Cultivate’15: Part 2

 Dad and I just got back from Columbus, Ohio, where we attended the Cultivate’15 greenhouse industry convention. Awesome stuff! Dad goes every year, but it’s been a long time since I attended.

{Part 1: greenhouse visits}

If you’re wondering what could possibly go on at a greenhouse convention, prepare to be boggled.

The main attraction for us was the trade show. This thing is huge– hundreds of vendors, many with some seriously glamorous displays. The neat thing about the show is that there’s something for everyone, whether you’re a small retail location like us, a huge production range with hundreds of acres of greenhouses, or anything in between. There were companies selling greenhouse frames, shade/heat curtains, water treatment systems, forklifts, shipping and shopping carts, soil, fertilizers, display solutions, flat fillers, seeders, tags and labels, printing systems to make your own tags and labels, pots and trays; breeders and distributors of seed, starter plugs, finished plants, roses, trees and nursery stock, succulents, carnivorous plants, anything and everything you can imagine and more… Solutions and products for huge growers all the way down to home gardeners.

We visited with many of our regular suppliers and kept an eye out for cool new plants and other products. We also made a point of looking for promising roses so that in the future we can  offer more options than just Knock Out, but with a similar level of disease resistance and easy maintenance.

Another highlight was the showcase of new plant varieties. There were some neat new plants there, but it’s always hard to tell how good anything really is until you see it in a field trial (since they’re obviously going to bring the best-looking specimens to the show).

So I know I mentioned this last year after our field trial/greenhouse hopping trip, but I’m really not fond of ‘Platinum Blonde’ lavender. The feeling escalated on this trip because it was everywhere. At the greenhouses we visited, at the show in the booths of its distributors… I just don’t like it. You can spot it from twenty feet away because it looks so yellow.

And then, there was ‘Meerlo’.

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*swoon* It was in the new variety section. I have to have it. It is just gorgeous. That is what a variegated lavender should look like! Beautiful cream/white variegation… Check it out on Sunset Western Garden Collection’s website, their pics do it far better justice (accursed artificial lighting…!).

Cultivate’15: Part 1

Dad and I just got back from Columbus, Ohio, where we attended the Cultivate’15 greenhouse industry convention. Awesome stuff! Dad goes every year, but it’s been a long time since I attended.

We drove out a few days before the show and visited a few greenhouses [and antique malls :) ].

We visited some neat places, including a few I didn’t take pictures at. Baker’s Acres is my favorite; I think they have a really nice layout and laid-back atmosphere (and lactose-free organic ice cream). As usual, it makes a big difference to have separate growing and display areas– it’s easier to keep things looking perfect when you can pick out the best-looking plants to put in front of the customers!

I found a few interesting ornamental oregano to look into for next year and was able to take pictures of lavender that I have but which aren’t blooming yet, but with the exception of a new lavender variety at the trade show, didn’t find anything terribly exciting in the herb department. I will admit that I’m a rex begonia and air plant junkie on the side, and I did get some of those! :) And some nice aloe to divide & propagate.

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Trunk full of plants (and a gorgeous little table)

Next time: Part 2, the trade show

Seedlings

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Seeded this past week:

Anise; Artemisia ‘Licorice Spice'; Basil: Cardinal, Cinnamon, Holy, Lemon, Lettuce-leaved, Lime, ‘Petra’, ‘Spicy Globe'; Burnet; Chamomile: German, Roman; Chervil: Curly, Plain; Cumin; Lovage; Lemon Balm; Lemon Mint (Lemon Monarda); Nasturtiums; Shiso (Perilla); Clary Sage.

Germination time varies, but many will be sprouting in two weeks or so! More cilantro and dill at various stages of growth are already available, as well as a few kinds of basil (‘Rosie’, ‘Purple Ruffles’, Thai), arugula, mizuna, summer savory, watercress, and others.

**This brings my selection up to a record 147 different varieties!!**

Herb list [finally] updated

I just updated the 2015 Herb List to better show what is currently in stock and on the way. I’m still doing a lot of seeding and planting and just put together an order for some interesting new seed varieties to try out, so check back in a few weeks to see how that’s going!

Having a hard time keeping up with everything!! The 4″ pots are the bulk of my selection, but getting them planted is only the beginning– I have to maintain the plants (watering daily, fertilizing, pruning, spacing as plants get larger, rearranging the display as it gets ransacked), replant hot sellers (hopefully before the current batch sells out), make sure all the labels and signs are right and don’t get moved around or “borrowed” (some signs leave the building and never return!), and then keep up a good selection of mixed planters and the seeded crop to boot. I do all this in stolen moments or by staying late, as I’m primarily in the greenhouse to do all the watering & fertilizing, cover the register when needed, and manage the crew when Dad’s at the market. (Then at home I have this poor neglected blog, and also maintain the greenhouse’s website and Facebook page.)

I love having new things to try out. I don’t find any part of my herb work tedious, except maybe handwriting labels, but new plants make it even more exciting and enjoyable! I’ll keep you posted once the seed order comes in…

A major undertaking

For a while now I’ve wanted to create a master index of herb species and varieties, which would provide pictures and info for pretty much everything I’ve ever grown. I feel like the blog format can make it hard to find some of this, even if I’ve written about it before.

So! Without further ado, you can now access the Herb Index under the Resources tab in the menu above. It is still in progress; it’s taking me a massive amount of time to write everything up and cull through years of photos. Preliminary entries are up for lavender, rosemary, and scented geraniums. This kind of goes against my nature– I’d much rather share when it’s all 100% perfect and done, but that’s going to take a while!

I’ll also let you know here on the blog whenever I add more entries and pictures. I have a bunch of lavender about to bloom in the greenhouse, so I’m looking forward to updating that section as soon as I can!

Progress as of Friday

Still have lavender & thyme to plant. But! The begonias were cleared off the back of one table this week, giving me room to move the aloe and move/finish planting the scented geraniums.

As I finish planting and become sure that I won’t need additional cuttings from my stock plants, I’m pricing them and putting them out for sale. These are year-old plants in 10″ planters, and at $12.99 or $14.99 (depending on size and variety), they’re a real steal. Get them while they last!

Still planting!

Whew. I’m in the process of planting the 4″ herbs. The end is in sight– just have the lavender and creeping thymes to go!

Last week:

I’m also moving everything off of the far table– the larger pots of lavender, rosemary, etc that I’d already planted. The rosemary will end up on the back of the table, right behind the small pots of rosemary, so that all the different size options are together. Same for a lot of the lavender, although there’s enough of that that the excess will go outside in the perennial section; I think some people look for it there rather than with the herbs.

Herb Table Photo Update

(Pictures from March 27th)