What Caught Our Eye This Week (week 48)

Posted by Suzanne McKee on Dec 2, 2016 12:15:13 PM

Here's our recap of what was interesting and impactful in the world of hort this week. 

Keeping Our Parks Planted
As seen in GrowerTalks by Christopher J. Currey

Gary's View: Living in Colorado we are surrounded by our National Heritage of four great National Parks; Rocky Mountain National Park, Mesa Verde, Great Sand Dunes and Black Canyon of the Gunnison. We have had multiple trips to three of these natural wonders and never cease to wonder at the tremendous opportunity our National Parks Service provide to all of us to explore, camp, and experience the marvels of nature and history. As pointed out in the Grower Talks article “Keeping Our Parks Planted” the National Park Service is celebrating its centennial this year.


I found it interesting how the expertise of our industry is contributing to keeping our parks pristine and alive with native plants. Like me, most of us visit these parks and don’t consider the effort behind keeping the natural ecosystem alive and thriving or the challenges between the environmental differences of Glacier National Park and Joshua Tree.

Christopher J. Curry states it well at the end of his article, “The next time you have the opportunity to find yourself on the trails or a scenic overlook at a national park, just think somewhere close by may be a greenhouse producing those plants by your feet or in your vista.”

How The "Me Too" Philosophy Affects Plant Breeding
As seen in Greenhouse Grower Magazine by Kelly D. Norris

Suzanne's View:  Kelly Norris' article, "How The 'Me Too' Philosophy Affects Plant Breeding" gets at the heart of something that I have long questioned in our industry.Namely, why do we have so many different varieties of Petunia and Calibrachoa (not to pick on Petunia and Calibracho but these two stand out the most in my mind) when they all, seemingly, answer the same consumer need? Fundamentally, I very much agree with the point that Mr. Norris is making in regards to why does our industry put all of these resources forth in creating something that already exists in the market?

However, if I were to play devils advocate I might ask about the potential harm in choosing not to breed in a line that is already well established because you might end up developing something truly different and revolutionary. You won't know what might be possible unless you start the breeding process. Throughout the process some comparable "me too" genetics might be developed, but the potential for taking that to the next level is always there and we would be remiss to just dismiss those opportunities because there are already options out there. 

Then, the pragmatist in me says, well isn't there a lot of value for our customers to have a one-stop shop for their needs? Sometimes "me too" genetics might be the only way to fulfill that need. On the other hand, you might argue that putting resources into something truly new and different would outweigh the resource drain on creating just another Petunia (sorry, I really do like Petunia even if it doesn't seem like it here).

In the end, I think it lies with the core of your business strategy. As mentioned in the article, independent breeders would be better served to not try and compete with the machines of some larger companies in the industry. Instead, more success may be found where there are holes. Thank you to Kelly Norris for bringing to light an important topic in the industry! Please take some time to read the complete article here and let me know what your thoughts are.

That's a sample of what we found newsworthy and interesting. We'd love to hear about what caught your eye too. 

Topics: What Caught Our Eye, Professional Greenhouse Grower, Retail Garden Center

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