Blog posts categorized as: Green Industry

New Plants: Keep your eyes out for these new silver beauties!

Aug 14, 2017

If you love plants like I do, then you're probably just as easily excieted as I am to get the skinny on the latest new plant releases from the world of horticulture. Summer is always filled with lots of work travel for me, including visits to a number of high-profile industry events. At such events, breeders and brokers put on their new plant dog and pony show so us plant geeks get a preview of what's to come.

My very, very, very favorite new plant at all of the shows this summer is Senecio 'Angel Wings'. Now, I'm easily swayed by silver foliage, but there is just something about the these big floppy leaves - I can't take my eyes off of them. Now, the scoop on this baby is that quantities will be limited next year...but I suspect demand will be big.

Silver seemed to be en vogue in the new plant offerings, with at least one other Senecio on display, 'Crushed Velvet'...

Another fabulous silver overing was Calocephalus brownii...

I'm in love!

EmergentLive: From Passion to Profession BLAB session

May 18, 2016

Are you a horticulture or landscape student, young green industry professional, experienced pro or transitioning careers?

Perception of value in the green industry is a tough topic. Often, young professionals struggle to find a path to the type of career or earnings they want. Experienced pros may not be demanding enough professional respect for the career they are passionat about...and amateur gardeners who want to transition into the green industry profession may not understand what it really takes. I'll be joining the Emergent in Horticulture gang Tuesday night BLAB session to offer my thoughts, experience and strategies to "move from passion to profession" in the green industry. Tuesday, May 24th 7pm, Central time, 8pm Eastern.

Here is the LINK to the live session

Not familiar with BLAB? It's like a podcast, but in live video! You can login with your Twitter or Facebook account, watch the conversation, post questions for us and even join in if selected. BLAB can be used on your computer, or download the app on your phone or iPad. 

The Emergent Facebook group, which is for those working professionally in the horticulture industry (or industry related students) can be found HERE

Perennial Plant Association Southern Region Symposium ‘16: Sustainable Style

Apr 8, 2016

Are you a landscape designer, landscape contractor, plant grower, garden center retailer or garden writer in The South? If so, you probably face growing challenges when it comes to navigating the impact of extreme weather conditions while still creating beautiful landscapes and growing a healthy business. Intense heat, drought, and flooding are impacting how companies do business, the landscapes they create, and what plants they grow and sell.

FOR: Landscape designers, Landscape Architects, Landscape Contractors, Plant Growers, Garden Center Retailers, Plant Brokers, Public Garden Professionals, City Horticulturists, Educators, Pro Garden Writers, Allied Trade, Green Industry Students.

WHEN: Friday, October 7th, 2016. 8:20am-5pm. Sign-in 7:30am-8:20am A great opportunity to tour the gardens before they open to the public.

WHERE:  Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden, Rosine Hall, 8525 Garland Rd., Dallas, TX 75218

The Perennial Plant Association (PPA) and their Southern Region Director, Leslie Halleck, have brought together an inspiring and knowledgeable group of speakers to address sustainability issues, with landscape aesthetics in mind. It’s all about sustainable style. With a focus on perennial plants, speakers will cover topics such as stylish heat and drought tolerant plant selections, organic versus sustainable plant production for growers, an update on rose rosette disease and using plants with a purpose. The 2016 Sustainable Style event is an excellent opportunity for green industry professionals to stay on top of continuing education and sustainability trends as well as take advantage of a unique industry networking opportunity.

Tickets include entry into the Dallas Arboretum, coffee, snacks and lunch from Noon-1pm:

  • $99 PPA Members
  • $50 Industry Students
  • $149 Non-Members

Earn CEUs

  • TNLA– 5 CEUs
  • APLD– 5 CEUs
  • NALP– 4 CEUs

12:30-1:30 Dallas Arboretum staff will be on hand for attendees as they tour the trial gardens to see how specific plants are performing under extreme southern growing conditions.

Event Sponsors include: Halleck Horticultural, North Haven Gardens, Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden, Local Plant Source, Eason Horticultural Resources, Inc., Southwest Perennials, Inc., Living Earth.


Our Speakers for the Day:

Kelly Norris, Author “Plants with Style”, Director of Horticulture,
Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
3:15PM - 4:30PM  Plants with Style

Gardeners need chic, sustainable, thriving plants for modern lifestyles. Why settle for lackluster gardens filled with dull, ho-hum plants? Plants after all are the very essence of fashionable gardening. In this spirited, provocative lecture, 20-something plantsman Kelly Norris calls for a garden revolution: Out with boring plants and in with stylish alternatives that captivate and enthrall.  A passionate horticulturist and lifelong gardener, Kelly is the ideal guide to the botanical riches available to today’s gardeners. In chapters on environment, structure, seasonal standouts, and plant combinations he shines a spotlight on the A-list plants in every category—plants that will thrive, not merely survive. Along the way, he shows you how to forge a personal style in harmony with your garden’s setting and local environment. As Kelly puts it, “A garden is the best way to savor life on earth. (+ Public Day)

Lloyd Traven, Owner, Peace Tree Farm
1:45PM – 3:00PM Organic Versus Sustainable Plant Production

Sustainable, organic, Certified Organic, Naturally-Grown, MPS, Veriflora, GAP-Certified, GMO-Free, local, Fair Trade, so many names, so many initials, but do they actually mean something? Well, some REALLY do, and some are just 'feel-good', but how do you know the difference, and how do we convey the reality to the consumer? Let's talk about what they mean and what matters. Let's be blunt--as if Lloyd ever filters what he says!!--sustainable and Certified Organic both have meaning as well as great real value, but are often in direct opposition to each other, and it is important to decide what you need and what your customer really wants you to do, so how do we make them coexist? Real world techniques for growers and retailers, concentrating on propagation and potted perennial production. He covers insect pests, while focusing on sanitation, disease complexes and thwarting them without harsh chemicals. They are also practices you can use to show your customers, retail or wholesale, that you care about them, the planet, and the future. (+ Public Day)

Presented by Eason Horticultural Resources
Susan Martin, Owner of Gardner Sue’s News
10:40AM - 11:50AM Moving Beyond Pretty: Plants with Bonus Points

When the plant catalogs begin to arrive, our eyes are filled with botanical eye candy of every color, shape and size. We want them all, of course. The challenge is to look beyond the pretty flowers and actively seek out perennial plants that deliver more…more color in shade, food for pollinators, greater durability, and visual interest through all four seasons. As you begin to see plants from a new perspective, consider developing new ways of marketing and merchandising them according to the benefits they offer, not just their pretty colors. We’re moving beyond pretty and into the realm of more.


Presented by Southwest Perennials, Inc.
Dr. Kevin Ong, Associate Professor & Extension Plant Pathologist, Texas A&M University
9:45AM – 10:30AM Rose Rosette Disease Update

What do we really know about rose rosette disease? There is much information that is circulated and various treatment suggestions are claimed as effective. But what do we really know about this disease? We will explore historical scientific data to see what was said and proven previously, and how this information forms the basis of current work and progress on this disease, the pathogen and vector that transmit the pathogen. An update of current research in rose rosette will be shared.


Presented by Living Earth
Andrea DeLong-Amaya, Director of Horticulture, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
8:30am-9:30am Native Plants for Southern Landscapes

Are you interested in saving water, reducing pesticide and fertilizer use, and improving the wildlife habitat on your property but don’t want a “zeroscape”? Andrea DeLong-Amaya, director of horticulture at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas, will introduce you to a high performing southern native perennial plants suitable for various home landscape situations to help you achieve your landscape goals. Understanding ideal growing conditions, best maintenance techniques for each species, and where to look for more gardening guidance is critical for success and will also be discussed in this presentation. (+ Public Day)

Killing Plants Like a Pro

Feb 26, 2016

Too often, noob gardeners and plant lovers are discouraged from further cultivating their green tendencies due to the killing: The killing of their plants. Guess what think you've got black thumbs? Puhlease. Let me assuage some of your plant-death guilt by telling you that as a professional horticulturist, I've killed way more plants than you ever will in your lifetime. EVER. And guess what else? That's ok and I'm going to keep doing it. With relish.

The world will not end and you get to try again. In fact, killing plants is the only way you really learn how to grow them the right way (good thing it doesn't work that way with puppies).

People get really touchy about this subject. Many, after killing only one plant, give up plant-keeping and gardening althogether; before they've really even gotten started. Is it sensitivity? Or Ego? Do we think we're entitled to get everything right, all the time, the first time? C'mon. Cut yourself some slack and allow yourself to enjoy both the fleeting joy and the wisdom you'll gain from killing a few plants now and again.

Same goes for cut flowers and blooming gift plants. Why must they be permanent? What do we think they owe us? C'mon. Surround yourself beauty. Even the fleeting kind. It's worth it.

OH, and the best part of killing plants? You get to buy more. I'm just sayin'.

So forgot to water the philodendron in your living room and overwaterd the echeveria, both to death. Show me your dead philodendron and I'll show you the 100 I've murdered.

Walk it off. Go buy more. Figure it out. I BELIEVE IN YOU.

Now, go get your garden on this weekend. No excuses. Toughen up cupcakes

Can we talk roses? Rose Rosette on the rise.

Jan 17, 2016

Rose Rosette Disease: If you love your roses, then what you see in the photo above should move you to action immediately. The effect might seem "neat" but those witch's broom clusters of growth mean your roses have only a short time to live.

Rose rosette disease is a terminal virus that affects all types of roses. While your plants may limp along for an average of about 22 months after infection, death is inevitable. There is lots of research going on now to combat this destructive virus, there is currently no cure. It is a virus.

The best thing you can do for your landscape, and that of your neighbor's, is to remove the plants immediately.  Don't compost them. It is best to bag them and dispose of them. The virus is spread by a mite that moves from plant to plant. Leaving infected plants in the ground will only cause more plants to become infected.

I provided a link below to an article I wrote on Rose Rosette for an industry publication last year that you may find helpful whether you're in the green industry or a home gardener.

A Plague of Roses, Garden Center Magazine

The South Gets Sustainable at the 1st Annual Perennial Plant Association Southern Symposium

Nov 4, 2015

We had an amazing time with some wonderful folks from all across the south at this year’s PPA Southern Symposium. For our first year planning the event, we had an intimate but enthusiastic group of landscapers, growers, retailers and wholesalers, plus a few students. They came from Louisiana, Texas, Arizona and Oklahoma to learn how to grow and plant sustainable landscapes.

We started off Monday, October 5th, by greeting our fellow green industry pros over coffee, then got right into the fun with an explanation on the benefits of the Dallas Arboretum Plant Trials by DABS Director of Horticulture, Jenny Wegley. Next up, Zac Tolbert of Local Plant Source, Inc. taught us how the demand for sustainable plants are affecting sourcing and purchasing and how to make sure your clients have the plants they want...and need.

Before breaking for lunch, Leslie Halleck, Certified Horticulturist and owner of Halleck Horticultural, taught us that through patience and practice we can restore our environment for local habitat one backyard at a time.

Lunch brought lively conversation and networking. We made new friends such as new PPA member, Roger Sanderson of the Texas Discovery Gardens and Dr. Elisabeth Sahin of GES Consultancies. Once back from lunch, Dr. Cynthia Mckenney, Professor of Horticulture, Texas Tech University, gave a fun (and informative!) presentation on how to grow a gorgeous landscape using good soil, native and adapted plants, and a dash of creativity! We especially enjoyed her tidbits on area natives, including milk thistle that, if ingested while pregnant, is thought to cause infants to grow excessive hair. WHO KNEW??

Lloyd Traven, Peace Tree Farm and Dr. Elisabeth Sahin of GES Consultancies enjoying lunch.

The last two speakers of the day, Dr. Jared Barnes, Assistant Professor of Horticulture, SFA State University and Lloyd Traven, owner of Peace Tree Farm, duked it out for most animated talk. Dr. Barnes spoke about “Thrivable” Perennials for the south. He fawned over tough tropicals such as Chinese Yellow Banana, Musella lasiocarpa and Poke Salad, Phytolacca americana ‘Sunny Side Up’. If you haven’t met Dr. Barnes before, you’ll know him by his vastly creative array of bow ties.

As the piece de resistance of the day, Lloyd Traven taught us that growing in a commercial greenhouse without the use of chemicals CAN be done! Through the careful use of bio-controls predatory insects and careful planning, you can grow a diversity of crops together clean and pesticide free. Peace Tree Farm is an OMRI Certified operation.

Big thanks to North Haven Gardens in Dallas for providing us with wonderful volunteers for the day of the event!

If you were unable to come this year, we hope to see you next year. We plan to make it an extraordinary event. In the meantime, please consider becoming a member of the Perennial Plant Association. We’d love to see our community of green professionals in our area grow and become a stronger resource for networking, shared ideas and improved business practices. Join HERE.

Pollination Powerhouses

Oct 28, 2015

Full article published in October 2015 Produce Grower Magazine.

Whether you’re looking to save on labor, improve pollination rates or shift production to more sustainable practices, nature is here to help. Bumblebees are a powerhouse of pollination and could be just the solution you need to improve production rates on your edible greenhouse crops.

Fruits of your labor

As more produce production moves indoors to be grown hydroponically, the job of pollination becomes much more labor intensive. Once you move fruiting crops into the greenhouse, man must take the place of wind and pollinators to get the job done.

On crops such as tomatoes, growers typically use manual pollination or mechanical vibrating shakers to move the pollen around properly. Tomatoes are normally wind-pollinated outdoors, but the effect is difficult to replicate inside a greenhouse with limited air flow. The shaking has to be performed about every two days when temperatures and humidity are just right. To make things more labor intensive, shaking the whole plant with mechanical stimulation isn’t as effective as shaking or vibrating each truss individually. That takes a lot more time and effort. A truss is a cluster of smaller stems where the flowers and fruit develop.

Rising labor challenges and costs are causing some growers to turn back to nature to lower costs and improve yields.

Read the entire article HERE.

Boost Your Bulb Sales

Oct 28, 2015

Full article in the October issue of Garden Center Magazine.

The bulb category is a highly diverse and versatile one for garden centers and home gardeners. The key to selling more bulbs is to make sure you’re maximizing your marketing opportunities and selling strategies year-round. How you stock and market your bulbs will greatly impact when, how many and how quickly they sell. (For simplicity’s sake, in this article we’ll use the term “bulb” to encompass all true bulbs, rhizomes, tubers and corms.)


Speeding up inventory turns and improving cash flow is always a top priority for independent garden centers. So how do you do that with bulbs? Essentially, bulbs are a hard good line that gives you much more flexibility in terms of when you buy them and how you maintain them in the store. You’re probably already pre-booking most — if not all — of your bulbs. So why not pre-sell them to your customer?

Pre-selling inventory is a great way to get cash into the register long before you receive the product or have to pay for it. Pre-selling will take a bit of organization and accounting adjustments on your part, but it’s well worth the effort. Pre-selling product also gets customers back into the store for extra visits when they come to pick up their orders. Most POS systems will enable you to set up work orders and paid pick-ups for such pre-orders.

...Read the entire article HERE.

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