inc., after the company, in efforts to avoid bankruptcy, began exploring options to pay its debts as reported in the August 2001 issue of GPN.


The company’s new directors have scaled back Etera’s production of perennials, and the Internet Networks divisions have been considering restructuring. Company founder Carl Loeb, who was replaced as CEO earlier this year, said the company experienced a "very bad spring" and had lower than expected revenues.


Most employees at Etera’s newest $12 million production facility in Mabton, Wash., were laid off. The 13-acre greenhouse operation, which celebrated its grand opening in June, has been kept running to maintain plant material. The company owes more than $69,000 in workers’ compensation taxes, and two liens worth nearly $13,000 have been filed against the company.

Poly-Tex changes logo


Poly-Tex, makers of greenhouse and display systems, has announced a new corporate identity its newly designed logo featuring two greenhouse structures under a blazing sun. The new design, along with the statement "Quality Greenhouse & Display Systems," shows that the company is committed to providing a wide array of high-quality growing and retail structures for the plant industry.

Pennsylvania Floral Industry sets Expo line-up


The Pennsylvania Floral Industry Association will hold its 2001 Grower and Floral Expo on Wednesday, November 7, 2001 at the Palace Inn, Monroeville, Penn., from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. All industry personnel are invited to the event.


Highlights will include speakers from all areas of the floriculture industry including Kerstin Ouellet of Euro American Propagators, Dennis Burd from Country Market Nursery in Mechanicsburg, Penn., and Robert Berghage of Penn State University. In addition, pesticide credits will be awarded from the Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia Departments of Agriculture for two sessions.


In addition to the speakers at the event, a vendor trade show will feature top-of-the-line products specifically targeted to the floriculture industry. Exhibitors will be available throughout the show hours as well as during a 45-minute period in the afternoon.

Salary survey results


The Association of Education and Research Greenhouse Curators (AERGC) conducted a salary survey during the summer of 2000. Survey forms were sent to all current AERGC members, and 93 responses were received out of a possible total of 250.


The return rate was lower than expected, mainly due to the low number of responses from Canada. There was insufficient data from Canada to draw any conclusions for that region.


Along the gender lines in the United States, there was a significant difference between the salaries of greenhouse managers across the country, as males were paid anywhere from 12-42 percent more than females for doing the same job. The highest difference came from the Mountain Prairie/Southwest and Pacific regions, where men were paid the most, on average. In the Pacific region alone, men made an average of $52,000 while their female counterparts averaged just over $32,000. The Southeast region was the lowest-paying for male greenhouse managers, as the average salary came to just over $37,000. The Great Lakes region showed the most equality, with women earning just 12 percent less than their male counterparts.


Years of managerial experience and salary levels were not consistent across the country. Managers with five years experience fared best in the Pacific region, while those with 10 years experience fared best in the Great lakes region. Managers with twenty or more years of experience, however, were best compensated in the Northeast, where the average salary was above $52,000. Overall, according to years of experience, managers in the Northeast and Pacific were paid the most while those in the Southeast were paid the least. The AERGC will hold another survey in 2005.

Flower Fields to use Preforma plugs


Yoder has announced that they will be using Preforma plugs for all rooted liners of Flower Fields annuals, impatiens and dahlias during the 2001 and 2002 seasons.


According to a Yoder representative, "Preforma plant plugs have excellent stability, drainage and air permeability with good, steady moisture content. The use of Preforma Plugs will ensure that Yoder Flower Fields liners are definitely something better to grow on."


Other advantages offered by the Preforma plugs include the fact that they don’t fall apart during transport, they are strong enough for early handling and the plugs have excellent take-off after transporting. This means less shock to roots, faster root development, less loss and faster bench turnover.

Scotts and EDEN announce agreement


EDEN Bioscience Corporation and The Scotts Company announced an exclusive global business relationship by which Scotts will evaluate EDEN’s harpin protein technology for use in its consumer products for lawn and garden care, as well as in its full range of products for professional horticulture.


EDEN currently sells this technology in the agricultural market under the brand name Messenger.


"We have been conducting trials with Messenger for several months," said Scotts CEO James Hagedorn. "We think this technology may have tremendous potential for both consumer and professional ornamental, lawn and garden products."


"This agreement signals our desire to use cutting-edge technology to add value to our customers – with possible benefits such as increased blooms on flowers, earlier-maturing vegetables and healthier lawns," Hagedorn said.


The agreement grants Scotts exclusive global rights to research the use of harpin technology in the worldwide consumer lawn and garden market, including its combination with products such as Miracle Gro; the lawn, tree and shrub service markets; and the branded plants market. The agreement also stipulates that EDEN and Scotts will work together to develop new products to be sold exclusively by Scotts. Separately, EDEN expects to name Scotts a distributor for selling Messenger to the professional horticulture and turf markets. All of these markets make up a 7 billion dollar annual business.


Messenger was developed and brought to the commercial market in the United States by EDEN Bioscience. The product combines biotechnology and green chemistry to harness the natural plant defense and growth systems that cause plants to resist attack by diseases and insects, and exhibit increased nutrient uptake and photosynthesis.


Messenger has been shown to be nonhazardous to humans, animals and the environment. The role of naturally occurring harpin proteins in triggering natural plant defense and growth systems without altering the plant’s DNA was discovered by Zhong-Min Wei, PhD, and colleagues at Cornell University in New York. Wei is now vice president of research at EDEN.


In June, 2001, the EPA awarded EDEN the U.S. Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award for its technical innovation in the development of the harpin technology incorporated in Messenger.

International leaders join forces


Bonar Phormium, the leader in environmental/energy curtain material in Europe, has joined forces with Klerk’s Plastics, the worldwide leader of greenhouse film. The alliance will provide curtain and greenhouse manufacturers one-stop shopping for technologically advanced greenhouse films and energy/environmental curtains. Klerk’s will function as the stocking and fabricating representative for Phormium in Canada and the United States.


"This is a natural fit in that the environmental/energy curtains come from Belgium, as does Klerk’s greenhouse film," said Jim Ralles, Klerk’s sales manager, who will launch the U.S. effort. "Both products deal with controlling the environment to promote efficient crop production."

Rimol makes new hire


David Ransome has recently joined Rimol Greenhouse Systems of Hookset, New Hampshire, a leading manufacturer and distributor of greenhouse structures and systems. Ransome will be responsible for managing and developing sales in upstate New York, western Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. Ransome has more than 25 years of experience in the horticulture industry.


American Coolair redesigns Web site


The newly-redesigned American Coolair Web site provides extensive company and product information.


Originally, the site went live in 1995 and provided basic information on product lines, the company’s history and a list of distributors at www.coolair.com.


"When we decided to upgrade our site, our main focus was the customers," said Francis Chester, vice president of marketing. "I think the redesign not only has allowed us to add more information, but also has made the site easier to navigate."


The comprehensive redesign offers direct links to American Coolair’s complete product brochures. Visitors can click on commercial and industrial axial, commercial centrifugal, poultry ventilation or greenhouse ventilation products right from the site’s entry page. Once a product category is selected, customers can view low-resolution files or download high-resolution files. Either can be read with Adobe Acrobat software.

Garden Centers of America install board of directors


The Garden Centers of America’s (CGA) new board of directors was installed at the American Nursery and Landscape (ANLA) convention in Cleveland recently. The new president is Dennis Burd, president of Country Market Nursery, Mechanicsburg, Penn. Burd will be entering his seventh year of service on the CGA board.


Don Riddle, Jr., of Homestead Gardens, Inc., Davidsonville, Md., remains as director-at-large. Riddle served as president of the board in 2000-2001. Rounding out the board are new vice president Thomas D. Hoer, II, of Green View Nursery, Dunlap, Ill.; treasurer Jack R. Bigej of Al’s Garden Center, Woodburn, Ore.; and two new board members – Hammon J. Buck of Plants Unlimited, Rockport, Maine and Michael H. Bracken of Nicholson-Hardie, Dallas, Texas.

Fleuroselect considers change


Fleuroselect members at their annual general meeting gave a mandate to a working party of selected members to critically review the structure of the organization and formulate proposals for eventual revisions that will ensure the organization offers optimal service to its members.


The heart of the review reflects a proposal to move away from a broad country-based grouping of members to a more individual, business-related structure. For example, breeders, propagators, distributors and seed packet companies will be grouped into individual business units. The results of this review and the proposals of the working party will be presented at the next Fleuroselect convention in August 2002 in The Netherlands.

 



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