Thursday, April 5, 2012

California Dreamin’…

Our Ornamentals Manager, Vicky Rupley, and I recently returned from the California Pack Trials. You may have been reading Vicky’s Ornamentals blog about this yearly event that brings breeders and propagators together, up and down the West Coast of California. Breeders show off their plant wares, while growers and suppliers take a first look at the season’s soon-to-be trends.

Much like in the vegetable seed business, there has been quite a bit of consolidation in the ornamental marketplace. Big companies purchase smaller companies, so the pool of smaller independent breeding companies shrinks each year. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as big companies have bigger budgets and more financial resources, and it takes this kind of revenue to bring quality products to growers and consumers.

What is so special about this trip is that we get to see just about every new ornamental seed and cutting variety the world’s breeders have to offer. The plant material is grown by the best propagators in America, and it is all in full bloom at the time of our arrival. It is hard to imagine that anyone would not be awestruck by these exciting, colorful displays of plant material.

Ornamental growers today have access to just about all of this material via our Ornamental Seed Catalog and our Plug & Liner Catalog. For customers who would appreciate guidance in selecting the new material that fits their needs, we have ornamental seed and plug and liner specialists in-house to field questions year round.

We have been hearing that garden center activity in the South is shaping up nicely, and we think that trend will carry through into the North. Although growers seem to have been somewhat conservative with their purchases this season, I foresee many garden centers selling out of product this spring, and that would be a good thing.

As the stock market continues on the upswing, consumers will have money to spend. Let us hear from you about how your business is doing.

Best regards,
Dick Chamberlin - President

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