The new Pot & Bedding Centre committee has held its first meeting and is appealing for growers to come up with ideas for trials at its base, at Baginton Nurseries in Stoneleigh, to help nurseries develop new products and solve production problems.
Bryants Nurseries' Caroline Shove, who is chairing the project management group, said the centre is so new that growers do not yet know about it.
"It's hard for growers to read the technical jargon and pick out what they really need," she added. "If we can do demonstrations and see the effect, it will help."
Shove said the centre's work could also help young people entering the industry. Projects could be implemented quickly and flexibly, she explained.
One of the first projects will look at begonia and calibrachoa, comparing seed and cutting-raised plants in packs, pots and baskets.
After an initial meeting, the centre has decided to trial the Excel-based FlowersOnTime software tool, which analyses the effects of production temperature on flowering time.
ADAS consultant Jill England, who is project leader, said: "The aim is to see if it can be used to predict flowering times in cold seasons and show how growing temperature adjustments could be made to schedule crops." Other trials being discussed include work on spectral filters and on hellebores for pre-Christmas marketing.
The project is an industry collaboration between the British Protected Ornamentals Association, Horticultural Development Company (HDC), ADAS and Baginton Nurseries. The HDC will fund the centre for two years initially. For further details, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Plant sales Upturn
Woodlark Nurseries was 25 per cent up in September, selling pansies and violas, and six per cent up for the year to date.
Sales director Steve Knibb said warm autumn weather has helped keep poinsettia heating costs down. Woodlark has increased 10-litre poinsettia production by 5,000 to 17,000.