From the editors of American Nurseryman • December 2, 2010
American Nurseryman Magazine, Covering commercial horticulture since 1904

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Welcome to 'Sprout,' American Nurseryman's bi-weekly e-newsletter. For even more, be sure to read our November issue, available here.

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MonroviaMonrovia faces daunting challenge
Monrovia Growers, Asuza, Calif., has announced to its customers that the company must “show significant improvement” to spring bookings or risk a distressed sale of its inventories, and has extended to them the opportunity to purchase excess, “specially priced,” top-quality plants. Customers responded immediately with a show of support for the company in the form of a letter pledging their own increased orders and urging independent garden centers to increase bookings from Monrovia and to pass the savings along. Monrovia long has sold its brand, “Distinctively Better Plants,” exclusively to independent garden centers, but has been repeatedly approached by mass merchandisers; its creditors now are urging the company to sell Monrovia’s quality plants in generic containers through Big Box channels. Lenders have given Monrovia a January 31 deadline. Read more>

Quality vs PriceFor consumers, quality trumps cost—sometimes
Consumers rank quality of flowers above color, price, design and other factors when making purchasing decisions, according to a recent study released by The Floral Marketing Research Fund (FMRF). The study, “Consumer Preference for Flowers as Gifts: Age Segments, Substitutes, and Perceived Risks,” was conducted under the guidance of Chengyan Yue, PhD, at the University of Minnesota, with support from Bridget Behe, PhD, Michigan State University and Charlie Hall, PhD, Texas A&M University. Although the study addressed consumer preferences for floriculture products, can we safely assume that similar principles apply to woody ornamentals and herbaceous perennials? Read more>

Standards revised for front-end loaders
The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), St. Joseph, Mich., has completed a revision to the front-end loader safety standard. The revised standard, ANSI/ASAE S355.4, Safety Practices for Agricultural Front-End Loaders, was revised to clarify normal operation and travel of the loader, loader arm position during transport, and travel locks. Read more>

Amsonia hubrichtiiAmsonia hubrichtii named 2011 PPA Plant of the Year
Arkansas blue star—Amsonia hubrichtii—has won the hearts of Perennial Plant Association members, who voted it the 2011 PPA Perennial Plant of the Year. Four plants each year are nominated, and in order to qualify for PPA recognition, each must be suitable for a wide range of climate types; low maintenance; easily propagated; and exhibit multiple seasonal interest. Amsonia fits the bill with small, blue, star-shaped flowers in late spring to early summer and bright green, fern-like foliage that turns golden yellow in fall. Recent past winners include Baptisia australis (2010), Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ (2009), Geranium ‘Rozanne’ (2008) and Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (2007). Read more>

Nymphaea 'Wanvisa'Unique Nymphaea ‘Wanvisa’ a winner
An unusual variegated bloom—rarely seen in tropical waterlilies and never seen in hardy selections—has garnered recognition for Nymphaea ‘Wanvisa’ as the 2011 Collector’s Aquatic Plant of the Year, bestowed by the International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society (IWGS). Initially available only through the IWGS, the plant will be released to retail markets no earlier than spring 2012. Read more>

Fairview Evergreen NurseriesFairview Evergreen Nurseries at the century mark
There’s a lot to celebrate in Pennsylvania next year: Four generations of the Hetz family have kept Fairview Evergreen Nurseries thriving through thick and thin, and the company will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2011. Founded in 1911 by Frank C. Hetz, the family-owned growing operation now is managed by two third- and nine fourth-generation family members. The company will mark its centennial throughout the year with a commemorative catalog, a special series of advertisements and a summer event honoring employees, customers and business partners. Read more>

Pesticide-free certification availablePesticide-free certification available
Scientific Certification Systems (SCS), a private, third-party certifier of environmental and safety claims, has extended its “Lab Tested and Certified Pesticide Free” program to include ornamental plants. According to the company, “The expansion of this certification allows horticultural producers to assure their customers that their flowering and ornamental plants are of the highest quality and safe for their homes and gardens. The Pesticide Free Certification provides the same measure of safety consumers receive when they purchase certified fruits and vegetables.” Read more>

In the holiday spirit
Chestnuts may be roasting on an open fire, but watch out for that mistletoe. In Tucson this fall—and for years now—arborists have been battling the parasitic plant as it threatens the health of local native trees. Those plants most affected in the area are mesquite, palo verde, acacia and ironwood where the mistletoe takes root on vulnerable branches and forms tangles and mats of nutrient-stealing mess. Local tree professionals advise that the parasite can be controlled and an affected tree can be saved if measures are taken early: Appropriate pruning may eliminate the invader, but vigilance is required. As an Arizona master gardener put it, “I have no idea why this is supposed to be so romantic when it’s a nuisance.” Read more>

The Missouri Botanical GardenMobot saves 400 tons of plastic
The Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, recycled 128,000 pounds of horticultural waste in 2010, bringing the garden’s Plastic Pot Recycling program tally to more than 978,000 pounds of plastic garden pots, cell packs and trays since the program began in 1988. Working in cooperation with several local garden centers—which serve as satellite collection sites—the garden functions as the central collection facility. Area landscape contractors, public works departments, grounds management professionals and wholesale growers also participate. Plastic is granulated on-site, and the material is transported to manufacturers for recycling into lumber, pallets and garden pots. Next year’s program will strive to break the mark of one million pounds of horticultural plastic saved from landfills. Read more>

New Jersey LAs to convene
The New Jersey chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (NJASLA) has scheduled its annual meeting and exhibition for Jan. 30 to Feb. 1, 2011, at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino and Resort in Atlantic City, N.J. Nancy Somerville, ASLA Executive Vice President/CEO. is among an outstanding roster of speakers. Read more>

December issue of American NurserymanComing soon!
Keep an eye out for your December issue of American Nurseryman, which features exciting new plant introductions for 2011. And for even more, turn to, where you’ll find nearly 200 of the hottest plants to hit the market. Woodies, perennials, roses—we’ve got ’em all! Read more>

Hot Products

Little BeaverMechanical earth drill
Little Beaver, Livingston, Tex., has introduced a line of lightweight drills designed for one-person hole-digging operations. Four models are available in the line, each featuring a powerful overhead valve gas engine. The MDL-5B and MDL-5H are available with a Briggs & Stratton or Honda 5.5-horsepower engine, and are mounted on 8-inch semi-pneumatic tires. Offering the choice of an 8-horsepower Briggs & Stratton or Honda engine, the MDL-8B and MDL-8H come mounted on 10-inch pneumatic tires. The entire unit offers a smaller footprint for easy access in any area, and can be used on lawns, golf course greens and other delicate surfaces without causing damage. Read more>

Dakota Peat and EquipmentTree movers
Dakota Peat and Equipment, Grand Forks, N.D., has expanded its tree-moving line of equipment with the introduction of the Model 90 Loader/Excavator Mounted Tree Transplanter and the models 390 and 365 Tree Transporters. Using the Model 90LE Transplanter, trees can now be planted or removed from hard-to-reach areas that don’t allow for a truck-mounted unit. The 390 Transporter is available in a one-, two-, or three-pod configuration, while the 365 transporter is available as a four-, three-, or two-pod trailer. Read more>

Tesselaar PlantsBegonias
Tesselaar Plants, Lawndale, Calif., has added two tasty treats to the Bonfire Begonia series, now sold through Ball Horticultural Company as part of the Selecta First Class catalog. Choc Red and Choc Pink both feature dark, chocolate-plum colored foliage and eye-catching, exotic red-orange or blush pink flowers that bloom in profusion from late spring to late fall. Low-maintenance and easy-care plants, Choc Red and Choc Pink can be grown in full sun or partial shade and tolerate both summer rains and drier summer conditions. Like the original Bonfire begonia series, these new varieties handle heat, humidity and drought well. Read more>

Upcoming event
Jan. 5 and 6
Montana Green Expo
Holiday Inn Grand Montana, Billings

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