NEWS on the GROW

August 27, 2003 - 09:14

ANLA Retreat

The American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA)
Convention & Executive Learning Retreat in Boston was home to many special
events: the retreat; a number of tours; a clambake; an announcement of the new
and continuing Board members; an announcement of a marketing partnership and
more.

The retreat opened up with a "New England"
clambake the evening of July 17th. But, before the clambake, attendees were
able to tour a few industry-related locations. I joined the group on the West
tour. We started at the Mt. Auburn cemetery in Cambridge, Mass., which is a
world-renowned horticultural site with more than 5,500 trees. Next, the tour
took us to Gold Star Wholesale Nursery and Seasons Four Garden Center, Yarmouth
Port, Mass. Then we were off to Cavicchio Greenhouses, Sudbury, Mass., and
finished up at Weston Nurseries, Hopkinton, Mass., who then held the clambake
for all of the Convention attendees.

Responsibility Changes

Dale Bachman, president of Bachman's, Inc., Minneapolis,
Minn., was elected as ANLA 2003-2004 president, replacing Wayne Mezitt of
Weston Nurseries.

Other 2003-2004 elections included Stan Brown Jr., Alameda
Wholesale Nursery, Englewood, Colo., as president of the Landscape Distribution
Group; Josh Bracken, Nicholson-Hardie, Dallas, Texas, as president of the
National Garden Center Organization division; and Cornelius Millane, III, Neal
A. Millane & Associates, Madison, Conn., as president of the Wholesale
Nursery Growers of America division.

Partnership

ANLA developed a new affiliation with the Japan Nurserymen's
Association (JNA). The ANLA Board of Directors voted to establish a
relationship with the JNA to initiate visits among U.S. green industry
businesses and Japanese firms, improve trading among the two countries and
begin a student exchange program. You can read more about the partnership in
the August issue of GPN.

History in the making

Those at the clambake were able to see Gordon Bailey, Jr.,
chairman of the board of Bailey Nurseries, Inc., St. Paul, Minn., finish the
final leg of the Tour de Hort III, a program to raise money for industry
research. Bailey rode 1,200 miles from Cleveland, Ohio, to complete the trek in
Boston, cycling into the tent to claps and "Gordie" chants from the
crowd, who raised their drinks in appreciation of the ongoing industry support.

More tours

During the last day of the retreat, the attendees split up
again for one final tour.

I joined the retail tour, and we ventured over to
Marché, a favorite Boston restaurant with a different idea of serving
customers. Marché's idea was a "farmers market" approach to
dining. Customers had many stations to choose from, from seafood to pasta to
salads, all fresh and made upon request. We had the opportunity to talk with
the manager about a variety of topics from employee retention to loss
prevention.

After the visit, we were able to sit with each other and
discuss what garden center retailers could take away -- good and bad -- from
the visit, such as more help for the customers, better aisle space, bright
colors and smiling employees.

--Carrie Burns

GPN Updates Web site

In case you haven't noticed, the GPN Web site has a very new
and different look. The former Web site, www.onhort.com, now takes you to the
new GPN site, www.gpnmag.com. The new site will still feature articles,
calendar events, the Poinsettia Zone, online buyers guide, PGR data and much
more; but it has a new look and adds a news feature that will keep you updated
on the latest happenings in the industry.

The site was launched in early August and has already
received many hits daily. It helps people in the industry access features in
the magazine, as well as information on PGR's and how to contact all of the
companies in our annual buyers guide. More new Web site features will be added
in the future to better service the reader. But for now, enjoy the new site.

2003 Poinsettia Trials

It's time again for The National Poinsettia Trials,
sponsored by the poinsettia breeders (Ecke Ranch, Oglevee Ltd., Fischer USA,
Selecta First Class and Dummen USA). The trial dates are December 2, 2003 at
Purdue University; December 4, 2003 at North Carolina State University; and
December 9, 2003 at the University of Florida-Gainesville. Along with the
university sites, trials are also conducted by Joe Stoffregen at Homewood
Nursery in Raleigh, N.C.

The trials were established to provide an independent
evaluation of the newest poinsettia cultivars being introduced. This makes it
easier for growers because there are too many new cultivars out there for
growers to adequately evaluate all of them. Individual poinsettia varieties
require different production procedures, so these trials are able to
accommodate those differences instead of having the growers work around all of
their different crops to identify the ones that work best for them.
Additionally, adequately judging a cultivar takes up to 2-3 years, taking up a
lot of bench space that could be used for crops. That is where the poinsettia
trials come in. The trial sites can have the cultivars on the bench and ready
for the growers to judge. It is a great way to pick what will work best in the
greenhouse for outstanding sales during the Christmas season.

According to the trial coordinators (Jim Barrett, University
of Florida-Gainesville; Allen Hammer, Purdue University; and John Dole, North
Carolina State University) "We hope these trials help growers focus on
which cultivars might have the best fit in their operation based on their
markets and production styles."

Look for the trial findings on the Poinsettia Zone on the
GPN Web site, www.gpnmag.com, in January 2004, as well as complete trial
coverage in the February 2004 issue of GPN. For more information on the trials,
go to www.poinsettiatrial.org, where you can find locations, past trial
databases and much more.

FCC Delays Junk Fax Rules

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made a recent
ruling delaying the Junk Fax ban until 2005. The rule states that companies
must obtain written permission before sending unsolicited faxes.

The rule was first announced in July, the same time as the
do not call rule, and was originally supposed to take effect in late August;
however, with the new ruling, the FCC has agreed to delay the effective date 16
months to January 1, 2005. According to the Associated Press, the FCC made this
decision because it will give businesses more time to get the approval they
need from the people they want to fax. Another reason is that the delay will
provide extra time for the FCC to respond to requests for reconsideration of
the new rule.

Currently, people do not have to have written permission to
fax unsolicited mail to people they already do business with. However, they are
not allowed to fax unsolicited items to people they do not have a business
relationship with.

Sakata Acquisitions Dæhnfeldt

Sakata Seed Corporation, Japan, and Emergent Genetics Inc.
have finalized an agreement for Sakata's acquisition of the flower division of
L. Dæhnfeldt A/S, which includes operations in the United States and
Chile.

This transaction is subject to the final approval of Danish
governmental authorities and was completed through the Danish company Sakata
Ornamentals Europe A/S, with a transfer date at the end of August. style="mso-spacerun: yes"> 

The Dæhnfeldt (USA) operation will continue with
business as usual during the approval process. Once approved, both parties will
work towards a smooth transition and integration of operations, with minimal
disruptions to customers.

Both parties believe that
with this acquisition there will be a synergy with the integration of their
product portfolios that will strengthen and secure their joint position in the
flower world market.

FloraStar's New Trial Winners

FloraStar has three new
winners from their spring 2003 new varieties trials. The three Winners include
Kalanchoe blossfeldiana 'Calandiva Pink' by Fides Holland BV; New Guinea
impatiens 'Gem Suncatcher Salmon' by Oglevee, Ltd.; and Bacopa 'Abunda Giant
White' by Ball FloraPlant.

Fides Holland BV's
Kalanchoe blossfeldiana Calandiva Pink has all the normal characteristics of
blossfeldiana type varieties, other than the fact that no other variety is know
to have decorative flowers in kalanchoe. Instead of four flower petals, this
type is reaching at least 26.

Oglevee's New Guinea
impatiens Gem Suncatcher Salmon consistently produces at least 10 petals per
flower, and the variegation makes it really stand out in combination
containers.

Ball FloraPlant's Bacopa
Abunda Giant White is a much fuller plant with flowers almost twice the size of
others on the market. Due to the larger flower size, this variety offers much
more color and flowers for a longer period of time.

OFA Short Course Shows Strength in Numbers

The numbers from the OFA
Short Course are in, and the association is smiling. The attendance for the
2003 event was approximately 9,600, making the number slightly less than the
past few years but still generating positive comments from attendees and
exhibitors. "We have received extremely positive comments from exhibitors
about the amount of business conducted and leads generated from the trade
show," said Wendy McAtee, OFA director - expositions.

There were more than 500
exhibitors that showcased a number of new products, plant material and
equipment from 1,300-plus booths. Also featured were the new additions of the
Cyber Café for easy Internet access; the OFA bookstore; the relocation
of the new varieties and product displays to the north end of the convention
center for a decrease in traffic jams in the main concourse; and the number of
educational programs for all segments of the industry. According to John R.
Holmes, CAE, OFA executive director. "Our success in 2003 was the result
of a strategic decision and concerted effort to focus on providing qualified
buyers for the trade show floor and a continued emphasis on our strong
educational program."

EuroAmerican Open House

"Autumn in
Bloom" is the theme of the second annual EuroAmerican Propagators' open
house September 26 and 27 at the EuroAmerican facility in Bonsall, Calif. The
event will provide growers and grower-retailers with an in-depth look at
EuroAmerican's new plant varieties, as well as facility tours and a series of
presentations such as how to price products to ensure profitability and
merchandising. Merchandis-ing expert Judy Sharpton is among the scheduled
speakers, and she is best known for her Mannequin Technique, a method of
merchandising placement and display that increases customer and merchandise
contact. For more information, contact EuroAmerican at (888) 323-0730.

AIB Comes to Chicago

The city of Chicago and
the Chicago Park District will host this year's America In Bloom (AIB)
Symposium and Awards Program September 18-20 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago on
the Riverwalk. Known internationally for its greening and beautification
efforts, Chicago was the grand winner of AIB's largest population category in
2002.

AIB is a national
campaign Á and contest that promotes enhancing communities through
beautification. In the competition, communities are matched by population and
evaluated on their efforts related to floral displays, urban forestry,
landscaped areas, turf and groundcover, tidiness, environmental awareness,
heritage conservation and community involvement. Judges visited the communities
during the summer, and the winners will be announced at the awards banquet, the
grand finale for the year, in Chicago.

Approximately 40
communities are participating in the second year of AIB. The 2003 AIB
contestants by population are:

*                    5,000
or less -- Allegan, Mich.; Amelia, Ohio; Elfin Forest, Calif.; Flemington,
N.J.; Lavonia, Ga.; Lewes, Del.; and Sequim, Wash.

*                    5,001-10,000
-- Milledegeville, Ga.; Montgomery, Ill.; Oberlin, Ohio; Silverton, Ohio;
Warwick, N.Y.; Waterloo, N.Y.; and Williston, Vt.

*                    10,001-15,000
-- Brecksville, Ohio; Cadillac, Mich.; and Washington Courthouse, Ohio.

*                    15,001-20,000
-- Berea, Ohio and Sylvania, Ohio.

*                    20,001-25,000
-- Batavia, Ill.; Derry Township-Hershey, Pa.; Rocky River, Ohio; and
Willoughby, Ohio.

*                    25,001-50,000
-- Bartlett, Tenn.; Glen Ellyn, Ill.; Lake Oswego, Ore; Sandusky, Ohio; and
Tupelo, Miss.

*                    50,001-100,000
-- Encinitas, Calif.; New Bedford, Mass; and Reston, Va.

*                    100,001-300,000
-- Akron, Ohio and Des Moines, Iowa.

*                    500,001-1,000,000
-- Boston, Mass.; Indianapolis, Ind.; and Monroe County, N.Y.

*                    1,000,001
or greater -- Columbus, Ohio.

Festivities in Chicago
will kick off with an opening reception Thursday, September 18. The next day is
an educational symposium with a lineup of workshops on topics such as streetscapes,
urban forestry, container gardening, nature areas and other greening
initiatives presented by Chicago in-house experts. Other symposium highlights
include a scheduled keynote speech by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and remarks
by television celebrity Bill Kurtis.

The last day begins with
a choice of tours to community gardens, a downtown greening walking tour,
Lincoln Park and the Chicago Botanic Garden, nature areas, annual floral
gardens and historic parks. AIB's festivities conclude with the evening gala
awards dinner. For more information about the event, please go to www.americain

bloom.org.

Al Gerace Receives AAS Medallion of Honor

Al Gerace, CEO of Welby
Gardens, Denver, Colo., was presented the Medallion of Honor from All-American
Selections (AAS) during the AAS Summer Meeting. According to AAS, the Medallion
is the highest honor given to an individual who has contributed to the
advancement of horticulture or the garden seed industry in an exceptional
manner and is bestowed on a person for his or her lifetime achievements. This
is the first time AAS presented the award to a professional grower who uses
seed as a major component of their product line. All-America Selections is a
non-profit organization that tests and introduces superior new flowers and
vegetables from seed.

July Wholesale Prices Up

Wholesale prices seem to
be going up according to the U.S. Department of Labor. In July, there was a
slight 0.1 percent increase in the Producer Price Index, which measures prices
before they reach store shelves, making it good news for people selling
wholesale.

In June, wholesale prices
rose to 0.5 percent reflecting the higher costs for energy products due to the
possible energy crisis the United States may see this winter (see "Energy
Crisis 2003", page 14). Because of this increase, which was expected by
economists, the Federal Reserve is a little less worried about the possible
threat of deflation.

Despite the increase in
wholesale prices, unemployment claims are still higher than average. As each
week goes by, the unemployment claims keep edging up slightly. By the end of
the week of August 9, claims had risen from 2,000 to 398,000, according to the
Associated Press. However, with the claims staying under 400,000 -- an amount
associated with a weak labor market -- for the past four weeks, comes a
possible sign that the number of job layoffs may be leveling off for the time
being. The highest number of claims came in April, at 459,000.

However, even though
there is a bright future on the way for the U.S. economy, the Associated Press
reported that Alan Greenspan, Federal Reserve Chairman, and his colleagues have
decided to leave the current short-term interest rate at 1 percent, a 45-year
low. Predictions from economists say the economy is expected to build up in the
second half of the year, possibly allowing for some economic growth with an
annual rate of 3.5 or 4 percent or higher.

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